Geneseo Church seeks help to support Church and school in Haiti

Claudia Loucks
Karen Doy, chairman of the Missions Committee at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo, is shown by the gauge used to measure the progress of meeting the goal of $25,000 for the community of Augustin, Haiti

The congregation at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo has supported Augustin, Haiti, since 1997 and they want to continue to help that village in the northwest portion of that Third-World Country.

Karen Doy, chairman of the Missions Committee at Grace Church, said, “We started by providing the community a morning Vacation Bible School session and medical care on our first mission trip in 1997.”

On subsequent visits to Augustin, volunteers built a church and a school.

“We now need help to continue to support the children, the teachers and the pastor at the church,” Doy said.

Doy has been on seven mission trips and knows first-hand the poverty in the area. She said, “If the children don’t have uniforms that our church supplies, they can’t attend school. Sometimes, the uniforms are the only clothes some of the children have. There have been times when the teachers have gone for months without any pay. “

The Missions Committee at Grace Church is hoping to raise $25,000 in the outreach to support teacher and pastor salaries, school uniforms and supplies, and teacher certification.

‘’We hope to raise $25,000,” Doy said. “Approximately 120 children, from pre-school age to sixth grade, attend the school.”

“Without this support, many children would not have the means to achieve even the most basic education,” Doy added.

Donations from church members totaled $6,500 in 2020, and Doy said, “We are now at the point we need to decide what our continued support will look like. Do we just pay for teacher and pastor salaries, $18,000? Do we only support the pastor, $4,800, and supplement school supplies without additional donations? Do we limit the number of students who may attend school because they cannot afford a uniform, $2,400?”

She said a decision must be made by June 6 so the pastor (Franck Estalus) will be able to plan for the September through June, 2021-2022, school year. Uniforms need to be purchased and sewn by September and teacher and pastor contracts need to be finalized in June.

“All monies collected will go directly from Grace United Methodist Church to the pastor in Haiti,” Doy said. “There is no middle person!”

The Missions Committee at Grace Church has pledged to match all donations made by June 6.

Donations, marked “Haiti,” may be left at the Grace Church office, 318 North Center St., Geneseo, or by mailing to the church address.

Donations in any amount are needed and appreciated, Doy said.