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July 10, 1998     The Message
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July 10, 1998
 

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Caribbean Bishop Begs American Catholics To Help Provide Housing for the Destitute Poor The needs of the poor weigh heavily on Bishop Paul Boyle's heart. As the spiritual leader for Mandeville, Jamaica, he shepherds a suffering flock -- fathers stripped of their dignity by poverty, mothers struggling to care for their malnourished infants and children who are hardened by the adversities of their lives. 'knd too often, I find that homelessness is at the heart of the poor's misery," Bishop Boyle explained. "When a family loses its home, it often spirals down into deeper and deeper levels of poverty. These people would be lost if it wasn't for the help of the church and organizations like Food For The Poor." By partnering with Food For The Poor and making use of its home building program, Bishop Boyle has begun constructing basic housing for the poorest of the poor in his Diocese. With this helping hand, many families are recovering their dignity and discovering a new sense of hope in their livesl They are experiencing Christ's mercy in a direct and meaningful way. 'Tk home gives a poor family security and stability. It allows them to get back on their feet again. I beg every American Catholic who wants to help the poor to consider the value of Food For The Poor's building program. I know firsthand -- it makes a real difference in the lives of the poor," he said. Building homes through Food For The Poor is simple and cost effective. (see program details on opposite page). Each $1,500 contri- bution to the home building program allows Food For The Poor to construct a home for a poor family on behalf of a mentoring priest or pastor like Bishop Boyle. "I am deeply grateful to everyone who has con- tributed to build a home in my diocese," Bishop Boyle said. "In fact, on behalf of the many pastors and priests who serve the poor in the Caribbean, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to build a home through Food For The Poor. Know that we are all deeply grateful for your support," Bishop Boyle said. "The gift you give is a powerful testimony to the love and mercy o.f Christ among the poor. May God richly bless you for the sacrifice you have made." PAID ADVERTI$ As the photographs above depict, the Caribbean and Latin America face shocking proble " i with homelessness and sub-standard housing. Homes are often makeshift structures "built" i around a framework of sticks or scrap lumber. Walls of cardboard, rusty tin sheets andplastic can blow down easily in simple thunderstorms. Food For The Poor's home building prograra replaces these patch-work shacks with sturdy htmber homes. Thousands on Waiting List --- "The awri00 Are He0000rt-Wrenching Hurvin Thomas, a father of six, has been forced to move out of a condemned house on the edge of the Spanish Town Highway. Unemployed, with nowhere else to turn, he is worried about the future of his youngest children -- ages four, five and six. To spare them from the pain and danger of sleeping on the streets, Hurvin is begging for help.. Albertha Evans is 108 years old. Her son, 79, cares for her in a tiny patch- work shack they share. The shack's roof leaks and the cramped space inside makes life for the two unbearably hard. In desperation, they have come to Food For The Poor. "My waiting list of needs goes on and on, and all of the stories I hear are just as heart-wrenching. Poverty in countries like Jamaica and Haiti is devastating. Thousands of men, women and children are desperately searching for simple shelter," explained Pearl Barrett, coor- dinator of Food For The Poor's home building effort in Jamaica. "Our home building program was created to give these poor families hope and a sense of God's mercy. Through the ministry, American sponrs provide funds which are used to build basic, cabin-style homes for the poorest of the poor." (see details of the program on the opposite page). Since 1982, thousands of houses have been FOOD [:0R II'iE POOR I0IJS|G pli sponsored and built by benefac- ................................................................. tors to Food For O/kB #dBBB i The Poor, Barrett said, but demand o tll for the homes 1,1L_,, Bt, oert , .ca remains very LoGATIU: " /11 high. Jamaica 8ge ThoraCes, 11 and Haiti have xJ. .... n,:t6  g II serious economic  S egep Oe3ta hed e j problems in in a co rrt t-IlghwaY" ' I of 8pavASh To recent years. Fathers and mothers who have lost jobs often end up on the street where they become trapped in a life of abject poverty. Once homeless, it is virtually impossible for these families to recover their lives, she said. "Tragically, some of the families seeking help from us originally lost their homes and liveli- hoods in a fire or one of the hurricanes that hit the island years ago. They've been struggling to survive ever since," Barrett said. "Imagine  some of the children we are helping have never lived in a home of their own. They've never known that sense of stability or security in their lives," she said. "You can also imagine how most families react when they raise God beca P . eHeh they behev i'aY i answered their P with a miracle, As inspired a: Barrett is by the n,"e ! of the program' d ' I remains concern g t about the needs t] i remain, particultr Y ? ! of the plight of the !11: children and the s : elderly. The fact that so many of the vulnerable souls will be homeleSS. tonight is painful to Pearl Barrett . her staff. ' vea backlog of At thts pomt, I h " ,.es, several thousand requests for n.._s Bar rseut: t  d t i'el mPalYv: t (, tocat00 a ,,ponsor for th,/)' ,, ,,i for miracles." : :i