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April 28, 2010
MARYVILLE, Mo. - A local ministry dedicated to providing financial support and technical training for orphaned or abandoned children got a boost this week from one of Northwest's student service organizations.
The Sigma Society on Tuesday presented a $1,200 donation to House of Hope Haiti. House of Hope Haiti President Dr. Mike Bellamy and board member Dr. Bayo Oludaja accepted the donation on the mission's behalf. Bellamy is associate professor of chemistry at Northwest; Oludaja is associate professor of communication, theatre and languages.
"We are appreciative of what the organization has done and it has come at the right time," Bellamy said of the donation. "The problem in Haiti was a significant problem but the response of the Sigma Society was a significant response. For them to raise this kind of money was really, really remarkable. They deserve to be commended and should be very proud of what they did."
Sigma Society raised the money from the proceeds of "I (heart) Northwest" T-shirts the group sold to commemorate Northwest Week, April 5-9.
The women said they were compelled to donate to House of Hope Haiti because of the mission's connection to Northwest. Some Sigma Society members are now considering joining to help House of Hope Haiti on its next trip to the region.
Sigma Society Fundraising Chair Stephanie Burge, a sophomore business education major from Rock Port, Mo., coordinated the project. Sigma Society Secretary Kat Donovan, senior public relations major from Grandview, Mo., pitched the idea to members.
"They are doing great things," Donovan said. "They're working on a school. They've already built an orphanage. That's what we really wanted to focus on is their efforts and make people see that people in Maryville are helping in ways that are amazing."
Bellamy helped launch House of Hope Haiti in 2005 with a half-dozen volunteers and opened an orphanage with 16 children. Since then, the mission has grown considerably and provided aid to residents in Williamson, a 45-minute drive north of Port-au-Prince.
"God has just blessed this ministry beyond anything that we ever hoped," Bellamy said. "It's a lot bigger than we ever thought it would be. We never planned for it to be this way."
House of Hope Haiti also has aided subsistence farmers and given residents better access to water by digging wells, building cisterns and creating water purification systems.
"A lot of times the people don't have access to water at all," Bellamy said. "Sometimes the nearest well might be a quarter-mile away and somebody might be charging money for it. So we just give them access to more water and cleaner water to improve their quality of life."
Bellamy and Oludaja said the Sigma Society's donation will likely be used toward finishing a school and church building that House of Hope Haiti is constructing.
For more information about House of Hope Haiti, go to: www.houseofhopehaiti.com.
For more information about Sigma Society, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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