Travel in the time of COVID-19 has been no easy feat, making it all but impossible for Pastor Lubin Beaucejour to visit his mother in Haiti over the last few months.
However, when he learned that she had tragically died unexpectedly, he was determined to make it home to pay his respects. And knowing how hard Haiti has been hit by the virus, he didn’t want to go empty-handed.
“Pastor Lubin has been going back and forth to see his family in Haiti for some time [years] now, and we knew we had to give him masks and things to bring with him when he went down,” said his colleague, Pastor Ben McClain.
Beaucejour went to Haiti on July 28, armed with over 3,000 masks — most homemade by Cheshire residents and White Oak parishioners — to distribute to various orphanages and his friends and family in Haiti.
“Sometimes, people forget about how much Haiti suffers in times like this,” Beaucejour said. “The saying goes, ‘When places like America get a cold, places like Haiti get pneumonia’.”
Once White Oak parishioners heard masks were being collected for Beaucejour to bring to Haiti, they sprang into action.
“We worked non-stop to raise funds and collect materials to make the masks,” recalled McClain. “We knew Pastor Lubin and his family are so influential in Haiti and that a lot of people would want to attend his mother’s service, so we want to make sure those who pay their respects to his mother were protected as well.”
According to McClain, over 1,500 Haitian residents attended Beaucejour’s mother’s funeral service, and all were safely protected with masks made by people over 1,000 miles away.
“They we’re so happy to receive them,” said Beaucejour. “Most people down there can’t afford masks. They have to choose between feeding their kids or giving them masks.”
White Oak parishioners had only about a week to gather masks, but the Church received help from some unexpected outsiders.
“While watching one of our outdoor services and hearing we were collecting masks, a Cheshire Police officer who had just stopped by saw what we were doing and offered to donate a ton of masks to our cause,” said McClain. “It just shows how giving our community really is in times like this.”
Beaucejour plans on returning to Haiti in October to bring even more supplies, and he can’t wait to see the masks he brought being put to good use.