Have you ever skipped a meal? If you have, then I am sure you know the discomfort that hunger pains can cause. There are children in Haiti who wake up every morning uncertain of their next meal. There is a child who is currently experiencing discomfort from hunger and weakness from the lack of proper nutrition. Bichard Bonnet, the president of our coffee association (APIAB) in Thiotte, Haiti, recently brought to my attention that he had been feeding 300+ children and paying out of his own pocket … talk about a selfless man. He expressed his desire to keep the feeding program going, but was worried due to his financial limitations. Naturally, he can’t keep this up by himself. I don’t think many people could feed 300+ children for a long period of time. I promised Bichard that I would do something about this and share the responsibility.
The raw, honest truth is that two out of three Haitians live on less than $2 per day. Just think of three close friends you have. Two of them would be starving. What would you do? Turn your head and pretend you are not aware of the situation? I look at these statistics and see people, not numbers. It’s two out of three moms, wives, school teachers, babies, dads, husbands, farmers, taxi drivers, do I need to go on? We hear compelling statistics, but the problem with statistics is that they are numbers with no follow through. Numbers without action is equivalent to supporting the problem instead of the solution. Let’s think past the numbers on this next statistic: one-third of women and children in Haiti are anemic. That means that there are children and women in Haiti right now that are experiencing the negative and crippling side effects of anemia. An anemic person’s body has an abnormally low amount of red blood cells. Because of this, they experience fatigue, skin pallor, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, or an increased heart rate, along with other symptoms. You don’t need to be a doctor to know that anemia causes discomfort (to say the least) and is a serious issue. It can even lead to heart disease, since the heart is overworked for having to compensate for the lack of blood cells. Anemia is just one of the many diseases that are caused by malnutrition.
I think we all would say and agree that we want to end world hunger. We all want to put food in babies’ bellies and stand in unity, fighting against malnutrition globally and locally. I have dreamed of fighting against world hunger before, but it wasn’t until Bichard reached out to me, that I woke up from my selfish mentality of believing that I had to wait for the “right time” to start a nutrition program. Last time I checked, there are starving children who do not have time to wait for the “right time.” To them, right now is the right time. If I were in their shoes, it would be very difficult to hear someone tell me that it wasn’t the “right time” to provide a meal, or that they “shouldn’t give financially right now because ___________.” I can’t help but think about how overlooked, objectified and dehumanized, people in other countries feel. We give them a number instead of a name, a sympathetic look instead of a meal, and we make excuses to justify our reasons not to give. We all have done it, and I know that I’ve definitely made excuses for not helping by saying things like, “I need to get my finances straight before I help someone else,” Or, “I need to invest my time & money into my company before investing into a nutrition program.” I hate to admit it, but that last excuse has actually come out of my mouth. How selfish of me. We are taught to take care of ourselves before we take care of others, and that’s not inherently a selfish mentality, but I personally feel convicted to switch the logic of “me first, then you” around. I want to see what would happen to a company that starts to live with open hands, even when giving isn’t logical or financially affordable. I want to see what will happen to my own life if I start to live with the knowledge that the things I’ve been blessed with aren’t just for myself, but to put me into a position to give back to others. I firmly believe that there is a generous spirit in each and every person, and sometimes it just takes encouragement from someone else to draw it out. Just like Bichard drew mine out.
With that being said, Salt + Light Coffee Co. has a goal of raising $4,000 to fund at least 100 meal kits for families in Thiotte. These meal kits will provide bananas, rice, cooking oil, beans and maize. In addition to the food, we will be hosting a party for our coffee farmers and the families in the surrounding area, to help take their minds off of their daily troubles and bring some joy back into their lives. We will also give the children toys such as, mini soccer balls, jump ropes and books (written in Creole). The time is now, because the needs are immediate — which means we have a very short time to raise the money (a month at the latest), so we need YOUR help! We are not strictly accepting monetary donations, but are also accepting *gently* used toys, art supplies, coloring books and any other items that may bring joy and happiness into a child’s life. For sustainability purposes, we will be purchasing all the food in Haiti and hiring translators, as well as drivers to provide more jobs in the process! My company and myself will give towards this goal. Will you partner with us?
Every. Single. Dollar. Matters. If you are unable to give financially, then please join us in prayer for the people of Haiti and for protection and safety while we are there. Share this blog, share our GoFundMe page, share the story of our company, and share with everyone you come in contact with. There is power in a group of people who stand in unity, fighting for the same cause.
Haiti is a country of giving people. They live with open hands and empty bellies. How great of an impact do you think we could make with full bellies and open hands?