Florida Senator, Wife Visit Feeding Center in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 29, 2009) – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson ( D-FL ) and his wife, Grace, visited the Food For The Poor feeding center in Port-au-Prince while the senator was in the country for talks over the weekend. His trip was part of a renewed international focus on the country that has been battered in the past year by four tropical storms and a food crisis.
The United States has committed $287 million this year in non-emergency assistance.
“We’re pleased Sen. Nelson is interested in raising awareness about the conditions of the people of Haiti,” Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor, said before the three-day trip. “While there is great need in Haiti -- and it is easy to see -- there is also great hope. We know that with the right help, Haiti can offer its citizens a brighter future.”
The senator and his wife joined Aloma on a visit to the Food For The Poor Warehouse Feeding Center in Port-au-Prince. The two helped serve rice and beans to the people waiting for food, and then went outside to the waiting crowd to listen to some of their personal stories.
"I am encouraged to see the good work that is being done in Haiti by organizations like Food For The Poor,” Grace Nelson said. ”The needs in Haiti are so great -- we all need to get involved to try and help."
The center is open Monday through Saturday, where cooks start at 6:30 a.m. to prepare enough food for more than 14,000 people each day. This is equivalent to about 2,500 pounds of rice and 400 pounds of dry beans. Some meat and vegetables are added to make a complete nutritious meal. Two to three thousand people line up for the food to take home to their families, which typically include five to eight children and adults.
In addition to meeting the immediate needs of feeding the hungry in Haiti, Food For The Poor also works to provide clean water, safe housing, education through its schools and orphanages, and development projects. By the end of July, the nonprofit will have established 24 fishing villages in Haiti, and also is teaching people to grow vegetable crops and fruit trees, as well as how to raise goats and other animals for sustainable food supplies.
Food For The Poor is the largest international relief and development organization in the nation. More than 97 percent of all donations received in 2008 went directly toward programs that help those in need. Food For The Poor provides nourishing food, safe shelter, necessary medical care, educational materials, support for orphans and the aged and much more to the poorest of the poor in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. For more information, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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