By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Philanthropic team collects for orphans


Lois E. Johnson

Joan Guite of the medical mission group, on left, meets with Karen Johnson and Mary Sanders, who head up the project to collect clothing from seven churches in the SOCC group for children in an orphanage in Haiti. Luggage for the mission was also collected.

Children in an orphanage in Haiti will soon have new outfits to wear to Sunday church thanks to members of seven churches in the area. Members have been gathering outfits and those will be taken to Limbe, Haiti, when the Ministry in Medical Missions group travels there February 21.

"We do 11 mobile clinics while we are there," said organizer Marilyn Cluka of Barnum in a recent telephone interview. "Last year we treated 1,286 people."

The team is made up of 14 medical and non-medical people from Barnum, Blackhoof, Moose Lake, Esko and Duluth. The group has been going on the medical missions since 2004, right after the earthquake in Haiti, Cluka explained.

According to information supplied by the organization, the team is a Christian-based non-profit organization, comprised of inter-denominational members who are committed to providing medical care to the poor. Throughout the year, the team raises funds by selling homemade jam, ARCO coffee, fireworks and holding pancake breakfasts. All of the funds raised are used for medical supplies, medicine, translator fees and ground transportation. Personal costs of plane fares, room and board, passport costs and immunization costs are paid by the individual team members.

Over the past several years, the team has worked with a Haitian physician, Dr. Manno, who coordinates the efforts by making arrangements with pastors or teachers to set up the clinics in their rural villages. The team also spends two or three days working in his clinic in Limbe. Dr. Manno follows up with patients who need continued care after the team leaves.

"Dr. Manno came to Moose Lake last summer and spoke of the need for this clothing," said Joan Guite, one of the team members, in a recent interview. "The clothing is for children in an orphanage, and they range from age 2 to 18. Last October, Marilyn measured the children for sizes when she and another team were in Haiti once again."

Members of the SOCC (Strengthening Our Christian Community) group, made up of members of Family Worship Church, Hope Lutheran Church, Holy Angels Catholic Church, Evangelical Covenant Church and the United Methodist Church of Moose Lake, Faith Lutheran Church of Denham and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Kettle River, have purchased the outfits, complete with underwear, shoes and socks. Each church was supplied with four names and sizes, and that clothing has been packed in bags with each child's name on it, along with a note and picture of the donors.

"I found a postcard with a picture of the United States on it, and I put an asterisk where Moose Lake is," said Mary Sanders of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. "It's really exciting to be part of this work."

The team takes medicines and medical supplies to Haiti that they use at the clinics. Suitcases have also been donated to carry all of the supplies. That luggage will be left in Haiti when the mission has been completed and the group returns home, said Guite.

For more information about the Ministry of Medical Missions and the upcoming mission, call Guite at (218) 485-1903.


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