Before Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti on October 4th -- killing 1,000 people and leaving 50,000 homeless, with food and safe drinking water desperately scarce -- Salesian missionaries throughout the island were already working hard to address a critical issue that will likely get worse before it gets better: chronic hunger.
According to the World Food Program, Haiti faces the highest levels of food insecurity in the world. In fact, between 2012-2014, more than half of Haiti’s men, women, and children -- or 5.3 million people -- suffered from ongoing malnourishment. And nearly 100,000 girls and boys under the age of five, or 30 percent of Haitian children, live with acute malnutrition.
“While we are now focused on delivering emergency aid to those affected by the hurricane -- including the distribution of relief kits containing rice, beans, salmon, sugar, olive oil, and milk -- we must continue our vital, long-term food programs in Haiti so that its children, and the country as a whole, have a chance for a better future,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions.
Malnourished children suffer from irreversible stunted growth, attention span difficulties, and other health issues that often prevent them from attending, or succeeding in, school. Regarding this issue, Fr. Mark says that “education is one of the most important factors in determining whether a child can break the chains of poverty. This is why we are committed to offering feeding programs that help ensure that children are able to concentrate on their studies.”
Sadly, these challenges are not unique to Haiti. According to the United Nations, 795 million people around the world suffer from chronic hunger. More than 98 percent of them live in developing countries with persistent food shortages, and where major barriers prevent the delivery of critical food aid to its intended recipients.
Fortunately -- thanks to ongoing partnerships with international relief organizations, and our long-standing presence in more than 130 countries -- Salesian Missions is ready to provide life-saving nutrition to tens of thousands of children and families who are desperate for food. In fact, this food is already on the ground. The biggest challenge is getting it into the mouths of those who need it most. And you can help us meet this challenge.
Every year at this time, Salesian Missions launches its Annual Food Distribution Appeal. This critical effort helps raise the funds we need to transport literally tons of free meals from the shipping docks to vital programs -- where our missionaries stand ready to prepare and serve it.
Just a single dollar from you can provide 20 times that amount in nourishment! That means that just one $10 donation helps us transport $200 worth of food; $20 immediately becomes $400; and $25 can distribute $500 worth of hearty meals to those struggling with chronic hunger and malnutrition.
The direct, human impact of your generosity is significant. For example, in San Salvador, El Salvador -- where a large number of the population lives in extreme poverty, and depends on subsistence farming or meager sales in the street markets to survive -- more than 150 children who attend Salesian-run schools receive at least one nutritious meal each day. These meals, made possible by caring friends like you, ease the hunger pains that prevent girls and boys from focusing on their studies. Now, they are thriving in the classroom and have a much better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty that grips so much of the country.
And in Haiti, school nutrition programs in Fort-Liberté, Cap-Haitién, Les Cayes, Gressier, and Port-au-Prince will soon resume feeding thousands of students, teachers, and staff one hot meal per day. These programs often motivate children living on the street to attend school -- where they can begin building the foundations for a brighter future.
However, for every child in Haiti and San Salvador, thousands more do not know where their next meal will come from. Our Annual Food Distribution Appeal is your chance to help ensure that hungry children and families around the world receive the nourishment they desperately need.
Please consider a special donation today. Remember, for every $1 you can give, we can provide $20 worth of food. What a remarkable gift to share in the spirit of Thanksgiving!
Our mission can deliver $20 worth of life-saving food for only $1. Join this miracle and find your mission today!