Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,
Many of you have emailed wondering how our friends in Haiti are doing after being hit by Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna, and Hurricane Ike, all in the last three weeks. Thankfully, the community we serve in Port-au-Prince has not experienced the devastating flooding that has been described as catastrophic in many other parts of Haiti, but the situation is still very serious. There are millions of people suffering throughout the country. Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners In Health has written, “I have never seen anything as painful.” (follow this link to read his full letter)
I spoke with Fr. Jean-Juste, the priest of St. Clare’s Church, where the food program we support takes place, on the phone today and he described the situation in this way:
“This is indeed a nightmare. I thank God for allowing me to be present with a suffering nation. At another food program some 8 miles south of our food program, a security guard shot at the crowd who were desperate for a meal. An unconfirmed report said three hungry people died, 12 were wounded. Some small children were crushed within a crowd of starving young men, women and elderly people. The luckiest and very little babies hold onto their mothers or big sisters in the hope of some food. The Center is closed now. This has brought more people to our food program, which is overflowing with hungry children and their parents. I keep repeating to all: serve with love, no violence, use our heart. We’re doing everything we can to feed as many people as possible. The children continue to be fed first, but there are so many, there has been no food left over for the adults. Yesterday, some children had to return home without food because we ran out. Our reserve rice and beans are gone.”
The What If? Foundation, which is the only funding source for this meal program, has sent additional money to pay for more food to try to meet the growing need. If you are able to send a donation to help the food program at St. Clare’s through this crisis, please do. Between the dramatic rise in food prices over the last year and now the devastating hurricanes, your support and prayers are needed more than ever.
President, What If? Foundation