USA (MNN) – – For the last 25 years, For Haiti with Love has celebrated Christmas in August. You’d think they’d catch on by now…actually, you’d think everybody ELSE would catch on by now.
Every August, the ministry begins making plans for Haiti-side of the December 25 celebration of the birth of Christ. For Haiti with Love’s Eva DeHart says, “The kids get fed and they have praise and worship service where they are renewed with the story of Christmas from the Scriptures and then they get brand new gifts, and we’re hoping, a whole lot of God’s love that day.”
But it takes cash to put that kind of party on. Planning ahead is key to a successful celebration-that’s why they hold the fundraiser in August. The event includes Christmas dinner, Christmas music, door prizes, and silent and live auctions. Its purpose, aside from the obvious, is “It involves stimulating some interest locally, in the needs of children in Haiti, particularly.”
Everybody knows Haiti is poor and people need help, but DeHart says their US-side event clarifies what ‘need’ is. She explains, “The worst you see here is among the best you can find in Haiti. Things have not happened after the earthquake that could have or hopefully would have happened. People are suffering, and if we can share God’s love and help that suffering, I think that’s our job.”
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. This year, they raised “… a little over $6,000, and that should be a pretty good party for the kids. We’ve got two pallets all boxed up and ready to go.”
The timing couldn’t be better. “We have a container of food going down, so, these gifts can get over to Ft. Lauderdale and have a free ride down with the container of food that’s going in.” Gifts include the things kids and their parents WANT, not so much the things they NEED. “We’ll be sending down another supply of toys and gifts at the end of October to have them in there in time for Christmas. They like dominoes, playing cards, all kinds of games, small dolls, and small trucks.”
For a quarter century, For Haiti with Love has been hosting these parties, and word has spread. On Christmas Day, everybody shows up in their prettiest best clothes. There’s a good hot meal with dessert, and that’s BEFORE the presents. 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.
Last year, DeHart summed it up perfectly. She said, “In a land that is starving to death and crumbling under earthquake damage, it’s really important to have something hopeful”, adding that the party opens the door for Gospel opportunities down the line.
Planning ahead for hope–that’s kind of the Gospel in a nutshell, isn’t it?