Born with the spirit of empowering the less fortunate, bestowed with the vision of retired Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris, and blessed with a title that bespeaks its work, Hesed House is a humanitarian organisation in Trinidad.
‘Hesed’ is a Hebrew word which translates to love, mercy, grace and kindness––these known to be “the Lord’s most treasured characteristics”.Hesed House is dedicated to providing assistance to those afflicted by the socioeconomic impacts of poverty, including those who are victims of natural disasters.
Hesed House in Port of Spain was launched by Archbishop Harris in 2016, with his vision that “the T&T organisation can reach parishes and communities with a service that extends to assisting already-established charitable groups or organisations, here and within the Caribbean”.
That, he elaborated, incorporates those who have initiated projects within their local communities and require further assistance to fulfil the needs of their projects. The Archbishop Emeritus has imbued this approach with the even deeper mandate of: “helping people to stand on their own feet”.
In an interview, Archbishop Harris pointed out: “Part of the Church’s life has always been to look after the poor and to help people who are unable to stand on their own feet. People in need are not helped because God waves a magic wand. Nor do they come out of such a state by continuously receiving handouts.”
The Archbishop made the additional resounding point that “at Hesed House, we are fully ecumenical in our philosophy of service”. He stated that he and his team are convinced that despite one’s deprived situation, there is usually a skill set, gift, talent and that once identified can be used to earn an income and better their lives albeit incrementally.
He disclosed that Hesed House is currently initiating projects which will be based on this conviction about self-empowerment.
As to assistance in the wake of natural disasters, when T&T was hit by severe flooding last October, Hesed House was able to approach organisations internationally for a response that secured a range of supplies—foodstuff and much-needed appliances. This was followed with the donation to the Ministry of Health of a 40-foot container filled with a number of vital medications.
Archbishop Harris disclosed that in addition to treating emergencies, Hesed House is partnering with an organisation to begin constructing three homes in the Mayaro/Manzanilla cluster and in the Santa Cruz/Bourg Mulatresse/Maracas Bay cluster in 2019.
Also launched this year is a special working initiative with the HIV Clinic at Queen’s Park East, with plans to make a significant contribution to the best possible remedial responses to this medical and social challenge.
Located in Woodbrook, Hesed House T&T is managed by a tightly run team who is committed to actualising Archbishop Harris’ vision by way of administrative professionalism and efficiency. The Archbishop Emeritus pointed out that the House’s personnel work at ensuring people get appropriate help by conducting needs’ assessments on a case-by-case basis before supplies are distributed.
As to the contributing public, the Archbishop warmly invites donations which can be made via the website www.hesedhousett.org.
Further weekly updates can also be found on the Facebook page for Hesed House. – Hesed House