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Salesian Missions: Faithfully in Haiti

Salesian Missions: Faithfully in Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing nearly 250,000 people and displacing 1.5 million. It destroyed countless buildings and other vital infrastructure, requiring the already poverty-stricken country to start over.

“The earthquake was a momentous event that changed Haiti forever,” FMSC’s Regional Program Manager for the Caribbean, Junior Obrand, said. “But one thing is certain: The earthquake did not steal the hope and resilience of the people.”

In commemoration of the earthquake, we are highlighting our resilient food partners in Haiti throughout the month of January.

Salesian Missions

Missionaries from FMSC food partner Salesian Missions had been providing education and other social development programs for poor youth and their families long before the earthquake struck – for 75 years, in fact.

That’s how Salesian missionaries were among the first responders after the earthquake to provide shelter and medical aid and store and distribute relief supplies and clean drinking water. These embedded missionaries possessed an important understanding of how to get things done in Haiti.

And Salesian missionaries didn’t stop working when the rubble was cleared away.

“Even in the face of devastating emergencies and challenges, Salesian missionaries have persisted in Haiti to bring hope to youth in need,” Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, said in a recent report on the Salesian website.

In the past 10 years, Salesian Missions has distributed close to 40 million FMSC meals in 25 countries, more than 6 million of which went to Haiti.

Empowering the Resilient

Haiti is a special place for Feed My Starving Children. Since the earthquake, we have worked with 93 partners in Haiti just like Hope for Haiti's Children to distribute millions of lifesaving meals.

These meals enable our partners to provide education, healthcare, discipleship, employment and so much more throughout Haiti. These endeavors empower the already-resilient Haitian people.

“Resilience is the idea of never giving up,” Junior said. “Resilience is the idea of getting back up after being knocked down by political unrest, earthquakes, cholera and hurricanes.”

After all that Haiti has been through; the United Nations last month published a report that Haiti faces its harshest test yet – an economic crisis where one in three people need urgent food assistance. That amounts to 4.6 million people – nearly half of which are children.

Ten years have passed since the day Haiti was shaken, but we have not forgotten. And we will continue to support our partners on the ground no matter how difficult things get.

Yes, Haiti is resilient. But she still needs us.

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