BELLE GLADE — Two members of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Commandery of the Palm Beaches (SOSJ), made a dream come true for the First Haitian Baptist Church Children and Youth Development Center in Belle Glade.
SOSJ member and Ocean Ridge resident Candace Tamposi secured a grant from the Cathleen McFarlane Foundation Inc. to procure a 15-passenger van used to pick up and deliver children to the church’s development center. The bus previously used was unrepairable. Denis P. Coleman, director of the Cathleen McFarlane Foundation, visited the center this past fall and understood this critical need.
After procuring the van, SOSJ member and Delray Beach resident Marie Ryan, an employee of Grieco Mazda, spoke to Michael Grieco Jr., CEO of Grieco Automotive Group, who found and completely refurbished the van.
SOSJ has designated the building of a new multi-purpose development center for the Haitian Baptist Church as its philanthropic project. The center offers a hot meal, aid with homework and a safe environment for children ages kindergarten through eighth grade.
Pastor Morales St. Hilaire, from the First Haitian Baptist Church of Belle Glade, said, “It is a dream come true for us.” He added, “We are so blessed to have a community that understands need and helps a neighboring community.”