A group of local Irish Americans are gathering again this year to host an afternoon of Irish music, dance, and silent auction in April to raise funds to help orphans in the Carribean, Mexico, and Central and South America.
“Irish Hearts for Orphans” is chaired by Winnie Henry of Milton and Pat “Doc” Walsh of Dorchester, and 2017 will be the group’s eighth annual event.
Henry told the Reporter that a committee is now being assembled to plan the Sunday afternoon event, now set for the Quincy Marriott on Palm Sunday April 9, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. She said she welcomes volunteers to join the committee, and will seek local businesses to donate goods and services for the silent auction. She asked interested persons to contact her by phone at 617-842-5506.
The now-annual event was first conceived in 2010 to provide assistance to children left orphaned in the aftermath of the January earthquake that year in Haiti. That first Irish auction and dance drew more than 700 persons and raised some $50,000 for Haitian orphanages.
In subsequent years, the event became focused to assist a charitable foundation, NPH USA, to support Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH is Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”), which is raising more than 3,400 orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged boys and girls in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
An additional 2,300 children who live outside the homes receive scholarships, meals and healthcare. NPH community outreach programs provided over 99,000 services in calendar year 2015.
In past years, “Irish Hearts” has also benefited the Saint Rock Haiti Foundation, a charity that draws support from parishioners at St. Agatha’s Parish in Milton.
Several Irish bands will provide entertainment, Henry said, with commitments already received from Erin’s Melody, and Noel Henry’s Irish Showband. The event will also feature Irish step dancing and a silent auction and raffle prizes.
– ED FORRY