Buy barbecue, help build Honduran school

Published 9:50 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

Former West End Baptist Church member H.R. Gray, in plaid shirt, stands with children from the Honduran village of La Ruda. West End is raising $8,000 to construct a school building.

The members of West End Baptist Church are dedicated to making a difference in Central America.

The church is helping to raise money to build a school for 36 children in the town of La Ruda, Honduras. A former church member, H.R. Gray, moved to Honduras following his retirement and has been ministering to the locals there. One year, he even brought several of the older village children to visit Suffolk.

The church is holding a barbecue sale on April 29 as its first fundraiser for the school project.

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“We’re excited about it,” said Frances Carr, a West End member. “We want people to come and support this school.”

La Ruda is in a mountainous region of the country that is difficult to access, Carr said. When the monsoon season comes, the road is passable only by foot or horse.

Gray contacted his home church family to say that a school could be built for $8,000. The project got the green light when a local man, Miguel, who has eight children himself, donated land for the school.

The school is being built all by hand. Men have cleared the land with hand tools and searched for rocks for the foundation. A dump truck loaded with sand for the project couldn’t get to the village, so the local people have brought the load in handcarts. Children have come out of their homes to watch the workers construct the building.

“They want a school,” West End member Cheryl Taylor said.

A teacher already has been hired for the village. She was so anxious to get started that she has been teaching 25 of the pupils in an 8-by-12 home with a dirt floor, Carr said.

“There are 36 children in Honduras who don’t have access to education,” said Cindy Robinson, another West End member. “Without education, they’re committed to a future of poverty. This is doing God’s work, and we’re excited about that.”

The barbecue dinners for sale will be prepared by church member Tommy Queen, whom Carr described as a “master chef.” It will be home-smoked and come with a special sauce.

Dinners will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the church, 501 W. Washington St. The food is eat in or take out, and delivery is available for orders of three or more plates. Each ticket is $8. Call 539-8771 for tickets or more information.