A charitable foundation based in New York City whose missions include helping the homeless there while also helping orphans in the African nation of Ghana is hoping to receive a funding boost from an estate sale planned for Friday and Sunday in Hot Springs.
The primary mission of the Blessed Are Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is "to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while providing support, including hygiene, food, clothing, and a community center, to the homeless in NYC and soon across all of the United States, including Hot Springs," Joseph Macchietto, the foundation's interim director, said.
The "brand new" organization has also been "vetted and approved" by the U.S. State Department to provide financial support "to the dramatically growing orphan population in Ghana" and soon all of West Africa.
On Nov. 2, Macchietto's uncle, George Terral, of Hot Springs, died, following the death of his wife, Shirley, in 2020, and the couple's children, Macchietto's cousins, are donating all the items from Terral's house and property for an estate sale with 100% of the funds raised going to the Blessed Are Foundation in memory of their parents, Macchietto said.
"I live in Manhattan, but spend a lot of time in Hot Springs with my father, John, who has worked as a volunteer for over 35 years in various Hot Springs organizations which help homeless people," he said.
"I was blessed to pray with and meet folks where my uncle was in rehab at Pines Nursing Home before he passed," Macchietto said.
"I'd always been close with my aunt and uncle, but during this trip I was able to reconnect with my cousins" who were here and those who came for Terral's funeral.
"I was humbled and not expecting the generous offer that I could run the estate sale and keep the proceeds since they all left Hot Springs," he said.
"I only accepted if the proceeds would go to the Blessed Are Foundation, and they all quickly agreed after discovering more about it and its work."
Macchietto said Terral, a union electrician, was "an amazing man and provider for his family" who was "strong and independent, even in the end when he was clearly in pain. If in a moment of private pain he suspected someone was watching him, he'd put on a smile. They don't make them like George anymore."
Macchietto said he was inspired to create the foundation after ministering and holding prayer meetings with homeless in New York City during the pandemic.
"It became clear that lack of hygiene is one of the main problems homeless face and they were left to fend for themselves more than usual as a result of the COVID response," he said, noting homeless in Hot Springs have "shared this same concern with me."
The foundation's plan is to create a "drug-free and hope-filled community center" offering showers, laundry and Christian literature and training, first in NYC and then elsewhere in the United States, including Hot Springs.
"Homeless are in all communities. They are our friends and our neighbors, so let's help them to be clean and dignified with hope for a new beginning," he said.
The foundation is also working in Ghana with a goal to provide "Christian education, food, housing, clothing and medical support ... and eventually introduce the orphans to qualified loving families and forever homes," Macchietto said.
He was inspired to help the orphans after meeting Dennis Otu, the assistant chief of respiratory therapy at a VA hospital in NYC who runs a prayer group helping them, he said.
"After praying with Dennis and later verifying the legitimacy of the cause I was able to get the Blessed Are Foundation U.S. State Department approval, which was no easy task, to help this international cause," he said.
The estate sale will be held Friday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the property at 155 Deerfield Trail in Pearcy, which is just a few miles west of Hot Springs, off Airport Road to Brunswick Drive and then onto Deerfield.
Items for sale include a refrigerator, mirrors, couch, desks, chairs, curio cabinets, end tables, a bedroom set, tools, garden statues and fountains, grills, lawn furniture, Christmas decorations, cooking and dishware and other items.
For more information on the sale, call 501-282-1916, or visit https://blessedare.org/ for more information on the foundation.