Olivia Mascari, a college student from Rockville, Maryland, has made two trips to the poor country of Haiti to work as a volunteer aiding a community there with duties like building and feeding families.
She has been actively involved with Life Connection Mission of Germantown, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting Montrouis, Haiti, for about 25 years, and the visits are the consequence of that.
It's amazing to see how many families the mission supports, she remarked, noting that it's not just a few individuals.
Siblings Soon after the mission was established in 1998, Peggy and Dale Moyers assumed control of it. Around 500 children and their families in Montrouis need assistance, including food, health care, and education. The Germantown homeowners, who run the lawn care business Moyers Landscaping in Rockville, sought assistance from other county residents.
The community lacks running water, power, and a sufficient supply of nutritious food, according to the mission's website. The same river that villagers bathe in and use to wash their clothing also provides water for drinking. According to the website, the majority of youngsters "do not have access to a bed, a daily meal, or an education."
Image credit: Life Connection Mission
The mission's largest fundraising event is an annual yard sale that takes place in October. According to organizers, the Saturday event normally raises about $30,000 for the mission to use toward the village's most urgent needs, such as a medical clinic, a preschool, or a computer center.
This weekend, Olivia Mascari will take a flight from Tampa to her home in time for the yard sale on Saturday. She attended St. Patrick's Catholic School in Rockville, Maryland, which collaborates closely with the mission; the head of the school, Christie Anne Short, is the mission's board of directors president. She is currently a junior studying at the University of Tampa in Florida.
With hundreds of volunteers donating items beginning a week before the event, the yard sale is "tremendous" teamwork, according to Short.
In Rockville, Maryland, at 4101 Norbeck Road, St. Patrick Catholic Church will host the sale.
Anne Mascari, Olivia's mother, stated, "It is such a terrific feel-good chance for parents to involve their children, for parents to get involved, to do it as a family, and to support people whom most of us would never meet."
Instead of beginning any new initiatives this year, the mission's objective this time around, according to Short, is to foster a "more positive mood" in the town.
We want to maintain what we have and safeguard our assets as we emerge from these trying financial circumstances, Short added.
The group intends to paint the community school again after nearly 20 years. According to Short, the school enrolls students from preschool through high school. Students are given a decent education, a free breakfast each day, uniforms, and books.
Around 15 Haitians, including a school principal, a hospital administrator, and a physician, manage the mission's daily operations in Montrouis on a full-time basis.
When Olivia was in kindergarten, Anne Mascari, a Rockville resident, and owner of a small business said she wanted to engage her family in charitable work. She stated that the yard sale's 100% direct donation of money to the organization was its most alluring feature.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused more operations to go online, which has allowed the Germantown mission to hold more frequent video conferences with those in Haiti.
Given that they have contributed the most throughout the most difficult moment, we are trying to boost the pay for our Haitian employees, according to Short. We want to compensate them and assist with the enormous cost of inflation since we know they have families.
Carrington Boyd, a native of Gaithersburg who is now 22 years old, began helping out at the yard sale when she was a 10-year-old student at St. Patrick's Catholic School. She has accompanied the team on four trips to Haiti, helping with projects like home reconstruction and managing a mobile clinic, which functions like a doctor's office in an area where people are in need.
"Working with individuals from Haiti in the yard sale, coming into a volunteer, and then being able to go years later and witness all the change and development that's been a direct result of all our volunteering from the yard sale has just been incredible," she said.
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