COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2024) – As Food For The Poor (FFTP) commemorates the 14th anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, the charity remains steadfast in its commitment to the country and its citizens, providing lifesaving aid and support in an increasingly challenging environment.
The promise of an international police force to help restore security is the catalyst that could open the door to a massive response by FFTP.
The charity is poised to respond on two fronts: meeting the immediate humanitarian needs for aid and delivering on a much bigger campaign focused on Haiti’s long-term recovery.
“We know this crisis needs to be addressed on a much grander scale,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “Our position has always been that we cannot give up on Haiti or its citizens. The work to bring stability to Haiti and lift its people out of poverty is ongoing, and we are enormously grateful that our donors continue to embrace our mission.”
Working in Haiti for 38 years, FFTP is uniquely positioned to get work done as the country faces some of the most severe economic challenges it has ever experienced, Raine said.
FFTP maintains a staff of nearly 400 people from Haiti and two warehouses. From there, the charity supports 13 distribution centers through the churches and 3,800 distribution endpoints.
Because of its history of working in Haiti, FFTP was in place to provide immediate and ongoing assistance when the catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, at 4:53 p.m. A reported 250,000 people died, including four students and two faculty advisors from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., who were on a Journey of Hope mission with FFTP. An estimated 1.3 million were left homeless.
In the last four years, Haiti has struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the assassination of its president, civil unrest, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace in August 2021, gang violence, a fuel shortage, and a resurging cholera outbreak.
Gang attacks on neighborhoods have forced some 200,000 people to flee their homes, a tenfold increase in the last two years, the United Nations reported. More than 2,500 Haitians were killed in 2023, and more than 900 kidnapped.
In early October 2023, the U.N. Security Council approved a new Kenyan-led international policing mission to Haiti to address rampant gang violence and insecurity. The mission will place international police on the front lines of law enforcement alongside their Haitian counterparts.
Despite these challenges, FFTP team members in Haiti put their safety at risk to distribute aid to people in desperate need of food, water, and basic items for survival.
In the years since the 2010 earthquake struck, FFTP has built more than 13,940 homes in Haiti. In the past year, FFTP has:
- Shipped 880 containers of food, health-related items and other goods to Haiti.
- Sent 14,000 family food kits and 10,000 disaster hygiene kits to Haiti, all packed by volunteers in the charity’s Coconut Creek warehouse and distributed to families in need.
- Shipped two disaster relief kits with enough supplies to support 500 families.
FFTP also partnered with USAID and Airlink to deliver emergency relief supplies to Haiti through a humanitarian air bridge to Port-au-Prince.
The first shipment included 107 pallets containing 3,852 cases of MannaPack rice meals from Feed My Starving Children and 88 cases of IV solutions plus medical gloves from St. Louis Park, Minn.-based MATTER.
A second shipment included 18 pallets of MannaPack rice meals, two pallets of MannaPack Potato-D, a specially engineered meal to treat children and adults suffering from cholera symptoms such as diarrhea and help to replace lost nutrients, two pallets of gloves donated by partner Matthew 25: Ministries, one pallet of medical gloves and two pallets of hygiene kits from partner Brother’s Brother Foundation, and two pallets of Liquid I.V. oral rehydration powder.
In addition, Airlink shipped five pallets of family emergency kits on behalf of FFTP partner GlobalMedic, a charity based in Canada. The kits included P&G Water Purification Sachets, buckets and lids, cloths, bars of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and solar-powered lights. Those supplies were distributed to 400 families. In a second shipment, GlobalMedic with assistance from the FFTP team in Canada, shipped an additional 2,800 family emergency kits to Haiti, each with enough supplies to help four families.
FFTP continues to ship tractor-trailer loads of aid to Haiti each week, including containers of rice from partner Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as in-kind and purchased goods.
On Saturdays, FFTP’s team in Haiti has opens its doors to safely distribute food to families in need. During the week, the charity is providing items such as rice, beans, MannaPack rice meals, water purification tablets, hygiene products, and baby items to pregnant women and nursing mothers from the Nutritional Recovery Center.
In 2023, the FFTP’s team in Haiti distributed 197,242 bags of rice to people across the nation as part of its regular distribution process and provided medicine to 157 health centers and 77 hospitals. In addition, the team:
- Responded to the nation’s growing food insecurity crisis by distributing 28,317 bags of rice, working in partnership with churches throughout the nation’s 10 departments, bringing food to 42,856 people.
- Distributed 10,054 boxes of food items to 5,160 internally displaced people who were forced to flee their homes due to gang violence, as well as 4,894 boxes for other families impacted by the food shortage.
- Distributed 1,837 bags of rice and emergency supplies to 5,612 families impacted in June by floodings in Port-au-Prince and the Southeast.
“The earthquake brought devastation to Haiti more than a decade ago, and the tremendous need for assistance continues,” Raine said. “Working with our incredible team in Haiti, and with the generous support of our donors, we will continue to do all that we can to provide emergency aid and support in its hour of need.”
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.