Our History

The first day we stopped...and changed a life.

It’s been over twenty years ago now. Father Don Vettese was leading a group of high school students on a mission trip when their car was diverted because of a terrible car accident up ahead. It had been a tiring, but inspiring day working in an orphanage in a nearby Guatemalan community. Instead of their normal route through the city, the driver took them on a less-traveled road into the city garbage dump. As they approached, they expected to see garbage. But what they saw struck them all with disbelief. They saw people, hundreds, thousands scavenging. They had to stop. They had to help. That was the day International Samaritan was born. Today, International Samaritan is one of the only organizations that focuses its efforts on saving the lives of people in garbage dump communities worldwide. It is also the only organization that guides these impoverished people fully, along the pathway from despair to dignity.