As the U.S. Reagan administration escalated military aid to Nicaragua’s Contra rebels in the 1980’s, national Quest organizer, Bill Callahan, decided to take action. He vowed to match U.S. military spending—dollar-for-dollar—with humanitarian aid to Nicaragua’s poorest citizens.
When President Reagan declared an embargo on Nicaragua, Callahan put out an urgent call to peace and justice to organizations across the country.
In Connecticut, Rose Marie Gorman, chair of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, spread word to leaders in her community about the plight of the Nicaraguan people.
Kathleen Deignan and Gina Sader-Rubenstein responded immediately, collecting and shipping clothes, dried food, seeds, tools, school supplies and other essential aid to Nicaragua.
Soon after, two couples—Randy and Linda Klein and Gail Faithfull and her husband Leo McDonnell—took over organizational responsibility for an independent Connecticut-based Quest initiative.
They dubbed the organization Connecticut Quest for Peace (CT Quest) to differentiate the program from its Washington-based sister.
In 1995 the Bridie Fund enabled CT Quest to begin sustained funding to a number of community-based educational, food and healthcare programs in Nicaragua.
Since then, CT Quest has diversified and expanded its aid programs to Nicaraguan families and shipped more than $8 million in humanitarian aid to needy Nicaraguan communities.