An ongoing project of the Grand Island Diocesan Council of Catholic Women has been the collection of Best Choice Bar Codes to support clean drinking water. This project began in 2007 when Betty Larson (Arnold) was International Chair and Judy Wagoner (Wood River) was co-chair. The first Check redemption in 2007 was for redemption of 5,000 bar codes and the bonus for $180.00. At that time only a few stores in Grand Island and Kearney carried the Best Choice products.
Fast forward to the present time, Best Choice Wholesale Grocers Inc. purchased Affiliated Foods in 2016 so more stores in the Grand Island Diocese carry Best Choice products. At the 2019 Spring Assembly the ladies trimmed and counted 18,000 bar codes for redemption. With the 13,000 trimmed and counted plus the yearly bonus of $30.00 $960.00 was received, and this for Bar Codes collected since January 1..
When this project began the money was forwarded to CSR (Catholic Relief Services). With other cash donations from individuals, parishes, and Fair-Trade Product sales over $8,530.00 was forwarded.
In 2011 Mission II Haiti came to the attention of the Grand Island Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. This group of volunteers go to North Central Haiti several times a year to work on repair and installation of drinking water wells. Sometimes a well only needs a minor repair of less than $50.00 and other wells need more expensive repair work. A new well may cost as little as $300.00. The decision was made to support this local group in their mission to bring clean safe drinking water for the people of Haiti.
Bob Easton and Roger Hoffman, told about the conditions of the area where they worked and the needs of the children for clothing. With this the ladies of the GIDCCW got out their sewing machines and began making the “Pillowcase dresses” for the little girls. In December 2011 Bob Easton picked up the first suitcase from the GIDCCW filled with 68 dresses.
Since that time many of the ladies all over the diocese have become involved in sewing dresses and shorts for the children of Haiti. Some of the groups have special sewing gatherings and others are being made at home and brought in. The time spent together is a rewarding time for fellowship. The total number is not known because some of the dresses go directly to Kearney, but has an example at the 2019 Spring Assembly 411 dresses, 108 shorts and 10 blankets were collected for delivery. Roger Hoffman stated that over 2,000 dresses & shorts have been distributed this past year to the youth they see in the areas they are working. (Patterns for the dresses can be found on Little Dresses for Africa-Nancy’s Notions. She has a website where you can download the pattern for free.)
With the redemption of the Best Choice Bar Codes in June, along with contributions from parishes and individuals over $28,275.00 has been forwarded to Mission II Haiti for their work in bringing clean, safe water to the people in Haiti.