SPRINGDALE, NL - Judy Hamilton is returning to Springdale this week from the Dominican Republic for the third time.
The local public librarian is a significant contributor to the United for Kids Foundation, an organization Springdale couple Sherry and Roy Clarke began in 2010 to help better the lives of children in the Dominican Republic.
She planned to visit Benjamin's Library - the room housed in the United for Kids Foundation's school in the Dominican Republic that she and her husband Greg opened in 2014 in memory of their nephew, Benjamin Wellman. She also planned to spend time with her 10-year-old sponsor child Ronelly during her 10 days in the poverty-stricken area of Puerto Plata.
Sherry Clarke and her sister in-law Kay Clarke had already been in the Dominican Republic, and Hamilton met up with them after she arrived.
They planned to have a parasite clinic for children in the area. She also hoped to purchase school supplies while there, something she is able to do because of fundraising efforts such as an annual walkathon organized by senior Ken Rice.
For the third straight year, she also accepted Halloween treats locally to bring to the children. It is an effort that has picked up momentum, and she was blown away by the amount of candy donated this year.
"Our children here pretty well get candy every single day," Hamilton said. "There, this is a very special treat for them."
She received so much candy, she hoped to keep some for a subsequent trip to the Dominica Republic or share with children in Haiti through the Hands Across the Sea foundation operated by another Springdale native, Karen Huxter.
During her two previous trips, Hamilton stayed on a resort. This time she stayed in the village Rio San Juan. She was looking forward to that experience.
"Anybody with a heart staying at a resort would have a hard time being around all the food that is there when they have to go out to deliver food and supplies to people with basically nothing," she said.
Since Hamilton has been helping the United for Kids Foundation, she said she has adopted a motto of "it is all about the children." She believes they are able to slowly make a difference in the Dominican Republic through education. Someday she hopes their work will help stop the cycle of poverty that exists.