Mattituck Presbyterian Church's Haiti Youth Team has joined forces with local Rotary clubs across Long Island on a project dubbed the "One Hundred for Haiti - We Stand As One" campaign - and they're close to reaching their goal.
After nearly five years, the project is moving toward completion. The goal is to create a new school and church building for Haiti's impoverished village of Betoti. The groups have already raised over $60,000 and need an additional $20,000 to complete the job.
An anonymous local donor pledged to match the donation if the group raises the additional $20,000. This would bring their grand total to $100,000.
"If we succeed, the church will become the center of the community in the village [Betoti]," said Danielle Durkin, Youth Haiti Team Advisor. "The school would give the children of Betoti the opportunity to rise above the devastating poverty that currently commands their little lives."
In order to raise the additional capital, the church will be hosting a cocktail fundraising event on Thursday, August 4th at Brecknock Hall in Greenport. The event will feature live music, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres.
Phase one of the campaign was completed in April 2014, when students, church and Rotarian volunteers constructed a small utility building to house a reverse osmosis water filtration system and solar panels, which were provided by Rotary. This system is the first of its kind in the village and it provides up to 1,000 gallons of clean water a day, benefiting families across the village.
Phase two, which involved laying a foundation for the school and church building, and the beginning stages of building walls was completed earlier this year, in January. The final phase is to complete the walls, separate the space into classrooms and add the roofs.
Once the spaces are finished, Rotary clubs will outfit the space with blackboards, desks, and furniture.
The new space will be run by Pastor Agones Jean Jaques, who grew up in Betoti and returned after seminary to help in the village where he grew up.
Church youth from Hampton Bays, Riverhead, Mattituck, Southold, and Greenport are participating in the project, many have even taken the trip to Haiti to lay the brick and mortar. Rotary clubs from across the East End and as far as Commack and Brentwood are involved in the project, making it a true collaborative effort.
The fundraiser event at Brecknock Hall will take place August 4th at 7 p.m. at in Greenport. Tickets are $50 before the event, and $65 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church. During the benefit, guests can enjoy a photo and video display to learn more about the small village of Betoti and see how the project has taken its shape over the years. Pastor Agones will also be in attendance to answer any questions about the project.
For those who cannot make it to the event but would like to support the project, the church is also taking donations through its website: www.mattpres.com
Brecknock Hall is located at 1 Brecknock Road in Greenport.