Walk With Haiti - FOOD PROJECT
In 2008, after a tropical storm and 3 consecutive hurricanes ravaged Haiti, St. Mark’s started a second collection on the first Sunday of the month to provide food for Haiti. For many years this money (approximately $1,000/month) was given to Madame Samsan, who cooked a hot meal every day for 100 poor children in her neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
Over the years the program has expanded and now supports three separate food programs in Haiti: Notre Dame de Lourdes (our parish twin), Dr. Wilkens (Madame Samsan’s son), and Christ Roi.
Notre Dame de Lourdes parish is located in Cite Militaire an impoverished section of Port-au-Prince. On the first weekend of each month, the parish distributes rice, spaghetti and cooking oil to their most needy parishioners. It doesn’t seem like much, but it provides a lifeline to those who depend on it.
When Mme Samsan grew too old to continue, her son Dr. Gilbert Wilkens took over and revised his mother’s neighborhood feeding program. He now serves more than 35 families by providing ‘Food Kits’ weekly, to families that are chosen based on a medical assessment of malnutrition. His kits are dispensed from his clinic in Delmas 60, which is an area of extreme poverty, the place where he grew up.
Christ Roi (Christ the King), is another neighborhood of severe poverty, where the Norwich Diocese’s ‘Outreach to Haiti’ (OTH) operates its own education program and a medical clinic. Their food program targets the malnourished by serving 50 children, another 12 expectant mothers and 25 families of the most needy with food kits. A food kit contains milk, rice/beans, pasta, oil, canned fish, flour, and peanut butter.
Living without a steady food supply is a foreign concept to us. It’s hard to imagine a life like that and so it is satisfying to help with Haiti Food Collection at St. Pio parish. But what is the source of this satisfaction? Pope St. John Paul II wrote what he called ‘the law of the gift’ which states that our being will increase in the measure it is given away.
How blessed are we that have the means to bring comfort to our brother and sisters in Christ. This is what saying “yes” to Jesus looks like. It is always good to remember that God is never outdone in generosity.