Honduras News

Read about our previous Honduras service trips:  2009  •  2011  •  2014  •  20172019-20

June 2019 – Honduras trip date changed; crepe fundraiser on June 30

The next UUCC Honduras Service Trip is now planned in late December 2019 and early January 2020 instead of March 2020 as previously announced. Latrine building will be the main focus of our activities, and we are hoping to start building composting latrines. There will probably be other activities as well depending on what the community asks for and what we are able to offer. Read about our previous trip in 2017. You also will find descriptions of all our service trips on our website.

We hope you will consider joining us! To prepare, we will meet at least monthly between June and December, hold several fundraisers, and do a book study. We will have an informational meeting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, June 9 at church. You probably have a lot of questions about taking a trip to a country like Honduras, and we will be able to answer your questions.

Whether or not you are planning on coming on the trip, you will need lunch on Sunday, June 30. Please join us for our 100% authentic French crepe lunch fundraiser. You can eat them at church, or you can take them with you.

For more information please email Allie Gassmann.

May 2019 – 2020 Honduras trip in planning stage

The UUCC Honduras Ministry Team is starting to plan its fifth trip to the Cangrejal River Valley in Honduras. As usual, the main project will be building latrines, and additional projects will be determined by what the community needs are and what skills and interests team members can offer.

Team members will participate in monthly meetings in preparation for the trip and will be involved in fundraising. Scholarships are available.

If you would like to learn more, please email Allie Gassmann.

April 2019 – Trivia Night a success; next Honduras service trip in 2020

The Honduras Ministry put on its annual Trivia Night on Feb. 23, 2019. More than $3,400 was raised, and the community of the Rio Cangrejal River Valley in Honduras sends their profound thanks and gratitude.

We have sent a one-time payment of $230 for the repair of the clinic roof. We will continue sending $400 a month for clinic supplies (mostly paid by individual group members and supplemented by our Honduras Reserve funds.)

In addition, we are sending our annual contribution to Adelante Foundation, a Honduran microfinance organization.

The next UUCC Honduras service trip is planned for 2020. We are considering doing the trip in March 2020. Please contact Allie if you are interested and would like to know more.

Allie Gassmann, Honduras Ministry Chair

April 2018 – 4th Annual Trivia Night a big success

The Honduras Ministry put on its annual Trivia Night on Feb. 24, 2018. More than $2,800 was raised, and the community of the Rio Cangrejal River Valley in Honduras sends its profound thanks and gratitude.

We are sending a one-time payment of over $1,300 for the clinic. This money, in addition to the $400 we are sending monthly, is keeping the clinic afloat during these tough times when the Honduran Health Department (along with almost all other government agencies) is not functioning because of political turmoil.

In addition, we are sending our annual contribution to Adelante Foundation, a Honduran microfinance organization. This past June, members of our team were able to visit two women who are part of the microfinance program, and we were very impressed by what financial education and very small loans can do to improve these women’s lives and indeed the lives of their families and communities.

April 2017 – 16 people planning to go on 2017 Honduras trip

Sixteen people are planning to go on UUCC’s fourth Honduras Service Trip June 13-20. They will travel to El Pital, Honduras, to help build latrines, work in the health clinic, make music and see our Honduran friends again.

Many thanks to all who donated money, clothing and other items during the month of March. Everything is appreciated beyond measure by our Honduran partners!

Previous Honduras Team trips were in 2009, 2011 and 2014. You can read more about those trips by clicking the links at the top of this page.

– Allie Gassmann, Team Leader

March 2017 – very successful Trivia Night leads to matching grant

The fourth annual Founders Day Trivia Night was held at UUCC on Jan. 28. The Honduras Ministry had applied for a $4,500 matching grant from the Inman Foundation in St. Louis, and because the Trivia Night raised more than $4,000, the matching grant was received.

Some ways the money raised will be used are buying materials to build at least 10 latrines during the next trip this June, supporting the health clinic, supporting the microfinance group Adelante, and providing scholarship funds.

The Honduras Ministry of the Social Action Team sent the following thank-you letter to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Inman:

On behalf of the Honduras Ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your matching gift of $4,500. Having this matching grant allowed us to raise a record amount of money at our Fourth Annual Founders Day Trivia Night to benefit our ministry in Honduras.

We are preparing for our fourth visit to the Cangrejal River Valley near La Ceiba, Honduras. Every visit involves building latrines and helping out in various other ways the community needs us. As has happened in the past, members of our group will be helping with latrine building as well as helping in the health clinic and in the schools. We will be able to provide the funds for the latrine materials, quality tools, school supplies and medical supplies. In the past we have financed various other projects like building a means to cross the river to allow children to go to school year round, and giving loans to be paid back in services like sewing uniforms for school children who would otherwise not be able to afford them. We also support a microfinance organization that works in the Cangrejal River Valley financially.

