Boston-Area Girls Raise Money to Build Home in Honor of Slain Officer

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 30, 2017) Sean Collier's lifelong goal was to help others. In death, the fallen police officer is doing just that for a destitute family in Nicaragua.

Five Wilmington High School girls raised money over the last two years to build a Food For The Poor home in Nicaragua in Collier's name.

Collier, 27, a 2004 graduate of Wilmington High and a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was shot and killed in the line of duty by the Boston Marathon bombers in the days after the April 2013 attack.

Ryan Bailey, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Julia McLaughlin, Sophia Novak and Megan Santry, all sophomores, will present a check to the charity following a noon mass on Sunday, April 2, at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, Mass. Collier's parents and grandparents are scheduled to be at the church.

The girls got the idea to raise money for their confirmation project to build a Food For The Poor home after a speaker for the charity visited their church when they were in eighth grade.

Each weekend, members of Food For The Poor's Speakers Bureau – Catholic and Episcopal priests and Lutheran pastors – travel to churches around the United States, sharing the charity's mission.

"On the way home, we could not stop talking about what we heard," said Kaitlin LeBlanc. "The priest had asked us to consider what would happen if a family in Wilmington did not have enough to eat. He said you know that everyone in town would drop off groceries and offer to help them. He said, 'You have to think of the people in these other countries as your neighbors.'"

Over the next two years, the girls held fundraisers and reached out to family and friends to help them reach their fundraising goal. "We always tried to provide some type of service to earn the money," LeBlanc said. "However, there have been some very generous people from our church who made donations to our project."

LeBlanc said she and her friends decided to dedicate the house in memory of Collier.

"Sean is remembered for always helping others and giving back to the community," LeBlanc said. "We feel a connection because of this and he is a 2004 graduate from Wilmington High School, where we all attend."

Family and friends all describe Collier as a loyal brother, a dutiful son and a doting uncle. He was well liked by his peers and fellow police officers.

And now, thanks to compassionate donors, Luisa, a mother with five children, has a beautiful new home in Nicaragua, and Collier's memory will live on.

"It's nearly impossible to express the joy of a family who has received a home with an indoor bathroom and access to clean water. We are so very thankful to these students for all that they have done for this family in Nicaragua," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "Sean Collier's desire to help others will be demonstrated every day through this home and the promise of a better future it brings for this family."

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054