Diaspora

Haiti fundraiser nears goal – Boothbay Register

With Easter soon approaching, the Lincoln County Ecumenical Committee for Haiti’s 2022 Lenten fundraising campaign is nearing its goal. “With the world’s attention, quite rightly, focused on the human tragedy in Ukraine, it has been a challenge to meet our goal in this campaign,” said LCECH Chair Sharon Marchi of Bremen, “but we have made great progress.”
Contributions from longtime supporters of LCECH efforts in Gros Morne Haiti have kept pace with the results of past fundraising dinners. This year’s new GoFundMe Campaign –Maine Hearts and Hands for Haiti – has spread the word beyond Lincoln County and is bringing in new supporters and pushing contributions toward the campaign’s $25,000 goal.
The ongoing needs of the population of Gros Morne Haiti may not seem as important in the face of the suffering in Ukraine, but an atmosphere of crisis persists in Haiti. The World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations announced in March of this year that hunger levels are on the rise and that as many as 4.5 million Haitians are experiencing “high levels of acute food insecurity.” The WFP representative in Haiti noted that the situation is “the worst since 2018.”
This situation has been created by a combination of factors: long term environmental degradation, worldwide food price increases, structural poverty and, most visibly in Haiti’s case, the collapse of physical security in the midst of the ongoing political crisis.
In many places, there is almost an absence of government. In the medium sized city of Jakmel in Haiti’s southeast, normally just a three hour drive from Port au Prince, the roads are under the control of armed gangs which attack commercial traffic, hold up passenger traffic for ransom and exact tribute from those few commercial vehicles trying to get through. This has led to food shortages in Jakmel, the closure of the hospital and some clinics and a general collapse of the local economy.
LCECH has been trying to address some of these problems in the northwestern Haitian town of Gros Morne since the earthquake of 2010. A focus of this year’s efforts will be food insecurity. Working with local government agriculture extension agents, programs have previously been established to enhance backyard chicken raising, improve goat raising techniques and veterinary practice, enhance seed programs to expand vegetable gardens and, most importantly, bring more children into the popular school feeding program.
Schools in Gros Morne are open again and functioning. Haitian parents believe in education and the schools, public and private, are crowded. Resources are scarce. School lunches are very popular and for some children it is the only hot mail they receive on any given day. LCECH support for school lunches has enabled the program to be expanded to new schools, to introduce school gardens to produce vegetables and additives to make school lunches more healthy, to begin using stoves which conserve scarce fuel resources, etc. Again this year, the school lunch program will be among the principal beneficiaries of the LCECH fundraising campaign.
It is not too late to help the campaign reach its goal. More information on the programs supported can be found at the Maine Hearts and Hands for Haiti GoFundMe campaign page where credit/debit card contributions can also be made: https://gofund.me/d8ea93cf, or checks can be sent directly to LCECH at P.O. Box 1003, Damariscotta, ME 04543. For more information, please call 207-529-5239.
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