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Club donates money, time to orphanages

Emily Schrank | Thursday, April 7, 2011

As many Notre Dame student clubs begin to wind down their activities for the year, the Notre Dame branch of Friends of the Orphans (FOTO) still has big plans.

FOTO is a student group that raises funds and awareness for Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) orphanages. Consistent with the orphanage group’s name, which translates to “our little brothers and sisters,” the orphanages provide homes for more than 3,600 children at nine facilities.

Sophomore Erin Wright, FOTO’s 2011-2012 president, said the club is sponsoring a 24-hour fast for Haiti on April 19.

“Students who sign up for the fast pledge to abstain from food, or if they cannot commit to food, something like their phones or computers for the day,” she said. “They are asked to contact friends and families to support them through donations and prayers.”

Wright said the club is also planning a “Henna for Honduras” fundraiser on April 27 in LaFortune Hall, where donors can receive a henna tattoo and have an opportunity to learn more about FOTO and NPH.

Although the group focuses its work overseas, students can still make a difference here in South Bend, Wright said.

“While our club does sponsor trips to Honduras during school breaks, the majority of our members are involved on campus,” she said. “Through meetings, fundraisers and general awareness events, we all work together to raise funds and foster compassion for the children of NPH.”

Current FOTO president Michael Daly said individual students, residence halls and many athletic teams have acted as “godparents” by sponsoring a child at one of the NPH orphanage locations this year.

“As a godparent, you play an essential role in the lives of NPH children by providing for a child’s basic needs and hope for the future,” he said. “Union of prayer with and for the pequeños at NPH is a wonderful and supernatural way to connect in solidarity and, on a spiritual realm, radiate our relationship of love and support.”

Some members of FOTO will make a visit to the NPH Honduras home during the last week of May, Daly said.

“It’s an opportunity for sponsors to experience their labor of love and solidarity in action, making the world a more healing place,” he said.