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A639: Lending a hand to families in Haiti

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Lending a hand to families in Haiti
Volunteer does part to help mend nation
By Melody Holmes
Special To The Sun
Originally published February 5, 2002

To add to his list of retirement activities,
76-year-old Charles Moranville recently picked up
sewing. To be more specific, the Eldersburg resident
picked up sewing machines.

Moranville, who retired 12 years ago from Bendix Field
Engineering Corp. (now Honeywell Corp.) in Columbia,
began collecting sewing machines in December for
transport to Haiti. The machines will be distributed
to mothers in the poverty-stricken nation with the
hope that they will use them to make clothing for
their families.

The idea was presented to Moranville by fellow members
of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Community in Eldersburg,
which sponsors outreach ministries to developing
countries and inner-city Baltimore. Moranville and
others began the work as part of an initiative begun
by the Hershey, Pa.-based Mortel Family Charitable

Founder Rodrigue Mortel - a native Haitian who grew up
in that nation during the 1930s - began the
organization after seeing the public health crisis in
Haiti during his work as a young physician. Now
associate dean of the medical school at Pennsylvania
State University and director of the university's
Cancer Center, Mortel and volunteers return to Haiti
several times a year, providing medical assistance and
community aid, including establishing schools and
hospitals. The call for sewing machines is among the
organization's latest efforts.

"I think there's a great need to do anything we can
for the people of Haiti. Anything we can do to help is
a worthwhile endeavor," Moranville said.

He has collected 60 machines.

His work with the Mortel Foundation isn't Moranville's
first stint at voluntarism. He has taken part in
several activities since his retirement, including
helping neighbors with electrical and plumbing work,
driving the elderly to doctors' appointments, and
visiting the sick. "I enjoy doing community service, "
he said.

Haiti's economy is one of the poorest in the Western
Hemisphere. About 80 percent of Haitians live in
poverty, with widespread malnutrition, inadequate
medical facilities and a high infant mortality rate -
about 95 per 1,000 births. About 4.5 percent of
Haiti's population lives to age 65 and over.

It is statistics such as these that encourage
Moranville's work with the Mortel Foundation.

"I try to provide help wherever it's needed, " he
said. "The Lord provided me with the good health and
time to help out as much as I can."

Information or donations: St. Joseph Roman Catholic
Community Church, 410-795-7838 or the Mortel
Foundation, www.mortel foundation.org.

Copyright  2002, The Baltimore Sun

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