Help Build 100 Homes in El Salvador
We just recently returned from our second Mission Trip to El Salvador. Our desire to help the poor in El Salvador originated at our parish in Amherst Ohio. The Cleveland Diocese has had a prescence in El Salvador for fifty years. You may recall that during a civil war in El Salvador in the late 70's and 80's thousands of innocent civilians were brutally tortured and killed. In fact, Cleveland's own Sister Dorothy Kazel was but one of such people who was raped, beaten and killed on December 2, 1980. People fleed to the mountains for safety.
While much time has passed and the civil unrest has subsided, the poverty in El Salvador continues to devastate their people. During our trips to El Salvador we have lived with their people and experienced first hand how financially challanged they continue to be. We also have experienced their generouslty and have watched them celebrate their faith. While they may be poor economically, they by all standards are rich in their spiritual beliefs and committment to family.
We cannot adequately describe how warmly we have been received by these people and, while their needs are overwhelming, they are not looking for handouts. They, however, do appreciate any hand up we are able to provide.
On the last day of this year's trip, we traveled in the back of a pick up truck to the top of one of El Salvador's mountains. There we met a couple who were 98 years old and had the opportunity to visit their home. What we experienced that day has had a dramatic effect on our life. You see, we went there planning to construct some walls around what we thought was their existing home. What we found that day was undescribable. This beautiful couple of over eighty years, lived there together with nothing more that a metal roof supported by cut tree limbs and a tarp half torn on one side to shelter them from the elements. They had no water, no toilet, a bag of beans and of course no electrcity. The lady, in addition to being 98 years old and frail, had been blind for the past fifteen years.
That day we hauled cinder blocks, cement, water, and two by fours some two hundred yards from the small rough trail that connected them to civilization. As we started to clear the dirt floor of the area they called home, we lifted up a make shift wooden bed. Immediately at least a dozen rats scattered away. I couldn't help but think to myself that "no one should have to live this way." Yet in the midst of this squalor, they greeted us with gratitude,and warmly welcomed us to their home on the top of this mountain.
We spent the day building walls and a door for these lovely people, to help shelter them from the pending rainy season they call winter. That day we gave them a new home and a little piece of dignity and comfort. The cost to us, a little less than $1000.00 dollars and a day of work.
In El Salvador there are no goverment funded programs available to assist the poor in this way, no "Habitat for Humanity", and no homeless shelters. Thousands are left, like these people, to fend for themselves.
The Lord has led us to these people and we feel a calling to help the many others who face similiar conditions on the mountain tops of El Salvador. We have committed ourselves to build as many such structures as possible over the next few years establishing a company name of OPERATION RESCUE INC., which stands for, "Rebuilding El Salvador Communities Unfairly Evicted".
We would like to ask for your help in building 100 such homes. Any monitary donation you might be able to make would be appreciated. While there is no shortage of poor in this world these people, due to no fault of their own, live in a country where there are no federally funded programs, no food stamps, no unemployment benifits, no health care and no shelters for the homeless. Won't you please help us to help them? It all begins with a willingness to share! We are a non-profit tax deductible charity allowing you to claim your contribution on your Federal Tax return. Our Federal EIN Number is: EIN 47-1582141.
May God Bless you and your family!
Three years later God has blessed us with what will soon be over $ 165,000.00 in total donations. This equates into over 80 homes that are now funded. With two construction crews now working, a home is being built every 15 to 18 days. We have a completion schedule that runs through June of 2018. Currently we have completed 42 homes.
Our construction costs have risen a little and it now takes somewhere between $2100 to $2200 dollars to build each home.
Marsha and I will be leaving on a one way flight to El Salvador on June 1st, 2017. We plan on spending at least three months this summer there. While we are there we will be overseeing the construction process, interviewing families who have applied for assistance, revisiting all the families who are currently living in one of our homes and gathering more pictures and stories of what these homes have meant to the people receiving them.
Words can not possibly express our gratitude for your donations. We also are so appreciative of State Farm Insurance, Progressive Insurance, Amica Insurance and Sherwin Williams for matching contributions from employees who contribute to Operation Rescue Inc. We would ask that if you could see your way clear to make another donation and you work for one of these companies they will match your donation up to certain limits. State Farm Insurance will match up to $1500.00 per year. Please consider another donation as we still have a long way to go.
We would also like to announce our new website is up and running. Google: Operationrescueinc.org and it will take you right there.
Please pass this message on to all your Facebook and Twitter friends. There is so much to do and so many who are in need of your help. Soon we plan on attaching some video to our website which we took on our visit last October.
We have continued to maintain our record of passing on 100% of every donated dollar to the construction process. Few if any other 501 c (3) Charities or Foundations can say this. The Board of Directors personally pay for all managerial expenses associated with what we do as a Company. You can rest assured that every penny of your contributions go directly towards the building process.
Let me thank you in advance for your continued support and willingness to assist God's poorest people!
David Gantz, President
Operation Rescue Inc.
The biggest challenge we first faced was establishing the infrastructure necessary for the selection of recipients, location of homes, cantons to be serviced, securing the appropriate materials, controlling our budget per home, hiring and training the workers and following up after the completion of each home. That structure is now in place along with all the players needed to make this happen.
We have been blessed in our journey and have met so many wonderful people who are willing to help us fund this project.
During our visit we traveled the area, interviewed families who have asked for a home, made a selection for our next home, visited with a family who lives in our first home built and talked with the family who is received theirhome at the end of October. 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.
We have experienced God's amazing Grace and realize that through him all things are possible.
It is our hope that you will continue to support our efforts, spread the word and maybe even consider joining us on our next trip in 2016. We have yet to establish a date but if you are interested please let me know and I will send you all the details as soon as they become available. Seeing things first hand and meeting the people in person, is a life changing experience. Please consider joining us!
Thanks to all who have helped to make this possible.