Serve victims of severe poverty by partnering with them and others to alleviate hunger, homelessness, endemic disease and ignorance.
“I was a young man when I first saw people living in appalling garbage dumps in Rosarito, Mexico,” recalls Jesuit Father Don Vettese. “The scene horrified me. Filthy faced children played in rancid sewage. Women with infants tied to their backs searched through rotting garbage looking for scraps to eat. Old people with open sores, and two year-olds with distended stomachs from malnutrition stared-up at me. I remember praying at that time for the means to do something…anything to help them in any way.” In the mid 1990’s, Fr. Don Vettese, S.J. began taking high school students to work at an orphanage in Guatemala City. One day they were detoured and came upon the city garbage dump. Hundreds of people – families, mothers, babies, the old and the infirmed – were scavenging through the trash for food, recyclables, competing with rats, wild pigs, and vultures.
It was then that Father's experience in the dump of Mexico as a young man came back to him. Recalling his prayer at that time and now confronting the questions "If not us, who?" "If not now, when?", Fr. Vettese founded International Samaritan in 1995 with the generous support of a few donors.
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