Without healthy and accessible food, we cannot work, learn, or take care of our families. This is the situation for Yfaniel Pierre and his family, who dream of a better life but can’t find work in Port-au-Prince or make enough money through farming in Kobonal. Yfaniel and his wife, Fleurzil, have six children that they struggle to feed and provide for. And with each storm that passes through Haiti, their dirt-floor shack crumbles even more and rain pours through the mud and sticks barely holding the roof together. Yfaniel’s family is hungry and praying for help from generous Catholics, like you.
Hunger in Haiti is a major issue because of the tragic food shortages across the country. These severe food shortages are most devastating after natural disasters but exist every day and all throughout the year. Cross Catholic Outreach is committed to reducing hunger in Haiti by providing food to the poorest of the poor in regions where it is needed most.
Children like Yfaniel’s are disproportionately affected by hunger in Haiti — 30 percent of children chronically malnourished and eleven percent are underweight, while one in five children under the age of five are stunted.
Anemia is also a big issue for children in Haiti, as about one-third of children and women here are anemic because of low iron consumption through healthy foods. Anemia causes to dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and even worse symptoms.
Haitians, especially those living in rural areas, are in desperate need of food. Families like Yfaniel’s are being 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 are unable to work and earn wages to support their families. To afford inadequate quantities of food, parents sometimes have to send their children off to work jobs in notoriously unsafe conditions. We need to help Yfaniel’s children before it’s too late.
Yfaniel and his children are among this population and in desperate need of feeding programs like those provided by Cross Catholic Outreach. Even when Haiti is not recovering from natural disasters, food insecurity is something that leaves an estimated 40 percent of households malnourished and 30 percent of children suffering from chronic malnutrition. The hunger statistics in Haiti are startling, but they only reveal one piece of the puzzle for overcoming widespread poverty in Haiti.
Although agriculture is a prominent industry in Haiti, the country is consistently not able to provide enough food to feed its own people. Yfaniel has experience as a farmer, but he still can’t keep enough food on the table for his young children. 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.
Meanwhile, Haiti is continuously hit by hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, floods, and landslides. These natural disasters have destroyed Yfaniel’s family’s crops that could otherwise go towards feeding his family. These disasters also destroy homes that provide shelter to families and businesses that support the local economy, thereby driving communities even deeper into poverty.
To address the need of hunger in Haiti, Cross Catholic Outreach is pursuing a food program for needy families and senior citizens in the remote farming community of Kobonal. To help Yfaniel’s family and many others, we are working with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity on this project, which provides food staples to an estimated 1,515 children and 494 adults.
Father Glenn Meaux established the Kobonal Haiti Mission over 25 years ago and has expanded it from addressing only malnutrition among the elderly to even broader goals for food, water, housing, and microfinancing 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 this 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 to fight child hunger in Haiti and give families the hope and faith in God they need to thrive.