|UMCOR begins pilot aid project for Haitians|
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
12:15 PM EST Jan. 29, 2010 | PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS)
Six young Haitian Methodists spent an afternoon dividing 55-pound
bags of rice and 100-pound bags of beans into family-sized portions to
feed more than 160 families who have had little assistance since the
Jan. 12 earthquake.
“This is meeting their first need,” said Val Keteline, 24. “The
people will be very happy.”
Workers move bags of flour in the
Boutique Market in Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, where the United Methodist Committee on Relief is
to feed 160 families in Mellier.
Staff members of the United Methodist Committee on Relief came to
Haiti Jan. 21 to assess the damage to the country. On Jan. 29, they will
distribute food to Mellier, a rural town outside of Port-au-Prince. The
distribution will serve as a pilot program for UMCOR, said Melissa
Crutchfield, an executive with the relief agency.
“We are starting on a small scale, distributing enough food for over
750 of the most vulnerable people,” she said.
The families will receive rice, beans, oil and salt. The portions are
enough to feed a family of five for five days. The community also will
receive aqua tablets to purify their drinking water.
Pierre Naccsae, a Methodist Church lay leader from Mellier, will
provide UMCOR with a list of the residents who most need the food,
including widows, child-headed households, the elderly and single women
“What we learn from this small project will help us prepare for much
larger distributions in the future,” Crutchfield said.
‘God is happy’
UMCOR officials Crutchfield and Sharad Aggarwal and the Rev. Edgar
Avitia Legarda, an executive with the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, spent the first few days in Haiti visiting communities
served by the Methodist churches in Haiti. They talked to church
leaders, held a focus group of 29 residents of Mellier, attended
meetings of other international humanitarian agencies, did market
research and came up with a plan the small group could handle with the
help of church volunteers.
The volunteers took pride in helping the relief effort.
“God is happy with each good thing you do,” said Sirjena Paulo, 22.
“This is not the first time the church has done this for people.”
Rose Stephane Bazile, 25, finished her teaching degree before the
earthquake. She had planned to pursue a degree in psychology. She is
hoping classes will start again, but she is not sure if the school will
“Right now, Haiti needs psychologists,” she said.
Samuel Loomery, 17, has one more year of school and he wants to be a
diplomat. But after the earthquake, he is not sure that dream will come
“I have hope in God because he gave me a second chance at life,”
After four hours of work, each of the young people left with a bag of
food for their own families.
An afternoon of volunteering left them wanting more.
“Samuel told me this was very fulfilling and they asked me if they
could come back again,” Crutchfield said, smiling. “I told them there
will be plenty more opportunities in the future.”
*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service on
assignment in Haiti.
News media contact: David Briggs or Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn.,
(615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
Photos from team in Haiti
TEAM IN HAITI: Youth pack food
Meals help Haiti
Million meals for hungry
Food, water, housing top
priorities for Haitians
Haiti quake survivors need food,
Haitian Methodists and UMCOR
size up needs
Earthquake in Haiti: The Church Responds
Advance projects in Haiti
Fighting starvation, Haitians
The Haiti crisis: health risks
UMCOR: Haiti Emergency
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