Who We Are
St William Catholic Church was a participant in the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, St. William was paired with St. Joseph Church in Côte-de-fer in Haiti, in 2008, and a Haiti Committee was formed. In 2012, the Haiti Committee applied to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, Helping Hugs, Inc.
A brief history of the “Twinning” relationship between St. William Church, St. Simons Island, GA and St. Joseph Parish, Côtes-de-Fer, Haiti
“Twinning” expresses the coming together of two communities in search of an ever-deepening faith on their journey to understand and appreciate each other in mutual respect.
St. William Church, St. Simons Island, GA
St. Joseph Parish, Côtes-de-Fer, Haiti
Helping HUgs Inc History
Emergency Food Relief Continues
The food shortage continues and is expected to last for the remainder of 2020. We were able to obtain a matching grant and partner with Food for the Poor to provide a 6 months supply of food for those in need.
Emergency Food Relief
The Coronavirus has resulted in a shortage of food as well as a significant increase in its cost. As a result, the poor have little or nothing to eat and no source of income. Emergency funding was sent to aid those unable to obtain food for their families.
Funds were provided to replace dirt floors with cement at the chapels of Sacred Heart in Platon and St. Mother Teresa in Metayer. The chapels serve as a meeting place for the community as well as for religious services.
Seating Project for Chapels
St. Lawrence Cistern Project
Continuing our effort to bring sources of clean water to communities served by St. Joseph Parish, funds were sent for the construction of a cistern in the community of Bouca Moran.
A program was initiated to train teachers at St. Anthony elementary school in the use of computers available to students. Educational programs available in the computers which were donated by another organization are not being utilized.
Solar Conversion of Mayette Water System
As a result of gasoline being both scarce and expensive, the decision was made to convert the clean water system from generator to solar power. This will provide a more reliable source of power and water during times of economic hardships.
Funding for School Operations
Funds were provided for the operation of 3 elementary schools and scholarships for the tuition of 30 high school students. Over 300 students are receiving a quality education with this program.
Providing Sources of Clean Water
Annual Spring Shipment
2046 pounds of medical supplies, musical instruments, personal hygiene items and glasses comprised our largest shipment ever to Cotes-de-Fer, Haiti.
5th Medical Mission Trip
Our 5th medical mission trip was conducted in Cotes-de-Fer and three other communities during a pause in the unrest. Communities served were Bouca Moran, Mont Blanc and Mayette. Over 900 people received care and guidance in the 4 locations during the one week trip.
Funds were provided to construct toilet facilities at St. Joseph Church.
Clean Water for Schools
Life Straw water purification systems were installed in Sacred Heart and St. Anthony elementary schools to provide the children with clean drinking water.
2nd Water System Completed
Our second clean water system was completed to serve the community of Mayette.
New Roof Completed
1563 pounds delivered…
1563 pounds of shoes, sandals, reading glasses, hymnals, clothing, towels, personal hygiene items, musical instruments and medical supplies for the next Medical Mission were shipped to St. Joseph through PTPA.
4th Medical Mission
A fourth medical mission trip was conducted in Cotes-de-Fer and three chapels: St. Anthony, St. Lawrence and the Nativity of Our Lady. A program was also established to treat patients with hypertension on an ongoing basis.
The annual fundraising dinner/auction raised $40,470.01 in support of Education, Clean Water, Medical Missions and Building Construction.
More Students Served
The St. William community increased the number of students sponsored to 285 at the 3 schools located in the area of Côtes-de-Fer, Haiti.
1932 pounds delivered…
1932 pounds of musical instruments, personal hygiene items, medical equipment and supplies, clothing, sandals and school supplies were shipped to St. Joseph through PTPA.
In keeping with our spiritual mission, funds were sent to help in the repair of 10 chapels from damage as a result of the earthquake and hurricane Matthew.
3rd Medical Mission
A third medical mission was conducted in Côtes-de-Fer and two chapels: St. Matthias in Mayette and Mother Teresa in Metayer.
The annual fundraising dinner/auction raised $32,563.43 in support of Education, Transportation and Building Improvement needs.
The St. William community sponsored 223 student tuition scholarships.
Water Project completed supplying clean, potable water to the Education/Rectory building, school and the village of Côtes-de-Fer.
