In a conversation i had with Fr Alex's I was given the latest news about the work being undertaken at present in his parish. He very kindly obliged by sending the letter you are about to read outlining his plans. This is an opportunity for us to lend support. We have done so with great success since the year 2000 hence this project is known as the Millennium Project. Very shortly a couple of activities will be organised to raise funds to help Fr Alex in his noble ministry.
Dear friends at St Vincent's,
"Saludos" from Arequipa. I hope this finds you and all our friends at St. Vincents in the best of health and spirit.
Once again thank you for your constant interest and support to our mission in Alto Cayma, Arequipa. There are presently three particular needs.
The first one has to do with the updating of our kitchen. We need to refurbish the custom made cooker and the refrigeration. Also some pots and pans need to be replaced. The estimated cost for this project is between US$ 8,000 to US$ 10,000. If the funds permit we shall also paint the kitchen and put some tiles.
The second one is of a very different nature. We have been working for 14 years with a United States based child sponsorship program and last year they informed us that they are closing a big number of their projects because of financial problems. Unfortunately our program was one of those closed. We had almost 300 children who benefitted from the program. The received a monthly food hamper, education support with buying school utilities and paying fees, some children were also helped with medical support, and three times a year new cloths were both. The program helped with many other things. We as parish had made it all possible with logistics, office and storage, complementing funds, etc. Now that the project has been shut down we thought of starting our ow. We thought we can do some changes that can improve the way we help people. For this reason we thought that instead of making it a child sponsorship program, we'll make it a family support program. This is because we are very aware of the many difficulties poor families have to face daily. Another advantage of this change is that it will also include the elderly, who many a time are the ones that are neglected and suffer the most. The previous program had a sponsorship cost of US$40 a month. We can see how much that would make in the British Pound and keep it the same unless suggested otherwise. We can send pictures of the family supported over here to the supporting family from your parish and send two letters a year to keep the families in touch. If this can be done this would be a big blessing.
The third has to do with the "Compassion Fund". We started this fund two years ago and it is meant to support the poorest of the poor with the most basic needs. This means that we get beds, blankets, food, medicine, clothing, etc. In some cases we are paying rent, building a room, paying water and electricity bills, medical interventions, legal support, and at times it even means giving a proper burial. There are also 22 families and other individuals that are presently receiving around US$ 80 every month to help with their daily needs. These are families of single mothers that still have little children and cannot work to support their families. Others include sick people or elderly people who cannot provide for themselves. This fund does not involve monthly donations. I think that a fund for this purpose can be set up at St Vincents and donations can perhaps be sent twice a year to save transaction expenses.
Fr. Patrick these are some ideas about our present needs. Please feel free to promote whatever of these ideas are feasible and in whatever way you think best. I am very aware that the U.K. is Avery different culture from over here and things can be presented differently. I am also aware of the economic strain people are facing over there too, but amongst the parishioners and friends perhaps some people can afford a little bit more. As you know after all it is all faith based. We do our best and then let it in the hands of God.
Once again thank you from the heart both from myself and the people we serve. We are very grateful for all you do for us, as it is only through generous people like yourselves that we can look towards the future with hope.
United in one mission of building Peace on Earth through Faith and Service, may God bless.