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International Samaritan

Cause Area

  • Children & Youth
  • Education & Literacy
  • Homeless & Housing
  • Hunger
  • International


803 N Main StAnn Arbor, MI 48104 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

We serve victims of severe poverty by partnering with them and others to alleviate hunger, homelessness, endemic disease, and ignorance.


The scene was nightmarish. Hundreds of people - families, the infirm, and even small children - searching through Guatemala’s city garbage dump for food to eat and recyclables to sell. Dwellings made of nothing more than cardboard and tin.

"There were pigs and vultures competing with the people for rotting food," said Jesuit Father Don Vettese. "It was hot, humid, smelly. This was not part of our game plan."

Father Vettese was leading a group of students on a service trip to Guatemala when their van came upon a car accident and was detoured. Traffic brought the van to a halt at the 750-acre Guatemala city dump. The students could not comprehend what they were seeing and asked Father Vettese if there was anything that could be done. Later that year, 1995, International Samaritan (I.S.) was founded.

While it has grown since 1995, its mission has remained the same: to alleviate poverty in garbage dump communities across the globe and raise consciousness in the United States about the living conditions of the poor in the developing world.


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