The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Honoring a Fearless Woman and Selfless Servant

Honoring a Fearless Woman and Selfless Servant

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.” — Proverbs 19:17 

Junior is the Regional Program Manager for the Caribbean. Here he pays tribute to one of our most beloved partners who passed away recently. 

FMSC’s relationship with our distribution partners goes beyond the material transaction of food donations. Our complementary partnership enables us to be part of their joys and their sorrows. We get to hear and sometimes even be present for important milestones in their lives such as birthdays, graduations, weddings etc. We also walk with them through tough times like sickness and death. That is what friendship is all about.

Recently, FMSC said farewell to a bold woman, a fighter, a dear friend who devoted her entire life to serve others. The country of Haiti lost a person who gave it all to help the poorest of the poor for more than two decades. A woman whose passport did not have the Haitian emblem of a palm tree but was as Haitian as anyone I know. A woman who was the textbook definition of a selfless servant. A woman who was not afraid to take up her cross and follow Jesus. A woman who was fearless. This woman was Sandra Koch, Founder and Executive Director of Help for Haiti, Inc. (HFH). FMSC’s relationship with Sandra was special, and so was she.

The Journey

Before founding HFH in 1995, Sandra worked for two of our largest distribution partners: Food for the Poor and Cross International. When she met Pastor John LaFortune in the mid 1990’s, they started shipping goods to help children in Haiti. While both Sandra and Pastor John shared a passion to help the poor, Sandra was passionate about logistics.

Getting things done and paying attention to details was her cup of tea. HFH was approved as a distribution partner by FMSC in early 2010. In the years that followed, we came to know that fearless woman who spent most of her time inside a walled-in compound behind a big red gate in Santo 12, a neighborhood just outside of Port au Prince.

Over the years, our relationship with Sandra and HFH grew stronger and deeper. In 2014, FMSC piloted a new program in partnership with HFH called Direct Distribution Depot (3D). The 3D program was designed to reach smaller ministries operating in Haiti that would otherwise not be able to receive FMSC meals through our usual process of shipping and clearing containers. Sandra had the same heart to reach these “least of these” as FMSC did. Since it’s launch, several millions of FMSC meals have been distributed and the 3D program has been replicated in Uganda.

The Person

Did you ever meet Sandra? The answer is not “maybe" because if you’ve met her, you would remember. You’d know Sandra’s favorite color was black. In fact, many of us have affectionately called her “the lady in black." Yes, many of us have rarely seen her in any color other than black.

Sandra was a mother of three and a proud grandma. If you ever visited Sandra in Haiti, you know the usual meeting spot — under the huge mango tree where Sandra was a gracious host. Many FMSC staff, donors, and volunteers have visited her in Haiti and received her drinks and pastries.

Sandra was a woman of prayer. She knew that prayer was the currency of faith, and the best way to get in touch with the Lord. Pastor John shared during her memorial service on March 23, “When we get up, we pray. When we eat breakfast, we pray. When we get in the car to run errands, we pray. When we get to the parking lot of the store, we pray. When we get back home, we pray.”

Sandra was very direct. She was not afraid to speak her mind, and when she did, you better listen or you’ll be asked to listen. Her emails were usually short and to the point, sometimes with a funny or hard-to-believe lines. For example in November 2018, we received an email from Sandra that read: “Sorry, goat wanted to eat the receipt. See attached.” Sandra

Yes, a goat named Bob tried to eat a donation receipt that was intended to be sent to FMSC. Seriously. Sandra was a living example of the “Live simply so that others may simply live” concept. She lived a modest life and did not work to embellish her resume but rather to unleash untapped potential in Haitian children and young people alike.

The Reward

The news of Sandra’s passing saddened all of us here at FMSC. We know the burning love and passion she had for the people of Haiti, and all the valuable relationships she had cultivated for more than two decades. Sandra’s work in Haiti was extensive and her love for the country of Haiti was even deeper. Sandra will be missed by thousands and thousands of people. On one hand, it’s a sad reality that she is no longer with us. On the other hand, we are rejoicing because we know she is enjoying quality time with singing angels and the creator of the universe. Sandra was a talker and as I’m writing this, I imagine she is talking with Jesus about her 73 years on earth, and what a crazy adventure that was. She must be using the word “fabulous” in every other sentence. What a joy!

Until we see you again, Sandra.

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