“Without this help, life would be very difficult,” 82-year-old Gustave Destave told me on my recent visit to Kobonal, Haiti. “I don’t have any money to buy something to eat, so this food makes me well and strong.”
After her husband died and her children moved away, Gustave has found it difficult to survive day-to-day. She grows and sells peanuts, but her profit is not enough to live comfortably. To make matters worse, a recent injury caused a painful infection in her hand, causing her to stop working in the fields altogether.
“I wouldn’t have survived without this food,” she said. “The feeding program has made me believe more strongly in God. Thank you for helping me!”
Gustave represents one of 435 families that benefit from the Cross Catholic-supported Kobonal Haiti Mission’s Emergency Survival Program, which provides monthly food staples for the destitute and the elderly.
I was amazed to hear the stories among the hundreds of people gathered for the food distribution. One man named Berneuse Innocent, 55, started walking before dawn, over rocky and muddy roads, in order to receive the food for his wife and 12 children.
“Sometimes we sleep without any food,” he said.
As a farmer, Berneuse earns a meager income and is unable to provide daily meals for his family. Sadly, his story was typical of the many people gathered there that morning, sitting on benches and beneath shade trees, happily waiting their turn to fill their bags with a tin can of corn and beans. They also receive five bars of soap, a bottle of cooking oil, and bouillon cubes. On holidays like Christmas, the families are given coffee and sugar as a special treat.
“My children used to get sick from hunger,” Berneuse said. “But not anymore. Because of this food, life is no longer bad for the children. The corn gives them strength and the beans give them strong bones.”
He said he is thankful because he can always count on Kobonal and the Cross Catholic-supplied food rations.
“Thank you to those who gave this food!” he said. “It is always here and it helps me know God is always here too!”