Food For The Poor Undertakes Major Tree Restoration Effort in Haiti, Jamaica

HAITI (May 27, 2008) - In the severely deforested country of Haiti, Food For The Poor is making major strides to restore the natural balance of the island’s delicate ecology. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has experienced a major ecological disaster with the deforestation that has taken place. Approximately 80 percent of the population is unemployed and illiterate. Consequently, a major part of Food For The Poor’s mission is to educate Haitians about the importance of protecting and planting life-saving trees.

In 2007, Food For The Poor, the foremost international relief and development organization in the Caribbean, began an extensive tree-planting program. Over 100,000 fruit trees have been planted in the housing villages in Haiti constructed by Food For The Poor, providing a source of nutritious food for the residents, and restoring the natural environmental balance.

In the town of Fosse Capois, 15 miles from Cap-Haitien, the planting of 10,000 fruit-bearing trees began on Green Friday, February 1, 2008. Adults from the village accompanied children from the local schools as they planted avocado, breadfruit, coconut, lemon and mango trees, donated by Food For The Poor’s generous donors. The day was a celebration, filled with music and dance, as the people expressed their thankfulness for the gift of new life in the provided trees. The fruit-bearing trees will provide abundant blessings in the form of welcome shade and healthy food for hungry families.  They will also help combat Haiti’s massive deforestation problem.  

Haiti frequently experiences life-threatening floods and mud slides because of rampant soil erosion due to the lack of trees. Haiti’s forests were first ravaged to fuel colonial sugar mills, and now due to Haiti’s grim economic circumstances, the destitute are forced to chop down trees for a meager income selling firewood or charcoal.  Food For The Poor believes that through education, people who have been ensnared in generational poverty can be released. 

Food For The Poor then expanded the tree-planting program to Jamaica, an island of contrasts.  Jamaica has some of the most beautiful resorts and some of the poorest areas in the Caribbean.  Food for the Poor has been working in Jamaica since 1982, and provides housing, medical, educational, sustainability projects and relief assistance.  The trees planted in Jamaica will provide a source of food, and will help to restore the ecological balance of the poorest areas.

500,000 Trees in 2008

Food For The Poor plans to expand the tree program by focusing on critical need communities, and anticipates the planting of a minimum of 250,000 trees in Haiti and 250,000 trees in Jamaica during 2008.

Food For The Poor, the second largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than simply feed the millions of hungry poor in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 1982, we have provided clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and emergency relief, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For additional information about the work of Food For The Poor, please visit the Web site www.foodforthepoor.org
 

Contact:
Ann Briere
(954) 427-2222 x 6614
annb@foodforthepoor.org