Haitian children enjoy a hearty meal during the FHWL Christmas celebration. (FHWL photo)
Haiti (MNN) ― Every year, For Haiti with Love holds a Christmas in August fundraiser to fill needs for their big Christmas day party in Haiti. This year's event took place this week, and "it was awesome," said ministry founder Eva DeHart.
Despite the cutbacks people are being forced to make in their personal finances, FHWL has a nucleus of people who plan on giving during the Christmas in August fundraiser. "They are spending money that they would normally spend at Christmastime to give gifts, except they can get more unique gifts and also be helping Haiti at the same time," said DeHart.
FHWL brings items up from Haiti, and local companies and individuals donate articles for the auction portion of the event. Many people also bring an item to donate, to add to the gifts which will be distributed to children and families in Haiti.
All the money that is raised goes for shipping and buying food, supplies and gifts for the celebration in Haiti on Christmas Day. So far, they have 100 soccer balls to give away. However, DeHart said, "They're also absolutely thrilled with a new bath towel and a bar of soap, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. These are items they don't normally get. So you can make a family really, really happy by just providing brand new basics for them."
For last year's Christmas celebration, For Haiti prepared a calf on site so that their people could have beef for the first time. Besides special treats like that, much of the food is purchased right in the country to support the Haitian economy and to save on shipping.
The true meaning of Christmas is not lost. Everyone who attends knows that they are celebrating the birth of Christ. "We have coloring books in Creole for the children so that they get the full Christmas story in coloring book form. The back of the coloring book has Creole words to the Christmas music, so then everyone sings Christmas hymns together," DeHart explained.
Because the party is for the poorest of the poor, most of them cannot read. That's why coloring books are much more effective at communicating the Gospel than providing them with a full Bible.
At this point, the money that was given at the Christmas in August fundraiser has not been tallied yet. However, DeHart says that organizers speculate that this may have been the best one yet.
DeHart mentioned that air pumps and needles are needed for the soccer balls. Though a small thing, without these items, the toys are useless. Go here if you want to help financially or if you have air-pumps and needles you could donate.