THE MEDICAL CLINIC IS OPEN!

 

            The medical clinic in Haiti is complete and operational!  It just opened its doors the beginning of April.  This note was received by Kids Against Hunger-Verde Valley with the photographs below from Kathy Brooks in Haiti:  "You gave sacrificially to make this happen and we want you to know that your giving has paid off!  It is a beautiful, very functional building.  Thank you Brian Smith !  The faces of the patients that gathered at the door yesterday were full of expectancy. What a difference walking into an environment that says "you matter!," especially when you are sick or injured.  These blocks and mortar translate into better health care but also respect and love. "
            Here is a background of how Karen Freeman and Kids Against Hunger-Verde Valley came to be involved in Haiti, leading up to the existence of KAH-Verde Valley and also this medical clinic.  Kim Gould had been going to Jubilee and Gonaieves, Haiti for several years before she had invited Karen to go in 2010, after the major devastating earthquake.  One of the most godly men Karen has ever met, whose name is Emory Wilson, had started a simple work there -- an orphanage and eventually a small school.  He is supported by a group called Christian Light Foundation.  Kim had been going on her own and running small medical clinics when she went in the small village of Jubilee.  She and Karen have been friends for a long time; a nurse and a physical therapist, respectively, by trade they went to help with the medical clinic aspect.
            What Karen experienced there changed her life -- shook her to her roots -- the unbelievable poverty that existed then and still today.  Mothers who have no food to feed their children scrape dirt up off the ground, mix it with a little salt or oil if they have it, bake it in the sun, and feed it to their children -- just to fill their stomachs.  Disease was and is still rampant.  Haiti is one of the poorest of the third-world countries, the government corrupt; and there exists no real infrastructure to rebuild after the earthquake.  Lack of clean water and employment opportunities, malnutrition, people living in squalid poverty, the list goes on.  After the earthquake, of course, the world showed up and poured its help, attention and money into the country for about 6 months then moved on.  The folks who remained, and many have, continue to do the work in their small pockets of influence throughout the country.
            Haiti was, and still is, a beautiful island filled with a beautiful people. One of the most heartbreaking  aspects for Kim and Karen was the suffering of the children, so many orphans and families who are destitute.  They knew they could not change everything.  They just could not do nothing. Does that make sense?
            In 2010 after returning from Haiti, Karen searched and became involved in a national (now international) nonprofit humanitarian group called Kids Against Hunger.  With the help of local churches, we raised the funds to become the first KAH satellite in Arizona in 2011.  At this time, it is still the only satellite in our state.  Basically, KAH is a food-packing satellite.  Funds are raised to purchase the bulk food product, then we organize volunteers to come and pack the food in an assembly-line type fashion.  Up to this point, KAH-Verde Valley has been sending 85% of its food to the ministry it supports in Haiti and keeping 15% for local distribution.  We ask folks to "donate to pack"; because, being a nonprofit, KAH has to purchase the bulk food, pay to have it shipped here, pay for the boxes and bags to pack it, then contribute to get it shipped to Haiti.  The only way we can continue to ship food there is through what is called the Denton Shipping program through the military -- the Air Force National Guard out of Phoenix.
            There have been many changes since KAH-Verde Valley began its work in Haiti and  became a satellite.  Over 550,000 meals have been packed, and the majority of those meals have been sent there.  The ministry in Haiti, in the town of Gonaieves and Jubilee, has grown and changed in many ways.  The work that Emory and Mary Wilson began is now under the headship of Much Ministries by Beaver and Kathy Brooks (www.muchministries.org).  Gonaieves is where the mission house and home of the Brooks' is located.  Emory is still involved and supporting the work stateside, and making many trips back and forth with supplies.  He really has spearheaded the medical clinic aspect.  Another gentleman, named Brian Smith along with his wife Cody and their family who live there, have been instrumental in all the building that has gone on (including the medical clinic) under their organization called Omaha Rapid Response.  Most of this work takes place in Jubilee, the village outside the town of Gonaieves.   Brian has overseen the building of over 50-60 homes for the Haitians there, along with the new school and present medical clinic.  He also has been overseeing the training of Haitian men in the building trade.  The two-room school, which originally served only about 30 kids, was located where the medical clinic building and the daily feeding program took place originally.
            Since that time, a new school for over 100 kids has been built and is growing.  Haitian teachers are being trained and raised up.  A community center has been built, along with the homes that Brian has built for local families.  A well has been dug; so there is a clean water source for all to use, as well as a community garden planted.
            The medical clinic was completed in April, and it is this clinic that the recently donated and shipped solar generator will power.  This generator was donated by Julia Hutton.  Haitian health care workers are also being trained.  Kathy Brooks has begun a local trade school called Second Story Goods for local men and women to create their own products which are sold locally, moved to the one big city in Port Au Prince for resale, and is also available online in the states (www.secondstorygoods.com).
            The work has shifted to include many new things. KAH-Verde Valley is part of the work of "teaching a man to fish" and respectfully raising the Haitian people up  to someday work ourselves out of a job, so to speak.  To that end, our KAH has also shifted emphasis.  We will continue to supply the Haiti ministry with our prepackaged meals, as they are a long way from not needing it.  We presently supply 5 orphanages, the school itself and local village feeding programs.  The food that we pack contains 4 ingredients:  rice, soy, dehydrated veggies and a vitamin/mineral flavoring powder.  However, in our last several shipments, we have also been sending bulk food -- sending 3 of the ingredients minus the rice.  They have begun purchasing rice from a local Haitian rice grower and are now also supplementing the mixture with locally grown fruit/veggies. They are a long way from self sufficiency; however, it is a blessing to be part of the new direction that the ministry there is making.  At the same time, KAH-Verde Valley is increasing the percentage being provided locally as there are many hungry folks here as well.

