UPDATE (January 2017)
Praise the Lord for his provision of over $95,000 towards the Hungry Stomachs project. Thank you to all the churches and individuals who supported this project, with a special thank you to Calvary Baptist Church, Oshawa, ON for their significant donation which allowed us to more than double the set goal.
Food. It's something we take for granted all too often in North America, in large part because many of us have an abundance of it. But for those who go without, hunger is their everyday reality. Hunger touches every aspect of life for those who experience it constantly, and for children it can contribute to lifelong issues: chronic malnutrition, mental deficiencies, low socioeconomic status, stunted physical growth, and lack of education, to name a few. As French poet Jean de la Fontaine once said, “A hungry stomach cannot hear”; this is especially true for the children of Dondon, Haiti, where hunger can prevent them from taking advantage of the opportunity to learn on a daily basis.
Run by the local Baptist church, Salem Christian Academy provides children with the opportunity to receive a Christian education and acts as the main source of formal education in Dondon. But in order for these children to make the most of this opportunity, they need to be nourished physically. It's a well-documented fact that children who are malnourished have shorter attention spans and perform poorly in school compared to their well-nourished counterparts. Since 2008 Grace in Action Haiti has provided one meal per day to the students and staff at Salem Christian Academy, approximately 700 people. Through partnership with the local church in Dondon and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pierrefonds, Quebec, and with support from FAIR, each student receives a hearty meal of beans, rice, and vegetables every day, enabling them to make the most of their schooling.
For the past eight years this initiative has been made possible largely due to outside support from Emmanuel Baptist Church, and although the ministry has continued to bless the community, the time has come for a more self-sustaining model to be phased in. With the support of FAIR, the Salem Christian Academy aims to plant gardens that would provide much of the food needed to maintain the feeding program. In order to make this goal achievable, the school will need $40,000 to cover the costs of preparing the land for growing, building a security wall around the perimeter of the property, and planting the first seed.
The project will be split into two phases: phase one involves preparing the land beside the school building, sowing the first seeds, and building a much-needed block-construction security wall around the perimeter of the land that will help to protect the crops from wandering animals and people. Phase two involves an expansion of the operation to another plot of school-owned land ten minutes outside of Dondon.
Not only will this project allow the feeding program to be self-sustaining, the implementation will use resources from within the community such as local masons to build the security wall, labour to install irrigation systems, plant seed, care for the crops, and harvest the crops — all contributing to the local economy.
May we ask you to prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you participate in ensuring that stomachs in Haiti are satisfied through the ministry of FAIR and the Hungry Stomachs project? This is a wonderful project to adopt for this coming Christmas season. Bulletin inserts and posters are available online for churches wishing to utilize them for this project.