Christmas moves forward

By August 23, 2012

USA (MNN) — Remember the story MNN shared last week expressing concern over the lack of participation in the annual For Haiti With Love fundraiser for Christmas?

Co-founder Eva DeHart looks at that story ruefully. "God is laughing at me again with 'O ye,
of little faith!'" In the
30 years of For Haiti With Love's work in Cap Haitien, they've had 26 Christmas
parties (held on December 25) in Haiti. She says, "This is
for the poorest of the poor, so this has become–celebrating Jesus' birthday–
the highlight of the year."

However, parties for hundreds of
guests are expensive. For Haiti With
Love feeds the crowd with a hearty meal that often includes beans and chicken
or beef, a treat (usually a cookie), Creole Christmas songbooks, and either a
toy or an appropriate gift for the adults like jewelry or playing cards.

Funds for a party like that would cost thousands of dollars, so how early
does the ministry plan for this shindig? August. "Christmas in August"
started in 1988. The reasons were twofold: a slowdown in donations, and trying
to get the second Christmas Day party in Haiti planned.

DeHart notes, "As traditions tend to do, it quickly became an annual
event. Now there are folks who look forward to seeing and visiting with
friends they have made and only see at the 'Christmas in August'

By now,
you're wondering how it ended up. DeHart
says they had a crowd of enthusiastic last-minute guests, more than enough to
make up for the drop in regular donors. Not only did they raise enough to get the party off the ground, but they
also exceeded last year's giving by $200.

Those funds were immediately put to use. Right after this year's party, For Haiti
With Love sent four pallets totaling 2,097 pounds off to Ft. Lauderdale,
FL where they will be loaded into a container with the Feed My Starving Children
donation of 43,000 pounds of food packets.

The pallets also
contain uniforms, a donation of more than $34,000 worth of toys from Marathon Ministries, party
cups, powdered drinks, plates, spoons, and other supplies for Christmas party as
well as the gifts from this year's Christmas in August party. Donated
funds will also help purchase the calf and spices for the dinner in Haiti
Christmas week. The container sails to
Cap Haitien on August 27.

There's a
deeper meaning aside from the celebrations, too. While the people they serve know it's the
time to mark the birth of Christ, the party opens the door for Gospel
opportunities down the line. DeHart
says, "In a land that is starving
to death and crumbling under earthquake damage, it's really important to have
something hopeful."

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