Needy families in Teotepeque, El Salvador now have shelter due to Operation Rescue, which found $2,000 in fundraising support this year from Lorain County JVS students.
Operation Rescue is an Amherst faith-based non-profit. In July 2014, it began a drive to raise enough cash to build 100 homes in the Central American nation, also raising $24,760 in a GoFundMe online pledge campaign.
Marsha Norberg, a leader with the group, is quick to point out the houses aren’t like those you see in Lorain County, but a simple cinderblock dwelling with a roof.
However basic and simple, “these structures mean the world to people who are used to living without solid walls, floors or running water and have no escape from the harsh elements of the rainforests of Central America,” she said.
A project update posted to GoFundMe sponsors Dec. 3 said two homes have been completed and a third has been started by volunteers and construction workers. The group has enough cash on hand for 11 more homes, four of which Operation Rescue hopes to build before the end of 2015.
“If all goes according to plan, we would like to see 24 more homes built in 2016,” the post said.
“There is so much need which goes further than we even first imagined. As we traveled the area, we had numerous people stopping us, asking for a home. It breaks our hearts to see the conditions they live in and realize that the demand is so much greater than our ability to supply the much needed homes. However, it has helped to further our commitment to carry on our efforts, finding ways to expand our fund raising efforts.”
Holly Sofia, AHS instructor at the JVS, said she got her students involved in support for the project to help them understand the importance of global humanitarianism.
“Students were enthusiastic, and readily volunteered, and the project gave them an awareness of the struggles many people in the world have to endure. They realized that many people don’t have access to basic necessities,” she said.
Students in the carpentry program built a playhouse for the cause. It will be raffled off at a JVS open house on Feb. 7.
Students sold tickets for the playhouse at both the JVS craft show and Community Appreciation Day. They also hosted a schoolwide “Flannel Friday” fundraiser, inviting students and staff members who donated $1 to “dress down” from their normal school uniform and wear flannel shirts and jeans.
Students in the JVS job training program helped the effort by cutting out paper houses, which were sold for $1 during lunch periods and then hung throughout the school hallways to raise awareness about the project.
Career readiness lab students will make plaques that will be hung on the houses in El Salvador identifying donors.
Raffle tickets for the playhouse are still on sale for $1 each or six for $5 and can be purchased by emailing Sofia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All extra money raised through the sale of the raffle tickets will also be donated to Operation Rescue.
Courtesy photo JVS allied health sciences students and instructors don flannel as one of the fundraisers for Operation Rescue.