According to MLJ Adoptions, the 2010 earthquake almost doubled the number of orphans in Haiti from 380,000 to more than 750,000.
And when hurricane Matthew tore through the island this past October, it left more devastation in its wake. With hundreds of thousands of children in need of food, one of the many organizations stepping in to help is A Child’s Hope International.
“After Hurricane Matthew crippled the island this past fall, we shipped 20 tons of Hope Boxes to help,” said Larry Bergeron, ACHI co-founder and executive director. “So far, over 25 million high protein meals have been produced by volunteers since we started.”
Patterson Park Church in Beavercreek is lending a helping hand — actually many helping hands — to pack food boxes on Saturday, April 1. The church have 250 volunteers signed up to organize the food packets for Haitian orphans. They still need about 125 more volunteers as their goal is to pack enough for 100,000 to 130,000 meals.
“This will be an all-day event, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; we will be turning our gym into a giant processing center. We need lots of hands to accomplish this,” said PPC member/volunteer Patricia Turner. “This is the first time Patterson Park Church has taken on a huge humanitarian effort like this. We chose to work with A Child’s Hope International, because they are a great operation that works.”
The church has spent several months raising money to pay for these packaged meals, and many more. The goal was $30,000, but over $40,000 has been raised through a portion of the annual Christmas mission offering, plus the children’s ministry collecting $1,800 in quarters. Also $2,000 was raised with Family Devotion meal packets, and $4,100 for an Italian Feast event this past Feb. 26.
“The people of PPC realize all that they have really belongs to God. They are good stewards with their time, gifts and resources, and as a result they use all that they have for the glory of God,” said children’s pastor David Boucher. “God has blessed us for the purpose of blessing others, and that is why we are involved with this project.”
Each Hope Box contains 36 high-protein food packets, enough for 216 individual meals, and enough water purifiers for 100 gallons of water. Also, several pamphlets of inspirational stories are included in each box. Each loaded box weighs 35 pounds.
“A Child’s Hope International is providing high protein food, clean drinking water and life supplies to 10,000 orphans and vulnerable children a day, every day of the year,” said Bergeron. “The USAF partners with us at least once a year to deliver 40 tons of Hope Boxes to Haiti, which is wonderful. These are delivered to several mission centers on the island.”
Bergeron said a donation of $40,000 will supply over 740 Hope Boxes that contain almost 160,000 high-protein meals. There would be enough water purifiers for 74,000 gallons of water.
“When your life is blank and dismal you think nobody cares about you,” said Bergeron. “These children are so severely malnourished. The ingredients are high quality, with added nutrients. We want to provide food and inspiration.”
Volunteers can register for 2.5 hour shifts: 9:30 a.m. to noon, or 12:30 to 3 p.m. To donate or register for this PPC Hands Against Hunger Family Service Project, visit www.pattersonpark.org and click on the “Missions” banner.
Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.