You already know there is a true humanitarian crisis in Haiti the likes of which we have not seen here since the 2010 earthquake. At least 800 people have died and over 80% of homes have been destroyed in the affected areas including Jeremie, Les Cayes, and places in between. When things like this happen, our first instinct (hopefully) is to want to help. I could not describe to you the scenes going on in southern Haiti and I know that pictures do not capture the true state of the emergency so I am not even going to try. What I am going to do is try to help each of us give to organizations that will truly use your money wisely in this disaster relief effort. It is very important for you to know that we are not a disaster relief organization! We are also not located in an area that was destroyed by the hurricane! Because of these 2 things, we will not be asking for donations for emergency disaster relief. Why would we? There are wonderful organizations here on the ground in the affected area who focus on disaster relief that will do a much better job than we ever could. I am going to tell you about 2 of them in this blog, and I would GREATLY ENCOURAGE you to give to either of these 2 organizations to help with this terrible crisis. We are still actively fundraising, and if you are looking for an organization to give to that will focus on taking care of children and job creation for long-term help in Haiti, we are your organization! I will talk more about this in our next blog, but after the emergency relief efforts are over, organizations like ours are extremely important for Haiti moving forward. Our desire is to take care of children, provide jobs, and lead people to Christ and if we can succeed in these things then the next time a natural disaster strikes we can begin to be ready for it. However, if you want to help with the disaster relief (and we encourage you to do that RIGHT NOW because this is the desperate need!) we are not the best people to give to. However, these 2 organizations are!
- HOPE FOR HAITI – This organization is located in Les Cayes, one of the most devastated areas in southern Haiti. They provide medical aid (with 4 doctors and 8 nurses on staff) as well as disaster relief kits (including food, water cleaning tablets, and blankets) to those who are really hurting. They have been on the ground for the past 27 years and they know this community and how to help it. On top of that, they know how to purchase relief supplies locally so that the money goes back into their community rather than bringing everything in the from the states!
- KORE Foundation – KORE Foundation is located in the Gressier area, but their focus is on farming and chicken coops. I have mentioned before that agriculture in our area was totally decimated and without help this could cause a hunger issue in our area over the next couple of months. We know that any money donated to them will go this type of relief effort!
This may seem a little confusing because probably every other organization and person that you know who operates in Haiti (if you know of others) are asking for money to go toward disaster relief efforts and we are trying to get you to give to others. The reason is simple…This is not our expertise. If you were to give money to All Things New for disaster relief we would have to learn a whole new aspect of ministry. For instance, we would have to figure out a way to get money and supplies to the affected area, we would have to find people (because I am not one) who could help rebuild homes, and we would have to find connections in and around the affected area that could help us get bulk supplies of food and water. These 2 organizations can already do this! They will be able to get life-saving medical care to people, food to people who have lost everything, and they will be able to take care of farmers who have lost everything after the storm so they can begin producing food for their communities again. We are good at certain things in our ministry and our community, but we are not equipped to do disaster relief in a completely different city and area of Haiti.
Now, let me warn you about a couple of things. First of all, do not give to the Red Cross. Do not give to organizations who have huge amounts of overhead, who have no connections in the affected area, and who will bring in aid from America and other countries (though some of this is necessary) rather than doing their very best to purchase aid locally. These things are extremely important! You will probably see a lot of celebrities, big American organizations, and others asking for money to help Haiti, and it is wonderful that they are trying to help. However, it is so important to give intelligently to this relief effort. The ugly truth is that some organizations will do their best to profit off of this disaster while others will do their very best to help even though they lack the skill and capacity to do so. I am asking you to give to smaller organizations with little overhead, a trusted Haitian staff, connections on the ground, an infrastructure and connections in country, and an expertise in disaster relief and especially as it applies to southern Haiti. It is one thing to have good intentions, but it is a completely different thing to truly help people who have undergone incredible pain and suffering and we want to help you accomplish the latter!
As you are deciding how to give, let me tell you something that may happen in the near future. We are asking you to give right now to a dire situation where people are in desperate need of life-saving help right now! However, 1-3 months from now there could be a new and equally important and dire need in Haiti. This hurricane has destroyed the agriculture business in every city south of Port Au Prince including Gressier. There is a chance that a famine could spread across Haiti like we haven’t seen for a while and every area could be affected. It is vitally important that you give to emergency relief efforts now because people are truly dying, but please understand that in a couple of months the situation could be dire for the whole country. I am writing this at the end of this blog because this is part of giving to disaster relief. Very rarely do you see the true affects of a natural disaster immediately and in one concentrated area. It is extremely vital that we send money to help people right now, but it is equally vital that we continue to pray and that we continue to give as new needs arise from Hurricane Matthew, and I promise to let you know what those needs are when they arise. This is how true disaster relief happens, and we (Haiti) will need your help more than ever over the next few days, weeks, and months as the affects of Matthew become more and more evident.