Haitian summer school meals lack funds

By May 31, 2013

Haiti (MNN) — Haitian kids in summer school won’t be getting any meals from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) this year.

The WFP confirmed earlier this week that while they see the need, they lack funds even for programs already running in Haiti.

WFP has a take-home ration plan for 200,000 school kids in Haiti, but it won’t lift off the ground without donated support.

In addition, U.S. Congress may reduce funding for Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole, programs that bring aid to Haiti.

There are currently 6.7 million people in Haiti facing food insecurity this summer. 1.5 million people are dealing with severe hunger. Many of these people—and some of the most vulnerable—are children.

How does malnutrition affect a child’s future? Eva DeHart with For Haiti With Love (FHWL) says, “Drastically, because you need proper nutrition to properly develop the brain, and if the brain is not properly developed, they don’t have the mental resources to think through their problems and provide for themselves. Nutrition in a young child is very important for body development, muscle development, and brain development.”

According to the Famine Early Warning System, this food insecurity is a layered issue. "Despite the evident readiness of local farmers, poor seed availability is threatening the success of this year’s crops…. Poor households in many rural areas could still be facing a food shortage directly after the July harvest."

Ultimately when Haiti does have crop success, WFP wants to stock their feeding programs with Haitian-produced harvests and support the economy.

DeHart says, “I love the part that the goal of the WFP now is to provide the program entirely using local produced food. I think that’s going to be Haiti’s answer. We’ve got to get the children in the fields taking pride in the fact that they’re helping to feed themselves and helping to feed their country.”

While bureaucracies are gridlocked on funds, FHWL has a solid record of ministry in Haiti since 1982. One of their programs is a burn clinic, and they have a lot of children come in for burn treatments.

Eva DeHart says they especially see a need for nutrition in their burn clinic ministry. “The [children] can’t heal unless they’re getting nutritionally balanced food. If they are not in a home structure that can provide adequate nutritional food for them, they’re automatically put on our food program while they’re being treated to make sure that their little bodies have enough nutrients to do the healing.”

It’s ministry with the heart of the Gospel. “Everything is done as a gift from God through His people, every recipient is very aware that they thank God for their help,” according to FHWL’s Web site.

DeHart asks, “Pray that, like this country, we get back stronger with God and more reliant on God and seeking God’s direction for what we need to do to solve some of our earthly problems…. The farther we drift from Him, the less focused we are on our real solutions.”

Click here to contribute to FHWL as they bring aid and Christ’s healing to Haiti.

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