Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, April 22, 2018


deSilvaDr. Paula deSilva, of St. Ann Parish in Avon, left, and Janet Leishman, a member of St. Gertrude Parish in Windsor, pause for a moment while collecting items for Haiti. (Photo submitted)

 AVON – Volunteers who have been sewing items for Haitians for years stepped up their efforts after the devastating earthquake in that country on Jan. 12.

Dr. Paula deSilva, a member of St. Ann Parish in Avon, has volunteered for the Mothers and Babies Sewing Project for the Haitian Health Foundation for years. Dr. deSilva coordinates the efforts of nearly 100 women who collect donated cotton fabric, and cut and sew items used in the villages surrounding Jeremie, Haiti. Volunteers sew maternity jumpers, cloth beds for the infants, and diapers which are shipped every three months to Haiti.

After the earthquake, many others got involved. They included members of St. Timothy Parish in West Hartford, students at St. Mary School in Simsbury and Avon High School and employees from One Beacon Insurance in Avon. In addition, Janet Leishman of Suffield, a member of St. Gertrude Parish in Windsor, organized a school-wide collection at Suffield Middle School.

More than 6,000 items, including tents, sleeping bags, baby clothes, maternity items, personal hygiene items and first aid supplies were packed and shipped to Haiti by the Norwich-based Haitian Health Foundation.

On April 10, another shipment was sent, this one including 7,465 items collected by the same students, parishioners and friends. Students from St. Mary School's Sewing Club sewed 308 pocket washcloths and collected more than 200 bars of Ivory soap for that shipment.

Dr. deSilva is inviting others to volunteer by contacting her at