Ministry in Haiti struggling to recover from Great Recession

(Photo courtesy For Haiti With Love)

(Photo courtesy For Haiti With Love)

Haiti (MNN) — Food insecurity and hunger are chronic issues in Haiti–the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the second most-densely populated.

When things were obviously getting worse, industry wasn’t returning, and there were no jobs developing, it became necessary to start feeding people to keep them alive.

For Haiti With Love has been supporting the poorest of the poor in Cap Haitien for 22 years. Through those two decades, the team developed a food program, medical clinic, construction assistance, and more ways to meet the physical needs that are always present in the area.

Everything is done as a gift from God through His people; every recipient is very aware that they thank God for their help. With each touch point, there’s an opportunity to talk about why people are helping each other, and that always leads to the story of Jesus.

So far, so good, right? The economic collapse of 2008 hurt a lot of non-profit groups and charities because giving fell off. For Haiti With Love continued on. They were careful with what they had, and they managed. However, co-founder Eva DeHart says, “2014 is the first time we’re starting to feel that impact. I guess what other people have been talking about is finally catching up with us.”

(Photo courtesy For Haiti With Love)

(Photo courtesy For Haiti With Love)

Smaller Non-Government Organizations like FHWL can’t absorb big shocks like funding loss. DeHart explains, “We’re down a good 30% in overall giving, and it isn’t because they don’t want to help. It’s because they’re being impacted in this country to the point where they can’t.” That’s a problem since they’re just now getting the Food Program back on its feet. “The Food Program itself tends to be focused on the elderly, the disabled, and the orphans who cannot fend for themselves.”

Donations from Feed My Starving Children dried up. By the end of 2013, DeHart was alarmed by the abundance of space in the warehouse. By the beginning of 2014, she was frantic. “When we don’t keep that program going–and we did (the first of this year) totally run out of food and had to stop the program, people die because they don’t have any other place to turn for food.”

After finally communicating the emergency to Feed My Starving Children, food started to fill the pipeline. Each pallet of food contains 7,128 meals. It was then an issue of getting the food shipped to the docks where it would be sent to Haiti and from Haiti, to the warehouse…all of which costs thousands of dollars…which weren’t coming in. DeHart shared the dilemma with MNN listeners, faithful donors, ministry partners, and really, anyone who would listen and pray.

In this month’s report, she says the ministry received and cleared the first container of food for the year and restarted the food program. They also had extra help, in addition to more than 40,000 pounds of food packets, which enabled them to ship an extra 2,000 pounds of supplies in this month’s container.

That means there were medical supplies for the clinic, clothing for adults and children, as well as hundreds of school uniforms that had been donated. Looking back over an emotionally wrung out winter and spring, DeHart summed up her thoughts on patience and hope by citing a portion of Romans 8:28 in her last missive: “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”