In this time of pandemic, the health and economic consequences have been devastating all over the world. In Haiti, where we have been facing a socio-political crisis since July 2018, the economic impacts of the pandemic hit us particularly hard, especially combined with the rate of inflation.
At the beginning of May, I started visiting students to assess the impact of the health emergency declared by the government on March 17. I expected to find children who were a little worried or sad that they could not come to school and encourage them to work on their own.
Unfortunately, my observations were different. Family after family spoke of hunger, and I witnessed the effects of that in ways I didn’t want to think about. I was heartbroken. I knew I needed to do more than just counseling. This was an emergency in the lives of these students.
When I left their houses, I told them to pray because God always knows how to provide.
Indeed, within a few days, we had outlined a food assistance program to bring relief to these families.
We shared the need, and you responded to quickly and overwhelmingly meet that need.
When I spoke with some of the parents to tell them help was on the way, they responded, “We are saved.”
I knew in this sense being saved meant being spared the pain of facing hunger in the eyes of their children.
This week I returned to visit some families who had been unaware that extra food assistance was coming to them. I asked a mother and her grade-school daughter what their reaction was when they received groceries at their gate.
Mom replied, “I was so surprised and relieved. I lifted my eyes up to heaven and said, ‘God is great.’ Now my family eats daily.” Her daughter echoed her comments.
I saw a little boy who had been so frail during my visit in May. He looks so much better now, more solid. He has already gained weight.
I shared my comments about his improvement with his mother, and she replied, “Now when he needs food, he finds it.”
I looked at him again, smiling, and thanking God in my heart.
I visited a 10th grader who had just moved in with his sister. After he learned that food assistance would be provided for him, he replied, “It will not only be for me. I will also share with my mother. Though I do not live with her, I know that her situation is not different from mine at the moment.”
In Haiti’s culture of solidarity, your food assistance goes far beyond the families who directly receive it. A family who has received will always seek to help another family they know in need, or that has helped them in the past.
When I got home from my visits, I ended my day confident that God really knows how to provide for us. He touched your hearts to relieve suffering.
To every person who contributed to assist these families in need, on their behalf, and on behalf of the local staff, I say thank you.
THANK YOU. We are overwhelmed by your generosity.
7-9-20: Please take a moment to read this thank you letter from JiHM’s Board Chair.