Notre Dame High School of West Haven, Connecticut, which is an apostolate of the Moreau Province (Austin, Texas), has several reasons for wanting to support its Holy Cross confreres in Haiti. Sr. Rosemary Reynolds, SND, is the high school’s director of guidance, and her congregation also has a mission in Haiti. Glenn Xavier, a member of Notre Dame’s Guidance Department, is of Haitian descent. Glenn’s parents emigrated from Haiti in the 1960s, and Glenn is a graduate of Holy Cross High School, Flushing, New York.
Moreover, two medical missions to Haiti have links back to Notre Dame High School. Dr. Richard Garvey (’66) travels to Haiti regularly with a medical team to perform surgery in Jacmel, a town about three hours from Port-au-Prince. For the past two years, Notre Dame has hosted the Hearts for Haiti fundraiser to support Dr. Garvey’s medical mission. Dr. John Avera, Notre Dame’s athletic team doctor, is part of another medical group that focuses on orthopedic surgery. Beginning in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Dr. Aversa and several other orthopedic surgeons have made 12 trips to perform surgery at Hospital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti.
The Notre Dame High School community designated December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) as Haitian Relief Day and observed the occasion with two events. The Minority Student Union and Christian Student Mission Club promoted a dress-down day whereby a student’s $5 contribution was rewarded with a casual dress code for the day.
Casual dress was the ideal uniform for the second event of the day, Harvest Pack. Harvest Pack’s mission is bringing nutritious food to the tables of those in need, with the help of people who care. From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on December 6, Notre Dame people who care about Haiti helped package 40,000 meals which will be distributed in Haiti by Harvest Pack.
Harvest Pack describes its meal program like this: “We started with research from food scientists to create meals that are nutritionally rich. Our meals are full of carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins that are easily digestible—perfect for a malnourished body and mind. Each meal consists of all nine essential amino acids for complete nutrition. That is something that can't be said for rice or beans alone. We know the needs of malnourished people, and we designed our meals to be the most complete nutrition available in a package that can be prepared with just boiling water. These meals will store for a long time so that they can be ready when they're needed most.”
The Harvest Pack project was spearheaded by Kathy Wielk, Vice President for Advancement, Notre Dame’s Interact Club, and parent and faculty volunteers. The Harvest Pack project received collaborative support from Halsey Associates of New Haven and three local Rotary Clubs whose contributions to the project totaled $5,300.
Funds raised by the Notre Dame student body will be distributed in Haiti via the Holy Cross Mission Center, which is headquartered at Notre Dame, Indiana, in the United States.
Special thanks to Br. George Schmitz, C.S.C., for assisting with this article.