Now we can dream bigger. The health clinic is in serious disrepair. The community has been working hard to repair it bit by bit, and we will be able to help the process along substantially. Something we have thought about for a long time is bringing one or two of the people we work with in Honduras to Columbia so that our congregation and our Honduran friends can get to know each other. On our trip to Honduras in June, we will surely learn of something more that can be done. This is the way it has always been in the past.

Above all, our Honduras Ministry is strengthening the ties between the people of our two very different countries. The bridges of friendship and deep caring are what this is all about. I have vowed to continue this work until I am no longer able to because I see the transformation in the young people who come on our trips. These trips are truly life changing for those of us from the US, and we hope for our Honduran friends and partners as well.

Thank you so very much again,

Allie Gassmann, Chair,
Honduras Ministry, Social Action Team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia

October 2016 – do you like crepes?

The Honduras Service Trip group has met twice, and we are excited to start planning for the next latrine building trip in June 2017. This means several fundraisers throughout the church year, and we will kick it off by selling crepes between the two worship services and after the 11 a.m. service on Oct. 23.

Master crepe chef Jackie Verdun will make the batter using farm fresh eggs and will demonstrate her skill in front of your eyes so you can have a chance to learn how to make crepes yourself. Gluten-free and vegan crepes will be available as well. Crepes can be eaten on the spot, and you can buy extras to take home.

For more information and to join our group, please email Allie Gassmann.

April 2016

The Honduras Team put on its third annual Trivia Night on Jan. 23. Thanks to the generous donors and participants, almost $3,000 was raised. Below are two photos from the event.

So far the Team has sent $500 for health clinic repairs in El Pital, and once a septic tank has been built, $500 more will be sent for adequate windows and doors that meet the Health Department requirements.
Clinic repairs are currently the most urgent need of the communities in the area, so more Trivia Night funds will go towards repairs and supplies in the future.

$1,000 from Trivia Night proceeds and a Faith-to-Action collection was sent to the microfinance group Adelante that is working in the communities where the UUCC groups have done their service work.

Our next UUCC Honduras service trip is planned for 2017. If you are interested or just want to learn more about what we do, please join us for a potluck at church on April 23. We will eat at 4:30 p.m. and watch the uplifting Honduran film “Revolution ary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital” at 6:30. We hope to see you there!

– Allie Gassmann (email)
Social Action Team

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Below are some pictures representing the recipients of the money:

ADELANTE: Iris is one of the women with whom the microfinance organization Adelante works. Iris is in a women’s circle where everyone pitches in money and then take turns borrowing money and paying it back. Iris has used Adelante loans to start and expand her tortilla business and recently started another business selling items at a school. Iris’ husband died before Christmas. Iris is working harder than ever to make ends meet, and she says she has made it through this difficult time thanks to her supportive and strong women’s group. Her next step will be to take out educational loans from Adelante so that she can ensure that her children get an education.
The health clinic in El Pital is in danger of being shut down due to disrepair, and the villagers are working hard to make the necessary repairs. We are making a donation to help them in this effort.
When the Honduras group goes to build latrines, they work with community organizer Cito Lobo. Here is a picture of his baby boy born on Jan. 20. May he grow up in a safer, more prosperous and more politically stable Honduras!

October 2015

Even though the next UUCC service trip to Honduras will not take place until 2017, we are staying in touch with our Honduran partners.

The UUCC Honduras group raised funds and gave a sizeable donation to the micro finance group Adelante earlier this year. Adelante had already started getting in touch with women in the communities that UUCC service groups have worked in over the years, and they had found that there was interest and capability for the dedication and work it takes to learn about finances and to support each other in the micro finance way. Five women in “our” communities are now part of Adelante micro finance groups and have already started making significant differences in their own, their families’ and their communities’ lives.

The Honduras group gave the sewing cooperative and community center in El Pital (site of the first UUCC service trip) a sizeable donation earlier this year as well. Half of the donation was a direct grant that helped the cooperative to buy a “new” used vehicle with which they have now been able to reliably sell their products around the country again. The second half of the donation was given with the understanding that they were to pay it back by making uniforms for children who can’t afford them. The uniforms have been made and given to the schools, and the principals and teachers of each school make the decisions on whom the uniforms will be loaned to in order for them to be able to go to school. Without uniforms, children are not allowed to attend school.

In June, our Honduran partners notified us that the health clinic in El Pital was under threat of closure by the health department due to the disrepair of the building. Some of the raised funds had already been earmarked for the clinic, and over the summer a couple of the members of the group did their own private fundraising events and other donations were given, so that in total the group was able to send $833 to help the community salvage the clinic. We will keep you updated on their progress.

As you can see, the generous financial contributions of members and friends of UUCC are making a really big impact on three poor communities. I have been asked to convey our Honduran partners’ deep gratitude and blessings to you. Above all, they know they have friends and allies who are rooting for them and who care for them. We too are enriched by their willingness to sacrifice and work hard, to better their communities’ lives and by the gift of their friendship and partnership.

– Allie Gassmann • Social Action Team • Email