By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
One of the best auctions and benefits in the area returns as the 14th annual Haiti Benefit Supper and Auction is set for this weekend at Dinky Auction Center.
Starting on Thursday, the annual fundraiser to help the impoverished nation kicks off with the a capella gospel sing with Hatian rice and beans supper at 5:30 p.m. Dessert will also be offered and presentations will be made on missions to Haiti, including Blue Ridge International for Christ and International Faith Mission.
At 4 p.m. Saturday, the auction starts at Dinky¹s with about 20 quilts up for sale. There will also be comforters, baby quilts, indoor and outdoor furniture, crafts and more up for auction.
The dinner will start at 3 p.m. and includes grilled chicken and sausage, scalloped potatoes, green beans and slaw. Serving stops at 7 p.m. and a bake sale will be available.
Both Thursday's and Saturday's dinner will accept freewill offerings.
Two missions will be helped this year by the Haiti benefit, Blue Ridge and International Faith Mission. Blue Ridge offers several services on its mission. The organization sponsors 1,000 children, teachers and school directors. They also feed those children at least one meal a day, in addition to sponsoring churches and pastor training.
Recently, according to Dale Wagler, a mission crew went down to the island and built several 12 ft. by 16 ft. homes made out of plywood. Wagler said it takes about $1,500 to construct a house.
Blue Ridge also digs water wells for villages in Haiti. The mission dug 110 wells in 2012 and Wagler said 80 percent were successful.
One of the success stories came in July 2012 when the drilling crew hit an artesian well.
"Usually, it is a struggle to get good water, but this time as the drill bit was going into the soil, water came gushing out," Wagler said. "They had a tough time getting the well casing in." Blue Ridge also supports an outreach mission in the Dominican Republic.
International Faith Mission operates a clinic in Haiti, where 80 to 100 patients are seen each day. The mission also operates a school where 500 children receive a basic education and train pastors and teachers.
Although Haiti is recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake that left thousands homeless, the island nation still struggles with poverty.
It is still considered one of the poorest nations on Earth, according to UNICEF.