Operation Starfish® is a simple program that is designed to let families more fully engage in both the opportunity for spiritual reflection and the chance to make daily sacrifices that benefit those who are suffering. The program encourages families to put 50 cents or more each day into their Operation Starfish® collection box to help the poor.
The story of Operation Starfish® began in 1998 with a late evening stroll by a man and his dog. Father Dick Martin, pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Burke, Virginia, and his pooch, “Pete,” were walking one night. Fr. Martin was wrestling with ideas for programs that would allow families to contribute a little and turn it into a lot.
Fr. Martin couldn’t believe the numbers when he calculated them: 2,500 families saving just 50 cents a day for the 40 days of Lent could donate $50,000 to make a difference in the lives of the poor.
This simple program of sacrifice was far more successful than Fr. Martin predicted. The parish family at the Church of the Nativity raised nearly $67,000. They decided to use the funds to build 27 simple houses in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, working through Food For The Poor. The name, Operation Starfish®, came in the second year based on the writing of Loren Eiseley.