Beyond our walls
Since 1999, NYAPC has partnered with First Presbyterian-Reformed Church of Havana, Cuba. The purpose of the relationship is to affirm and build on the unity of the Presbyterian Church under Jesus Christ through a mutual exchange of people, communication, spiritual understanding, Christian education and Bible study, theology, cultural understanding (art, music, theater), financial support, and political understanding.
Our upcoming visit to our partner, First Presbyterian-Reformed Church of Havana, is scheduled for February 19-26, 2024. This marks our second visit since the pandemic began, and now, more than ever, our friends in Cuba need our support. We’re gathering donations to take along on this trip. Find out more about how you can help below.
Cuba Supply Drive
Sadly, our Cuban friends have had a difficult few years. Between the American rollback of diplomatic engagement, infrastructure failings, economic challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the country and its people have suffered hardships worse than have been experienced since the “Special Period” after the Soviets left in the early 1990s. Food and basic goods are difficult to find, and when located, extremely expensive. A recent news article even noted a nationwide milk shortage. Traditionally, Cuba is known throughout the Caribbean and South America for its quality health care. While medical personnel and clinics continue to operate, there are also very limited options for supplies and medicines.
Partner churches across the U.S. have wrestled with the morality of asking the Cubans to host church visitor groups when their day-to-day life is so difficult. We at NYAPC are no different in debating the pros and cons. However, our Cuban partners continue to ask us to visit. It demonstrates we are present with them, even in their hard times. There is also an understanding that the supplies we bring and spending in the community outweigh the challenges of hosting the groups. Visiting in person is also the best way to bring some of the supplies so desperately needed. While shipping is now again permitted between the U.S. and Cuba it is very expensive and takes a long time. Hand-carrying supplies in extra suitcases is also a means to ensure the goods get to the right people.
All trip participants are asked to carry at least one suitcase beyond their own personal luggage. We took 20 suitcases full of supplies in February 2023.
First Havana provides medicine, clothing, vitamins, and more to members of the congregation and local community. All are distributed from the church. This year the biggest needs are powdered milk, toilet paper, and adult diapers. Over-the-counter medicines were approved by the church nurse and will be distributed as needed. The amount of support they provide their members and neighborhood friends is impressive. For more details, please click the “Questions?” button above.
There are a few ways the congregation can get involved! This year we are using MyRegistry to keep things more organized. The link includes multiple options of powdered milk, all the medicines, and some specifically requested dry goods. The list can even be sorted by priority!
If you’d like to purchase outside of MyRegistry, the full list of requests is below. Any donations can be left in the designated drop-off box at the NYAPC front desk.
Donations of empty pill containers are requested. These will be used by First Havana to distribute donated medicines. (Please remove any personal information from the bottles before donating.
Finally, we also need suitcases to help us get all the supplies to Havana. Those can also be left at the NYAPC front desk!
Full List of Supplies
- Adult diapers (multiple sizes)
- Deodorant (men’s and women’s)
- Soap (preferably bars)
- Toilet paper
Medicines and Medical Supplies
Analgesic ear drops
Hyland’s Earache drops
Arnica cream (topical pain cream)
Artificial tear eye drops
Aspirin 325 mg
Aspirin 125 mg
Aspirin 81 mg
Aspirin 81 mg
Athritis analgesic cream (Diclofenaco)
Motrin Arthritis Pain Relief
Bacitracin antibiotic ointment
Cold medicine – daytime
Cold medicine – nighttime
Glucosamine with Chondroitinak (Arthritis supplement)
Guaifenesin mucus/chest relief
Guaifenesin tussin expectorant (cough syrup)
Homeopathic medication (leg cramps, restful legs, calms forte, nerve tonic)
Hydrocortisone cream 1%
Nasal spray (oxymetazoline)
Urinary pain relief