Promoting community growth through self-help development


2007 News Release

Rotary Homes of Hope project volunteers are planning a return trip to Ecuador this year to help achieve the fundamental goals of health and home for the residents of a tiny village in San Pablo.


The project began in 2001 when Rotary Homes of Hope Chairman and Founder Doug Merritt traveled to Ecuador to build homes for the inhabitants of Guayaquil who were displaced after the El Niño storms of the late 1990s. Doug was so moved by what he experienced in Guayaquil that he made a personal commitment to help the villagers attain a better life.


Members of New Jersey Rotary District 7510 have banded together to help the impoverished villagers of San Pablo. To date, project volunteers and villagers have built 44 homes, a community center, and a day care center. Working in partnership with a number of organizations in Ecuador such as the Rotary Club of Rio Guayas and Hogar de Cristo, volunteers have accomplished many projects that have brought hope for a better future to some of the world’s poorest people.


In addition to construction projects, healthcare services are also provided during the annual mission. Under the leadership of Bridgewater, New Jersey, physician Glenn Friedman, more than 1000 men, women, and children from the village and surrounding communities were provided health and medical care during the last 10-day visit in 2006.


In late June 2007, the Rotary Homes of Hope volunteers will return to the village and concentrate their efforts on providing the village with clean water. Currently, there is no running water—2 large garbage pails are filled weekly with water for each of the village’s 44 homes. Additionally, the volunteers will be erecting a fence around the village so that inhabitants can keep wild animals from destroying their crops.


Another major project is called Sponsor Me, a program that will allow the children of San Pablo to receive a healthy breakfast. Prior to instituting the Sponsor Me program in 2006, the children’s morning meal consisted of brown sugar and water. The Sponsor Me program will ensure that every one of the 85 children in the village will be given a healthy breakfast during the school year. The program also will provide clothes and shoes for school, school supplies, 2 doctor visits, 2 dental visits, and paid tuition to the local school.

For the Rotary Homes of Hope project to be successful, financial contributions are needed. A contribution of $420 provides for 1 child in the Sponsor Me program. Donations of $500, $1,000, and $3,000 will provide fencing materials, housing, and supplies needed to furnish the village with clean, running water. Donations may also support future projects, including construction of a new elementary school. All money raised for the project goes directly toward benefiting the village; volunteers cover their own travel and personal expenses.


Several area Rotary Clubs of New Jersey District 7510 will participate in the trip to Ecuador this year, including volunteers from Lambertville/New Hope, Flemington, Whitehouse, Clinton, Branchburg, Edison, and South Amboy/Sayreville.


If you are a medical professional and would like to learn more about volunteering for the mission, call Doug Merritt at 908.722.3380. If you would like to make a donation toward the Sponsor Me program or a general donation, you can send your contribution to Branchburg Rotary Club, PO Box 5135, North Branch, NJ 08876. Please make your check out to Branchburg Rotary Foundation (a 501[c][3] nonprofit organization) and indicate that your donation is for the Rotary Homes of Hope project. Your donation is tax-deductible and will go to a very good cause.


We are changing lives for the better, and we encourage you to join us in continuing this mission. Nothing is ever achieved that stays a dream.