Haiti (MNN) — Christmas in Haiti begins in August. At least, that's the case for For Haiti With Love because
the annual Christmas party they throw in December in Haiti is a big task that
requires months to prepare.
For Haiti's Roseline DeHart coordinates the event. The downturn in the U.S. economy has stretched
their resources. "The challenge now is
that our contributions now are lower. We do whatever we can do with what we
That requires a lot of creativity. DeHart explains that it begins with a fundraising
auction and dinner about four months before Christmas. "We have Christmas
in August here in Florida, and then with that money and the toys that people
bring, we have a party for about 500 children on Christmas Day in Haiti."
Since 1988, For Haiti With Love has been throwing the party for the
poor in the community, and it's been growing
steadily each year. At 500 kids, there
are also parents to feed and gift. Why
so many when the budget keeps shrinking? It's simple. "We can't tell them ‘no,' so we keep bringing in more."
The logistics of planning the party are overwhelming.
Getting items cleared from customs in time, as well as getting food prepped and
distributing presents requires a lot of organization. The Gospel
program means rehearsals. After the meal
is finished, the children are given a gift: they get to select a stuffed animal
from the pile. The mothers get to select a piece of jewelry from For Haiti's donated
jewelry store. The fathers get a T-shirt and playing cards or dominoes, either of
which is a favorite pastime.
DeHart says this aspect of their ministry is just one small
part of their outreach. "Whenever we
can, we tell them about Jesus, especially in the clinic. We tell them that the
medical care we're giving them is free, that they don't have to pay, that Jesus already
paid for them."
From the building to the feeding programs to the free burn
clinic, every facet of For Haiti is meant to reach out to the poorest of the
poor in Cap Haitien in the name of Christ.
Some respond to the hope of Christ, but
not all. There is a lot of spiritual
warfare still going on throughout the nation. The country remains heavily influenced by
voodoo. "Pray that For Haiti With Love
can be able to go on 40 more years, and that the contributions will continue