St. Dominic Society will link groups serving needy in Haiti

GROUPS WITHIN the Diocese of Peoria serving the impoverished people of Haiti will now be linked under a new organization approved by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

The umbrella organization, called “St. Dominic’s Society for Haitian Outreach,” will first identify and unite those moved to action by concern for the Caribbean nation considered the poorest in the western hemisphere. The society will then use its combined resources to educate regarding the extreme poverty and lack of medical care and food in Haiti and invite assistance from individuals and groups.

Among the founding organizations in the new society are the Friends of the Children of Haiti and its supporting Foundation, as well as the Haiti Mission Connection.

The new umbrella group is under the patronage of St. Dominic because of his work with the poor but also as a reminder of the long and strong ties between the Diocese of Peoria and the people of Haiti. The Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH), for example, traces its roots to the late 1970s when St. Anthony’s Parish of Bartonville adopted a parish in Marigot, Haiti.

The name of that parish? St. Dominic’s.

FOTCOH now sponsors six medical missions per year to Haiti, with about two dozen volunteers accompanying each mission. In any given year, these missions provide care for as many as 14,000 people.
Haiti suffered through a series of hurricanes in 2008, worsening the already desperate situation for the nation’s poor.

“Mothers are having to make a choice: ‘Which child do I want to live?'” said Deacon Richard Hammond, founder of FOTCOH, in a story appearing in the Jan. 11 issue of The Catholic Post. “That’s a terrible choice to make.”

The St. Dominic Society is seeking to identify all groups within the diocese with outreaches to Haiti. The FOTCOH Foundation is presently handling correspondence. Inquiries should be addressed to them at P.O. Box 10067, Peoria, IL, 61612-0067.

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