Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

From Murrysville to Haiti Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church Has a Mission Trip Planned for January

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

From Murrysville to Haiti Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church Has a Mission Trip Planned for January

Article excerpt

The holiday giving spirit will continue into the new year when mission workers from Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville travel to Haiti to deliver food and other supplies.

"Even though it will be January, when you're from Haiti, any day that you get something is Christmas Day," said Jack Metcalfe, a church member who has been to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, more than a dozen times since 1998.

The latest trip is set for Jan. 17-24.

Beginning Dec. 7, the church will conduct an alternative gift program that helps supply food to the 15,000 people, including 3,300 children, that the LaCroix New Testament Mission serves, 80 miles north of Port-au-Prince.

"Instead of buying someone a necktie for $25, you can pay for 50 pounds of rice that is given directly to the families," Mr. Metcalfe said.

The group will purchase 50-pound bags of rice and beans after members arrive in Port-au-Prince and divide them into 2-gallon resealable plastic bags. They will distribute the food to the mission and then, traveling dirt roads, to surrounding remote villages of Haiti's mountainous region.

"It's a place where only a goat or a four-wheel-drive can go," Mr. Metcalfe said.

The team of seven men and 13 women will leave Pittsburgh with clothes, children's vitamins and supplies for light construction. Leaving most of their belongings for the needy, they will return with little more than the clothes they are wearing, Mr. Metcalfe said.

Cost for the trip is $900 for each team member, which they paid themselves.

Newlonsburg Church offers aid to the LaCroix mission as part of a large network of churches from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Vermont that sends teams through the nonprofit Friends of Haiti. In the past 16 years, volunteers constructed and maintained a medical clinic, two schools, dining halls, solar energy panels, a rain collection system for clean water and a dormitory within the mission, but the team says its members are building relationships, not just structures. …

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