Fundraiser in Hoffman Estates aids people in Haiti
Inspired by their daughter's faith and courage during her final days, Andy and Florette Sokulski began fundraising in 2006 with the Rev. Medard Laz and members of the Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness to create a living legacy in Haiti through Food For The Poor.
They recently returned to Haiti with Laz to see how their gifts have been used to save and transform lives in the Caribbean country at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where they have funded multiple modernization projects at the hospital, including an intensive care unit.
"It's truly amazing! This was an open-air hospital two years ago with drapes blowing in the wind and people waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor. Now we have a three-story building you all have helped us with," said Florette Sokulski.
The Sokulskis, who are planning their 12th fundraiser in September in Hoffman Estates, lost their daughter Julie Sokulski Hesser in 2004 at the age of 32. She was sick for several years following surgical complications.
Her parents' fundraising began with a golf outing that raised more than $18,000. Formerly of South Barrington and now Chicago residents, they turned to Laz, the founding pastor of Holy Family, who now lives in Florida, for advice and he connected them with Food for the Poor. They have been funding a variety of projects in Haiti since then.
"The Sokulskis have a genuine heart for the poor, and their love for their daughter Julie has only deepened their desire to help to improve the lives of the destitute," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma, who traveled with the Sokulskis to Haiti.
"A new school will be a beautiful gift for the children in the Gressier community for many generations to come."
They also met with families in the developing community in Gressier and toured the proposed site of the new school the Sokulskis are currently raising money to build.
"To come here and physically see what's happening helps to build on the desire to keep it going for as long as possible," said Andy Sokulski.
The Sokulskis will give the school a new name that will be revealed at their annual fundraising dinner Thursday, Sept. 28.
The 12th annual Dreams, Past & Present event will feature a cocktail reception, a silent auction, dinner and the opportunity to help children to achieve an education. Live entertainment and dancing will follow the dinner. For information and tickets, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/dreams.
The not-for-profit, interdenominational, Christian ministry provides a variety of services to the poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. More than 95 percent of all donations go directly to programs that help the poor.
If you goWhat: Dinner to benefit Food For The Poor's school-building program in Gressier, Haiti, with cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a dinner with entertainment by the TVK Orchestra
Hosts: Andrew and Florette Sokulski and the Rev. Medard Laz
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28
Where: The Stonegate Conference & Banquet Centre, 2401 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates
Details: Kyra Poulos, special events operations manager, (888) 404-4248, or www.foodforthepoor.org