Haiti quake panel mandate ends; ministry feels budget crunch

By October 26, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — The mandate is ending Friday for a Haiti
reconstruction panel that was set up to coordinate donor aid after last year's
earthquake.

It comes at a time when Haiti's government is newly formed,
and hopes are high that what was started by the panel will continue under the
government's care.

Chaos resulting from uncertainty over who was at the head of
the government caused trouble on the docks and red tape backlogs. That caused no end of headaches for groups
like For Haiti With Love, which had multiple food shipments trying to clear
customs.

After months of wrangling, the truck rolled off the wharf in
Cap Haitien and, on September 30, finally delivered 1,254 boxes, 41,000 pounds of
nutritionally-balanced food packets. It was
a $65,000 donation made in February  from
Feed My Starving Children. Thankfully, says For Haiti's Eva DeHart, the food–dehydrated vegetables–is still good. The final fees and charges for storage were
$6,370.

It seems like a satisfying end to the story, but DeHart says
that's not exactly the case. "The good news is that we have all of the
containers freed up now, except for the April container which is still caught in
Port-au-Prince. The temptation is just to
say 'Forget it,' but it's $65,000 worth of donated food."

Timing could be worse. The economic turbulence that rocked the U.S. through the recession has
finally rippled to this ministry. "This is our first year to feel the
economic crunch. Because of the earthquake, we had people who gave one-time
gifts last year that really made a difference, but contributions are really,
really down. As you have these unbudgeted items, money is becoming the biggest
issue."

The food was enough to re-start the feeding programs in Cap
Haitien, which had run out of food in August and September. Once the supply line got unclogged at the
docks, things starting to flow again. For Haiti has another donated container coming, which is scheduled for pickup
on November 5.

Economic challenges like these have run the ministry close
to the edge.However, they've still
managed to hold the annual Christmas party and keep the doors of the burn
clinic open. It's not negotiable because it's part of their
witness of Christ. "The mere fact that
we're still there. There are so many ministries that have just given up and
walked out of Haiti, that the fact that we're still there is a beginning of the
testimony."

For Haiti's continued  presence has earned the right to be heard. Therein lies the Gospel opportunity. "You have the opportunity to help the
people," explains DeHart. "You have the opportunity to explain to
them where that help is really coming from. God is in control. Everything is in His hands. We just make sure that He
gets the credit."

God has opened many doors of outreach in Haiti, natural
disasters, and political upheaval notwithstanding. Even finding a new network of shippers was a blessing. In her latest letter to
supporters, DeHart thanks those "who pick up containers in the U.S. and
magically have them end up at our headquarters in Cap Haitien to feed the
hungry. It's lots of work that doesn't
go unnoticed!" 

Where one mandate ends, another renews. There's more here.

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