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Coffee house to raise "Hope for Haiti"

SARANAC LAKE - Luke Meissner is used to helping others. Now, he needs the community's help to continue his philanthropy.

On Friday, Jan. 23 the Meissner family and the First Presbyterian Church in Saranac Lake will host the Hope for Haiti Coffee House to help raise funds so that Luke can return to Haiti, where he provides medical services in poverty-ridden communities.

The event kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. and will feature a variety of local and regional musical acts. One Accord will open the evening with inspirational music by Chris Theobald, Kathy Schenk, Ted Banks, Jessica Kinsman, Anna Borden and Chris Woods, followed by recording artists Celia Evans and special guest Bruce Brough.

The Rustic Riders - Lisa and Klaus Meissners' group - will perform tracks from their debut album "Hearing Hearts."

Luke's mother, Lisa, is asking for a free-will, tax-deductible donation at the door, and hopes that event-goers will help her son in his endeavor.

"Luke served as a Navy medic in Iraq for a number of years," she said. "Less than a year from his return from Iraq, he went to provide services to people in Haiti in 2007."

Currently, Luke works at the Adirondack Medical Center. If he can raise enough money, he will return to the cities of Les Cayes and Jacmel, Haiti, in March.

"On his last trip over 400 people received services," added Lisa. "People repeatedly thanked him for coming, saying it gave them 'hope' to know that people cared."

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and the fourth poorest country in the world. A mere 39 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, and on average there is only one doctor per 4,000 citizens.

"The Haitan people struggle to live," said Lisa. "The hurricanes last fall and the current world economy has made a desperate situation worse."

The event is suitable for all ages, and donations are tax-deductible. Those unable to attend the coffee house may send donations to Klaus and Lisa Meissner, 206 Coreys Road, Tupper Lake, NY 12986. Checks should be made payable to the "Haiti Mission Fund."

For more information, call 359-2623.

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