Food For The Poor's Programs
Food For The Poor operates and supports feeding programs that feed millions of people regularly. To accomplish this, we partner with churches, schools, hospitals, missionaries and charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army, Caritas, the American-Nicaraguan Foundation, the Knights of Malta, Esperanza de Vida and others. At our main feeding program in Port-au-Prince alone, it’s estimated that approximately 15,000 people are fed each weekday. Food For The Poor provided more than 54.4 million pounds of food to countless malnourished children and their families in 2007.
Food For The Poor also maintains a longstanding partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on projects that provide food and milk for schoolchildren and their families, and which promote agricultural education in impoverished communities. In 2007, more than 22.8 million pounds of food were distributed to impoverished communities in Jamaica and Guatemala through USDA grants. In addition, the USDA’s Food For Progress program in Jamaica provides small farmers and families with seeds, tools, agricultural training and techniques to successfully market their crops.
Throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, thousands of families lack adequate shelter. The poor often live in dilapidated shacks made of scraps of wood, metal, plastic and cardboard. This type of shelter offers little protection from the elements, insects and rodents. As a result, illness and disease are rampant, especially among those who are most vulnerable — the young and elderly. In addition, the poor who live in these conditions are particularly devastated by natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes.
Since its inception, Food For The Poor has built more than 46,000 housing units for destitute families in the Caribbean and Latin America. The homes are basic, yet safe and secure. These homes not only benefit the families receiving them, but also provide a source of much-needed work for local laborers. House designs and construction materials vary slightly in different countries.
In Haiti, a village of homes has been established for elderly men and women who had been homeless. The village is located next to Food For The Poor’s Notre Dame de l’Espoir boys home. We also maintain a girls orphanage, Maison d’ Amour, and a home for the handicapped. These housing projects were planned to encourage interaction and provide a real sense of community for orphans, the elderly and the handicapped.
After the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, the staff of Food For The Poor honored fallen heroes by building 403 houses in Jamaica in memory of those who died in the service of others.
The importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty is crucial. Food For The Poor ships books, school supplies, furniture, computers and other needed items to schools throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Food For The Poor solicits used school desks, furniture and other equipment from school districts in the United States when they replace these items. Such classroom necessities are then shipped to schools in need.
In addition to providing supplies, Food For The Poor also supports countless school feeding programs in the countries we serve. For many poor children, the nutritious meal they receive at school may be their only meal of the day. The meals not only help a child concentrate, learn and develop, but they also serve as a powerful incentive for parents to send their children to school.
Medical care and treatment is often minimal or underfunded in the countries we serve. Food For The Poor solicits donations from major manufacturers of medical supplies and medicines for distribution throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Haiti, Food For The Poor operates outpatient clinics and supplies hospitals with food, medicine and medical equipment. Food For The Poor also supports hospitals, clinics, AIDS facilities, homes for the elderly, and orphanages throughout the Caribbean and Latin America by providing food, medicine and medical supplies. In 2007, 496.5 tractor-trailer loads of medicines and medical supplies were sent to help care for the sick in the countries we serve.
Throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, thousands of children have been orphaned or abandoned. These precious children need a safe, loving environment in which they can grow and develop. Food For The Poor has specially selected orphanages to participate in our Angels of Hope program. These orphanages are nongovernmental homes where the children can grow and develop mentally, physically and spiritually in a loving, Christian environment.
Food For The Poor donors have sponsored approximately 3,600 children in nine countries. We encourage our donors to correspond with sponsored children to encourage them and let them know that they are loved and valued. In addition to our Angels of Hope program, more than 450 orphanages received aid from Food For The Poor in 2007.
The need for clean, safe drinking water is critical in the countries we serve. In some cases, local water sources might be polluted or contaminated. In other instances, women and children must walk for hours to a safe source of drinking water, returning home with heavy buckets that contain their family’s daily water supply.
Food For The Poor provides villages and communities with safe alternatives to drinking polluted water. Water wells, pumps, cisterns and sanitation facilities greatly reduce illnesses, diseases and parasites associated with polluted or contaminated water. Freed from the tedious and grueling chore of walking for hours to and from a water source, children are able to attend school and women can utilize their time for more productive tasks. Since 1998, Food For The Poor has completed more than 560 water projects for thirsty villages and communities.
Providing the poor with long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty is a priority at Food For The Poor. To accomplish this, we have developed several micro-enterprise programs that help the poor help themselves. Some of these projects include:
- Fishing villages in Jamaica and Haiti
- Agricultural research and training centers in Nicaragua,
El Salvador and Jamaica
- Tilapia farms in Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic
- Animal rearing projects
- Woodworking shops
- Sewing enterprises
- Automobile repair shops
These skills training and micro-enterprise projects not only help provide the poor with income; they also restore hope and human dignity. In many cases, those receiving help will in turn help others in their community.
Fishing villages provide a prime example of the effectiveness of self-help projects. Destitute coastal villages are selected and a cooperative is formed. The cooperative is supplied with boats, motors, fishing tackle and safety gear, refrigeration equipment, a storage facility and, most importantly, training for the fishermen. The fishermen are then able to fish in deeper, more bountiful waters and catch larger, more profitable fish. The entire village benefits from this enterprise because many of the villagers buy fish wholesale in order to sell it retail, while others sell the cooked fish to local residents. Additionally, the fishermen are required to return a portion of their proceeds to those who are less fortunate. Currently 17 fishing villages are in operation in Jamaica, and 12 have been established in Haiti; 6 more are now being established in Haiti.
Whenever the need arises, Food For The Poor stands ready to send immediate assistance to those who are affected by natural disasters.
The 2007 hurricane season brought an enormous amount of damage and destruction to several countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. Jamaica, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic were particularly affected by the severe weather. Both immediate and long-term relief are needed following such disasters. In response to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Dean, Felix and Tropical Storm Noel, Food For The Poor sent 310 tractor-trailer loads of relief supplies to countries devastated by these storms. After the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, Food For The Poor assisted by providing relief supplies to devastated areas.
Food For The Poor also responds to help victims of local disasters. Following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, Food For The Poor partnered with local churches and other organizations to bring relief to those affected in states along the Gulf Coast.
Food For The Poor works directly with churches, the clergy, missionaries and other nongovernmental organizations in the countries where we serve. We ask what’s needed and then supply the requested items. This direct distribution method helps assure that only those items that are actually needed are shipped; it also helps keep operational costs to a minimum.
Since 1982, Food For The Poor has shipped more than 43,000 tractor-trailer loads of goods valued at more than $4.8 billion. Agreements with the governments of the countries that receive aid allow these shipments to enter the countries duty-free.
Food For The Poor partners with local organizations in the countries we serve in order to be effective and efficient. The first country assisted by Food For The Poor, Jamaica, today includes more than 1,800 churches as partners in the distribution of food, medicine, educational supplies and other needed items. Our street feeding program in Kingston has been in operation for more than 15 years and is run in partnership with the Salvation Army.
Haiti, the second country to receive aid from Food For The Poor, has a network of more than 2,000 partners, including schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages and other nongovernmental organizations — groups that help deliver aid to those who need it most. These organizations are located throughout the country and are served by extensive warehouses and distribution facilities in both Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.
Food For The Poor’s mission is to link the church of the First World with the church of the Third World in a manner that helps both the materially poor and the poor in spirit. Our ministry is shaped by the belief that Christ is alive and can be served directly by serving those in greatest need. (Matthew 25:40) Ultimately, we seek to bring both benefactors and recipients to a closer union with our Lord.
Updated March 2008