Food For The Poor Provides Aid to Families Found in Haiti Cave: Charity Building Homes for 240 People Whose Homes Were Destroyed by Hurricane

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 28, 2017) Food For The Poor is providing regular deliveries of aid to 240 people found last week living in a cave in the rugged mountains of southwest Haiti, where they had sought refuge nearly six months ago after Hurricane Matthew destroyed their homes.

The relief goods, which include food, water and hygiene kits, are being stored and distributed locally under the supervision of a staff member from the charity's office in Port-au-Prince who will be stationed there for the next four months. Other items include blankets, clothing, kerosene stoves and tarps.

Regular deliveries will continue while Food For The Poor works to quickly build safe and secure homes for all the families in Fonds Rouge Dahere, located about one hour outside Jeremie.

Earlier in March, the charity announced its donors built 1,086 housing units in 114 days. Shortly after the storm, the charity set an aggressive goal to build 1,000 housing units in 100 days to give people hope and move them quickly into sturdy shelter.

The charity's commitment to build homes continues with these families living in the cave.

"It is more important than ever that we get them into permanent homes in a safe place," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "This latest revelation makes it even more urgent, and we really need everyone to help us."

The humanitarian crisis emerged Wednesday when the charity's agricultural director in Haiti discovered the group while scouting for land to plant crops for families in the Grand'Anse region of Haiti.

"When I entered into the cave and I saw the people singing, they're singing 'Jesus is our good friend,' " said Agricultural Director Oyama Michel Romain. "I see a lot of children in the bottom of the cave. It was a heartbreaking thing."

The families, which include 84 women and 62 children, had homes and land but said they moved into the cave to escape the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew's 145-mph winds. Since the storm, they have slept on the cave floor or on simple mats.

As part of the charity's immediate relief, families were able to cook a hot meal of MannaPack rice casserole, which was made with boiling water and served on banana leaves, the only "plates" available to those who had lost everything.

"Yes, we manage to eat. When we have food, we cook in there. Sometimes we don't have food," said one of the men in the cave.

The MannaPacks, specially formulated meals named after the Biblical food that fell from heaven, were donated by Feed My Starving Children, a longtime Food For The Poor partner.

A food packing event already was planned by Food For The Poor and Feed My Starving Children for April 28 and 29 at Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton. The goal to pack 100,000 meals couldn't have come at a better time.

This latest crisis comes on the heels of a severe food shortage in the Grand'Anse region.

In addition to the aid provided to the families living in the cave, Food For The Poor announced it is sending an additional 100 containers of food each month for the next four months to keep people in the area from starving.

A food shortage in Grand'Anse is so bad that families have turned in desperation to fruits and foliage known to be poisonous, if consumed uncooked, in an attempt to quell their hunger and save their lives.

At least 13 people have died over the span of 10 days, including seven in Pestel, four in Cahouane and two in Castaches. More than 400,000 people are said to be at risk due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Stock animals were killed and crops were destroyed once by the storm, and again later by drought after having been replanted.

Food For The Poor is trying to build as many homes as it can for these destitute families.

To help build a double-unit concrete home with two bedrooms, a shower, a flush toilet and a solar-powered light kit for $7,200, or a single-unit home for $3,600, please go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/haitiemergency.

Watch a video of Haitian families being served a hot MannaPack casserole outside the cave near Fonds Rouge Dahere: www.FoodForThePoor.org/haitiaid.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com