By Meg Olson
Picking up a beach bag at the Point Roberts Shell Center will help support a family in Roatan.
Today Chuck and Tia Laird manage the Point Roberts Shell Center, but 10 years ago they started the Calvary Chapel Roatan in Honduras and a key component of their ministry was helping their neighbors in “colonias” that are home to many poor Honduran mainlanders, drawn to the island in search of work.
“People flooded in the doors in hopes there might be help for them there,” said Shell Center co-owner Lynne Vick. Through the church, volunteers from the U.S. and Canada helped to rebuild homes, sponsor children in school and ensure clean drinking water.
The church also developed programs to help boost the earnings of local families. “The sewing ministry was to teach people to make something useful to sell to tourists,” Chuck Laird said.
Today, he said, members of the local congregation run the church. They have added a gift shop and café where they sell bags, pillow covers, bookmarks and other items created through the sewing program.
Vick sends the fabric used in the program to Roatan, and the products they create are also for sale at the Shell Center, as are the stories of some of the women who create them. “One hundred percent of the money is returned to them and to the sewing ministry,” Chuck Laird said.