St. Christopher Parish Makes a Difference in Nicaragua

May 20, 2012 Updated May 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

May 20, 2012 Updated May 20, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW-TV) - A parish in Tonawanda is making a big difference in one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. St. Christopher parish traveled to Nicaragua back in February servicing the needs of roughly 500 people distributing eyeglasses to many who are dealing with two prevalent eye conditions. Along with the eye glasses the volunteers bring clothes, food and care with them to a country that needs so much.

"To see the face of people, children who are so hungry that they have no affect to their face they just kind of stare at you," said Jim Carlins, St. Christopher Mission Nicaragua Project. "It's noon time and children at that hour are full of energy and spunk and they're grateful for a meal that they received because they haven't eaten in two days."

The trip is also a cultural experience for the men and women that travel down from Western New York.

"Every person has said to a person i'll never be the same person again," said Sister Mary Laura, Sister of Mary of Namur.

It's an emotion that makes us thankful for the country in which we live, work and play. A country full of resource, an over abundance of food and full of promise. A far cry from the world in Nicaragua.

"Even our poorest people have so much more than the people there," said Laura. "it's a call for us to simplify our lives."

But slowly with the products, resources, support and care from Western New York the residents of Nicaragua are building an economy.

"They've built recreation facilities for the town, they've expanded the church, they've done so much for the entire community and its all based on the offshoot and domino effect from the things that are sent of WNY," said Carlins.

The parish is looking to make another visit to Nicaragua in January or February of 2013.