Without healthy and accessible food, we cannot work, learn or take care of our families. That is the situation Yfaniel Pierre faces. This dedicated father dreamed of a better life for his wife and six children, but he didn’t earn enough money through farming to afford even the most basic necessities. And with each storm that passed through Haiti, their dirt-floor shack crumbled even more as rain poured through the mud and sticks that barely held the roof together.
Children like Yfaniel’s are disproportionately affected by hunger in Haiti — and early childhood malnutrition has devastating lifelong effects. Nearly half of Haiti’s population is undernourished, and 10 percent of children are underweight, while one in five children under age 5 are stunted.
Anemia is also a big issue for children in Haiti. About one-third of children and women are anemic due to low iron consumption. Anemia causes dizziness, shortness of breath and fatigue, and it may lead to pregnancy complications.
The effects of hunger go beyond health. Chronic malnutrition makes it difficult to complete an education, which has devastating effects on long-term job potential. Hunger has been linked to difficulties with memory and behavioral conditions that make learning a challenge. The tragic result is a new generation trapped in the cycle of poverty — and without intervention, the cycle is doomed to repeat itself.
Haitians, especially those living in rural areas, are in desperate need of food. Families like Yfaniel’s are forced to cut back on already-meager portions and sustain themselves on just one meal a day. When adults don’t receive the nutrition they need, they become sick and unable to earn wages to support their families. To afford food, parents sometimes have to send their children to work jobs in notoriously unsafe conditions.
Please, stand with Cross Catholic Outreach to help Haitian families before it’s too late.
Hunger in Haiti is rooted in poverty. Several factors contribute to keeping Haitian families in poverty.
The foundation of Haiti’s hunger crisis can be traced back to its ties to French colonialism. In 1804, Haiti became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to be led by former slaves, which intimidated slaveholding nations, including the United States. At the same time, France forced Haiti to pay an indemnity of 150 million francs — the modern equivalent of $21 billion — to repay French slave owners who lost “their property.” Haiti was shunned by many countries during this critical transition, leading to a cycle of debt, corruption, political instability, and widespread poverty and hunger.
Although agriculture is a prominent industry in Haiti, the country is unable to provide enough food to feed its own people. Unproductive land, an increasing population, and poor sanitation processes contribute to this phenomenon. Yfaniel’s family and other farmers here are often left to rely on sparse rainfall rather than irrigation to support their crops, and most of their staple food, rice, is imported.
Approximately 96 percent of Haiti’s population is vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change factors, including hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, floods and landslides. Extensive deforestation has occurred over recent decades, placing farmland at a high risk for soil erosion, with fields unsuitable for agriculture. Natural disasters destroy crops, homes and businesses that support the local economy, driving communities even deeper into poverty.
Father Meaux established the Kobonal Haiti Mission over 30 years ago and has expanded it from addressing malnutrition among the elderly to even broader goals for food, water, housing, education and microenterprise for the poorest of the poor in this region. A month’s worth of cornmeal, oil and beans can mean the difference between health and malnutrition because of the challenging way of life in the Central Plateau region of Haiti.
Please consider showing your love for the poor and supporting our mission to help feed the most vulnerable people of Kobonal. Every little bit helps fight child hunger in Haiti and gives families the hope and faith in God they need to thrive.
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.