Jyr-Geng Wu, Vice Counselor, Richard Wen-Jiann Ku, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Haiti, Mario Nicoleau, Executive Director of Food For The Poor-Haiti and Ken Michel, FFTP-Haiti’s Chief Operating Officer, stand after an agreement was signed on Friday, renewing Taiwan’s longstanding pledge to provide lifesaving rice to Haiti. Photo/Food For The Poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2024) – Food For The Poor (FFTP) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) are once again demonstrating their longstanding commitment to provide lifesaving rice to Haiti.

Jazz in the Gardens 2024
Jazz in the Gardens 2024

Food For The Poor-Haiti will receive more than 400 tractor-trailer loads of lifesaving rice from the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 2024, with the first shipment of 40 containers in February and additional shipments continuing each month through December.

The 8,240 metric tons of rice follows generous gifts of rice provided each year by Taiwan.

On Friday, Mario Nicoleau, Executive Director of FFTP-Haiti, and Richard Wen-Jiann Ku, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Haiti, signed an agreement spelling out the details of the shipments at the charity’s Port-au-Prince office. Also present were Jyr-Geng Wu, Vice Counselor, and Bao-neng Lee, First Secretary.

FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine, who signed the agreement in advance, and EVP/Chief Operating Officer Mark Khouri participated in the ceremony via video conference from the charity’s Coconut Creek headquarters.

Nicoleau said the rice is coming at a critical time in Haiti, where 44 percent of the population is facing severe food insecurity and needs immediate assistance.

“Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, said, ‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity,’” Nicoleau said. “A special thanks to the Taiwanese people who have not only expressed their friendship towards the Haitian people but, more importantly, their brotherhood in these difficult times. Long live this brotherhood between Taiwan and Haiti.”

Since 2007, the partnership with the Taiwanese government has provided FFTP with the opportunity to feed thousands of families and meet its mission to help children and families living in poverty.

Ambassador Richard Wen-Jiann Ku said Taiwan is committed to deepening its partnership with FFTP, contributing to improving the daily lives of the most deprived Haitians.

“I would like to commend the hard work of the leadership team of Food For The Poor-Haiti, who spared no effort in carrying out their humanitarian mission and providing aid to the most needy families, allowing Taiwanese assistance to reach the hands of the most deprived,” the ambassador said. “We are reassured to see that the greater the challenge, the more Food For The Poor lives up to expectations.”

Haiti has been grappling with a severe hunger crisis, exacerbated by ongoing civil unrest and political instability. The situation has left millions of Haitians without access to basic necessities, including food. In response, FFTP has been working tirelessly to provide emergency relief and sustainable solutions to those in need.

In 2023, the rice donation from Taiwan enabled FFTP-Haiti to serve 820 schools, 5,414 people displaced by gang violence, and 12,000 inmates in the country’s prisons. In addition, the rice benefited vulnerable children in 112 orphanages and families in 798 parishes and 61 congregations in the most remote and violence-prone areas of Haiti.

Raine said he is looking forward to traveling to Taiwan later this year to express his thanks in person.

“I want to underscore the importance of this extraordinary partnership and the value of the rice donation that is given to Haiti that keeps so many millions of people alive,” Raine said. “We are just extremely blessed and fortunate to be able to count on the people of Taiwan for this extraordinary generosity.”

Khouri said the Republic of China (Taiwan) has donated more than 70,000 tons of rice to FFTP over the last 18 years.

“That is an astronomical number that Food For The Poor and the people of Haiti have been blessed to have received,” Khouri said. “With all that is happening in Haiti, this is so vitally important to us and the people of Haiti. It is saving lives.”

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit foodforthepoor.org.


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