Deacon Anita Thorstad was the prime mover in the early days of what is now South Florida Haiti Project. In the early 2000’s, Deacon Anita, a member of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, Florida, was working with the charitable organization Food for the Poor in Coconut Creek, establishing relationships with organizations to support mission work in places like Haiti.
The Rev. George Price, rector at St. Gregory’s at the time, expressed interest in Deacon Anita’s work and participated in a few trips to Haiti. In 2002, Deacon Anita facilitated a visit by The Rev. Pierre Auguste to St. Gregory’s. Fr. August was the rector of St. Mark’s parish in Jeannette, a community near Bondeau (St. Mark’s is supported by the Milwaukee Haiti Project). That visit sparked the beginning of a relationship between St. Gregory’s and the community of Bondeau, Haiti.
Deacon Anita approached Fr. Price about establishing a Haiti ministry at St. Gregory’s, and the Haiti Committee was born. In early 2002, Deacon Anita’s husband Bill began a battle with cancer, taking Deacon Anita out of the Haiti activity. Deacon Anita reengaged with the work in 2006, and she organized and led many mission trips to Jeannette and Bondeau. She also built a significant donor base at St. Gregory’s to support the Haiti Committee. In 2010, the Haiti Committee at St. Gregory’s was transformed into South Florida Haiti Project and many other partners joined the work.
Deacon Anita continues to provide significant leadership within South Florida Haiti Project. She resides approximately half the year in Bondeau, caring for the young people at Kay Timoun, helping the local community, and overseeing projects launched by South Florida Haiti Project. She is a dynamic, engaging leader with deep passion for the people of Bondeau. We thank her for many years of service and look forward to many more!