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Huntington Beach teen starts a clothing drive for Hondurans, many of whom live in rural poverty

BY ADA TSENG | ASSISTANT EDITOR, UTILITY JOURNALISM

JAN. 13, 2020 6:13 PM PT

Sofia Greenberg, a 13-year-old student at Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic School in Huntington Beach, started a schoolwide clothing drive for people in need in Honduras, where her paternal grandparents grew up.

On a week day leading up to Christmas break, the fifth-through-eighth graders of Sts.

Simon & Jude Catholic School in Huntington Beach spent their religion period

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organizing and folding 70 garbage bags full of donated clothing and shoes.


Long tables lined the gymnasium, and the students sorted the apparel by size, type and

gender before vacuum sealing them in plastic bags. Each class did as much as they

could.


The school has many service projects, but this one is unique. The clothing drive for

Honduras started last school year when then-seventh-grader Sofia Greenberg sent a

proposal to Principal Colette O’Bannion.


Students at Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic School fold and sort clothes to be vacuum-sealed into plastic bags and shipped to Honduran families in need. (Ada Tseng)

For years, Sofia saw her father, Allan Greenberg, go on an annual 10-day medical

mission trip to Olanchito, Honduras.


Greenberg, the Los Angeles-area representative for medical device company Medtronic,

co-founded a non-profit, World Health Access Team, with Bakersfield surgeon Dr. Hao


Bui in 2015. The organization provides vascular and venous care to under-served

communities around the world.


The two had done work together in Vietnam, and Bui encouraged Greenberg to go with

him to Honduras to do ulcer repair — “They get these huge gaping wounds in their lower

legs and feet, and it’s terrible and painful,” explains Greenberg — because Greenberg’s

family is from Honduras.


Allan’s mother is from San Pedro Sula, and his dad is from Puerto Cortés. Both of

Jewish descent, they met after immigrating to New York, where Allan was born, and

when Allan was a kid, he and his mother would go back to Honduras for months at a

time, when his military father was deployed.


Sofia, now 13, who hopes to become a surgeon, wanted to go with her father on the

mission trip, but Allan told her she had to earn it.


“I wanted Sofia to have a stake in it,” says Allan. “If you just show up, and you don’t

know what you did to get there, it doesn’t mean as much.”

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1 Comment


Linh Vuong
Linh Vuong
Jun 11, 2023

Dr. Hao Bui is a vein specialist that has been coming to Honduras with the Hackett Hemwall Patterson Foundation (HHPF) since 2012. Allen Greenberg volunteers in the HHPF service-learning trips since 2014 and brings donated vein care supplies from Medtronics for the mission. We appreciate their dedication and support to help alleviate suffering in underserved communities. Thank you, Sophia, and students at Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic School for your compassionate efforts. You are an inspiration!

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