            The following photos are of the medical clinic under construction, the newly-opened medical clinic and the solar generator that was received in Haiti on March 21st.

            















           

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Haiti Packing Event



In September, 2013, Kids Against Hunger-Verde Valley 8pallets of food (79,920 pre-packaged meals) to Haiti -- food that was packaged at numerous events here.   Along with this food, Kids Against Hunger also shipped 2 pallets of the supplies needed for the people of Haiti to hold their own packing event of 10,000 meals, to provide for themselves and their neighbors.   Among the items shipped were bags of soy, boxes of the vitamin and vegetable mixes, Ziploc bags to hold the food, as well as the bins, utensils and funnel used to package the food.  Rice was not shipped with these supplies for the specific purpose of stimulating Haiti's economy, as their rice farms are also returning.  The rice for this packing event was purchased locally from Haitian farms, to aid in self sufficiency and to aid Haiti's economy.   

Their first food packing event was held recently. Josh, in Haiti, writes the following regarding the food they are receiving and their packing event: 

"The nutrition program is going along wonderfully. We feed about 100 kids a day; and new kids are still being admitted as the needs arise. Of the kids currently in the program, they are all at a healthy weight as well as healthy hemoglobin levels (this compared to three years ago when about 90% of the kids were below weight and hemoglobin levels). Some of the kids are getting fed twice a day depending on what kind of nutritional support they are receiving at home. The food they receive each day comes solely from Kids Against Hunger food shipments, without which we would be unable to continue with the program. There are also a couple orphanages in Gonaives that we give boxes to as well.  Those orphanages contact us if their food supply is low or they did not have the funds to cover food for the month.  In essence, the Kids Against Hunger rice serves as an emergency aid to these orphanages.

We also just finished a trial run at packaging rice here in Haiti using the bulk supplies sent down with the last shipment. We had a team come in from Colorado that did the packaging; and the rice used was locally grown rice. We will continue to use these bags the same way we've used the other packages -- the only difference being that the rice was purchased locally.  In terms of the packaging process, I don't think it holds any benefit to it being packaged in Haiti or Arizona. We had hoped that it may create job opportunities by having it done in Haiti; but I believe it would not be a consistent enough or long enough of a task for a work force to actually develop around the packaging.  From the bulk supplies sent, the most exciting part was being able to invest in the local economy by purchasing rice here.  Obviously, a plate of rice is not going to do much for the overall nutrition of a child; so it's been essential that the other supplies are added to get the kiddos what they need."













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ROTARY YOUTH EVENT





The Verde Valley's Manzanita Outreach-Kids Against Hunger organization teamed with 174 Rotary Youth Leadership Award students, including, Letty (Leticia) Ayala and Sean Williams from Mingus Union High School, to package 29,160 meals for local and global distribution to hungry and starving children in Prescott on January 19th. Included in this group were 11 international students, representing countries all over the world, sponsored by Roraty Clubs all over Arizona. About one-fourth of these meals will stay locally in Yavapai County with the rest shipped to Haiti by the U.S. military. The Yavapai Food Bank will receive 4,320 meals; the Bagdad Food Bank, 1,296; Mayer Seniors programs (Meals on Wheels and Hot Lunch Program), 1,296; and Verde Valley Food banks to be distributed by Yavapai Food Council. -- Verde Independent Newspapers 




























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