The Friends of Haiti began as part of the Parish Twinning Program in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2000, St. Philip the Apostle Parish of Green Bay, Wisconsin, led by Father Larry Canavera, was paired with St. Anne Parish of Thomazeau, Haiti. The initial purpose was to extend friendship and support to the people of a 5th world country. A 5th world country is defined as a country without hope.
In 2004, reaching out to a broader base of support, The Friends of Haiti incorporated and is now an independent 501 (c) (3) entity. As a result, The Friends of Haiti is able to accept tax deductible gifts.
The initial emphasis of The Friends of Haiti was to provide medical missions twice a year to St. Anne and its 11 chapels, approximately 60,000 people. Under the direction of the Development Committee led by John Malcheski, Friends of Haiti has been instrumental in getting running water to mountain villages. Now, the current major service areas are health care, education, clean water, agriculture and economic development.
The Friends of Haiti are people of all faiths and backgrounds who volunteer their time, skills and resources. People who join us on our missions cover their own travel costs and incidentals. The Friends of Haiti arranges for most of the food, transportation and interpreters while in Haiti. Frequently people use their vacation time to join the missions. In addition to people from many U. S. states, our volunteers include members of The Haitian American Nurses Association and many of the Haitian people themselves, who offer to do what they can to help us have successful missions which help their people.
The success of The Friends of Haiti has not only rested with those who go on the mission. The success also depends on those who stay behind and provide encouragement and support.
The missions are a year round team effort enabling the long held dream to help the people of Haiti to come to fruition.