Fact Finding Visit
Two members from St. William made a relationship-building and fact-finding visit with the new pastor, Father Islaire Faustin.
875 pounds delivered…
Eight hundred fifty seven pounds of personal hygiene items and school uniforms were shipped to St. Joseph through PTPA.
Fundraiser Dinner & 2nd Medical Mission
The annual fundraising dinner/auction raised $22,700 in support of a Clean Water project for St. Joseph.
A second Medical Mission (Women’s Clinic) was conducted in the Côtes-de-Fer area.
New Leadership & Education Sponsorship
Father Islaire Faustin is assigned to St. Joseph parish.
The St. William community sponsored 163 student tuition scholarships.
700 Pounds Delivered
Seven Hundred pounds of medical supplies, first aid kits, school supplies, school uniform, personal hygiene bags, clothing and glasses were sent to St. Joseph through PTPA.
Annual Fundraiser Dinner
The annual fundraising dinner/auction raised $27,300 in support of the new Rectory/Education Building.
1st Medical Mission
The first Medical Mission trip was conducted in Côtes-de-Fer.
138 Educational Sponsorships
One Hundred thirty eight students were sponsored for tuition scholarships.
1800 Pounds Delivered…
Eighteen hundred pounds of medical supplies, school uniforms, school supplies, and personal care items were sent to St. Joseph through PTPA.
82 Educational Sponsorships
The St. William Community sponsored 82 student tuition scholarships.
$35,000 Raised at Annual Dinner
A fund raising dinner and auction, with 155 people in attendance, raised over $35,000 in support of a new Rectory/Education Building for St. Joseph.
Youth Group raises $4000
St. William Youth Group collected $4,000 for the “Souper Bowl of Caring” on Super Bowl Sunday and designated the collection for St. Joseph Parish.
Helping Hugs Becomes Non-Profit & Haitian Christmas Ornaments raise $5400
The Haiti Committee applied to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, Helping Hugs, Inc.
A fundraiser, selling Haitian angel ornaments and “raffle” tickets for a decorated Christmas Tree netted more than $5,400.
82 Educational Scholarships
The St. William community sponsored eighty two student tuition scholarships.
Church Members Visit Haiti
Two members of St. William Church visited Fr. Jude. Gifts included medical supplies, clothes for the children, school supplies and cash donations.
Generator & Solar Panels Gifted
Money was sent to Fr. Jude to purchase and install a generator and solar panels.
35 Children Sponsored & 6 Families Received Assistance
Thirty five children, whose parents could not afford to send them to school, were sponsored by the St. William community.
Through donations, six families received assistance to start a small business.
2000 Pounds Delivered
Two Thousand pounds of school supplies, Medical supplies, toys and school uniforms were sent to St.Joseph.
Help continued through the monthly donation from St. William, donations from parishioners and the selling of Christmas gift baskets of Fair Trade consumables.
Frequent communication through phone and email kept the two communities in touch.
$5000 Raised for St Joseph Parish
Fr. Jude visited St. William. He met many parishioners, $5,000 was raised to benefit his community.
A major fundraiser amassed $5,820 for St. Joseph parish.
Monthly Stipend to St Joseph Parish Begins
A monthly stipend to St. Joseph parish began.
Haiti Committee Meetings Sanctioned
Msgr. Kenneally sanctioned meetings of the Haiti Committee.
St. William Parish Council agreed to provide a monthly stipend to St. Joseph parish to help Fr. Jude rebuild and provide immediate assistance to his community.
“Haiti Committee” Proposed
A “Haiti Committee” of parishioners was proposed at St. William.
Another shipment of medical supplies was sent from St. William to Port-Au-Prince. Our representatives were unable to go to Côtes-de-Fer because the roads were impassable.
A catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti. Two nurses from St. William returned to Haiti to provide medical assistance in Port-Au-Prince.
St William visits Haiti
Three members of St. William traveled to Haiti to visit with Father Jude Fils-Aimé. Gifts included medical supplies, school supplies and cash donations.
Father Jude File-Aimé
Father Jude File-Aimé was assigned to St. Joseph parish.
PTPA Identified St Joseph Parish
The PTPA identified St. Joseph Parish, Côtes-de-Fer, Haiti as a match for St. William.
Parish Twinning Program
St William contacted the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA), a facilitating organization that matches two Catholic parishes and helps maintain those relationships.