I recently had the opportunity to assist in serving a school-time meal at a primary school we support near Port-au-Prince, called Ecole Communautaire de Cazeau. As you can see from the pictures, the local school committee had an efficient process to prepare and serve the 50+ children in attendance that day. The meal had a real positive impact on the disposition of the children, many of whom likely received their primary meal of the day.
In 2013, the United Nations announced, “6.7 million Haitians face food insecurity.” They report that some 1.5 million people continue to face “severe” or “acute food insecurity.” Stone of Help Ministry is active in confronting the harsh reality of widespread hunger. Hunger is not only an immediate and daily concern, but people cannot reach their full potential and become positive assets in their communities when their bodily needs are not satisfied.
As part of our ongoing support of local communities, churches, and schools, our vision is to provide children with a school-time meal on a daily basis. This facilitates our extended goal of personal transformation through discipleship, education, and health. However, we have learned that we must carefully plan our programs to avoid unintended detrimental effects to these vulnerable communities. Let me give you an example.
The causes of food insecurity in Haiti are varied and complex, to include poverty, high food prices, natural disasters, poor economic opportunities, deforestation, and instability. It may seem counter-intuitive, but large amounts of humanitarian relief, such as what occurred after the 2010 earthquake, can often exasperate the long-term situation. When large amounts of free food are brought in from overseas and dumped on the open market, local Haitian farmers cannot find buyers for their locally grown products. A short-term solution can have long-term impacts and economically destroy families for generations. This same problem exists in the medical field, as well as other services often provided by humanitarian agencies.
While short-term “emergency relief” serves an important role in times of disaster, Stone of Help Ministry is committed to sustainable long-term development. We encourage the local production of crops from which we purchase most extensively. Meals are procured, prepared, and delivered by members of the local Haitian communities and schools.
Stone of Help Ministry is proactive in offering aid and assistance to the life challenges of Haiti’s most vulnerable communities. Will you please consider coming alongside us and our Haitian community leaders? Together we can see God’s kingdom flourish, one life at a time.