A Message from Josh in Haiti About the Blessing of Having a Solar Generator

      This is a message received from Josh in Haiti, who distributes KAH-Verde Valley's food, that we just had to share with you:
      "You do not know me; however, I and the people I live around have been very blessed by what you have done for us.  My name is Josh Rustin; and I live in Gonaives, Haiti - in the neighborhood where the solar generator you donated was sent.  I was the person that Kim and Karen initially contacted about whether or not we could use the generator; and as soon as they mentioned i,t there was no doubt in my mind as to where it was needed.  Around the time that they first emailed me, we had been working on the completion of a new medical clinic building.  Unfortunately, the city does not run electricity out to our neighborhood; so our options for power up until that point were fairly limited - namely, we have to run a generator whenever we need electricity.  As you can imagine, that's not the most ideal situation when you are running a clinic.  Apart from the laborious nature of having to go crank the generator every time it was needed, we were also looking at a significant portion of the monthly budget having to be put towards fuel.  The nurses that run the clinic do an incredible job of organizing funds and ensuring that the money they have stretches as far as possible in providing medical care to the people in the neighborhood.
      At the time, the thought of having to sink part of their budget into fuel was, I guess you would call it, a necessary evil.  If possible, we would obviously prefer putting the fuel money towards direct medical assistance; but at the same time, it was necessary to buy fuel so as to provide good medical assistance.  Thus, you can imagine our joy when we first heard about the solar generator.  The timing of it all worked out beautifully.  The first email came as we were having to discuss power options; and then it arrived right before the clinic opened.  It now sits on top of the clinic soaking up the blazing Haiti sun and giving the clinic all the power they need every day.  It is often difficult to operate day-to-day clinic functions via a gas-powered generator because it's too expensive to run it continuously.  Thus, you have to put off anything that requires electricity until it's on and then complete all electric-needy projects at once.
       I say that to hopefully paint a picture of how great it is to have a solar powered generator that provides electricity 24/7. The way it enables the clinic to not only run better in the day-to-day functions but also the money it saves on fuel is truly an enormous gift to helping the clinic make an impact in the neighborhood.  I don't think I can fully communicate the ways in which having power and not worrying about fuel costs makes a difference in allowing the medical staff to do what they love and to do it well.
      As an aside, I mention one other way it is going to be used.  Prior to the clinic being built, we had been working on a neighborhood garden; but our biggest hindrance thus far had been water.  We had tried a couple different methods of getting water; but none of them were effective - until the solar powered generator arrived.  We will now be able to pump water into a water drum that's placed on the roof of the clinic and then allow that water to irrigate the garden.  Obviously, water is a big deal to a garden; so it makes me pretty excited that we've figured out a way to do it well.
      I tell you all of that in hopes of not only letting you know how the generator is being used but also so that you may get an inkling of how beautiful of a gift it has been to us.  I'm not sure of what all you had to go through to get it all the way to Haiti; but I'm guessing that it wasn't easy.  I would like you to know that down here there are many people that you've never met that are impacted every day by your effort to do something like send a generator.  Some of those people know who you are but many of them don't.  It's kinda cool how that all works.  All of that to say, thank you Julia. You have done more for what happens here than you know and for that we can only be grateful."
      We also want to give a special thanks to Kim, Karen, Jaime, Sgt. Salter and the U.S. Air Force, Reese, Dan and Debra Jones, and everyone at Orca Communications, as well as Julia at ExTreme ReTrailers, LLC. 


Paid In Full Workers Help KAH

          Kids Against Hunger--Verde Valley was in dire need of help to pack up the remaining bulk food product that they had, otherwise we would have had to throw some of it awa, as it would not have withstood the summer heat sitting in the warehouse over the summer.  Director Karen Freeman put out a last-minute cry for help, and the youth of Verde Valley Christian Church and their leaders stepped up to the plate.
         On June 6th, over 35 kids and their leaders, during what is called "Paid in Full" week, donated their time and their efforts to pack 14,472 meals for the starving kids in Haiti, along with the majority of the food going to local food banks and hungry families here in Yavapai County. Thanks to VVCC's Pastor of Student Ministries Matt Shires especially for allowing his kids to serve the Lord by serving others less fortunate then themselves. The philosophy of Paid in Full is performing work projects in the community providing free labor as well as free materials to demonstrate Christ's example of paying our debt in full.  These kids had worked outside in the heat all week, and this packing day was the last day of camp. Even though it was "toasty" in our building to say the least, these high schoolers all had a great attitude and worked hard for several hours packing over two pallets of food.  Thank you all, including those of you on the KAH team who were willing to step in at the last minute to carry the load!
        There was still a need to finish up the rest of our bulk soy; and the younger kids, also of VVCC, came to the rescue on June 10th.  Doug Bridge, VVCC's Pastor of Family Ministries, brought his summer interns to serve as part of their Young Timothy Interns programHe had also put out the call to any kid over 8 years old from our Sunday school to come help; and some of those kids showed up, along with more KAH adult volunteers who willingly came to help us pack. Once again we had 3 teams who altogether packed up every last scoop of soy -- to the total of 37 boxes or over 8,000 meals for the hungry.
        In less than a week, VVCC youth teams and KAH team members and volunteers therefore packed a total of over 22,472 meals for the hungry.  Not only will it bless all those who will receive much-needed food; but  it especially blessed Karen, who only had to ask and everyone said yes, rearranged their schedules and came and met the need.   Thank you and bless you all for your hard work. May He bless you all one hundredfold

in return!



        On April 22nd, the one-year anniversary of Kids Against Hunger-Verde Valley's official open house, a mini packing event was held with the Senior's Group from Verde Valley Christian Church.   It was also the first official packing event in our own building!  With approximately 35 participants and 5 volunteer helpers, 22 boxes (equaling 792 bags of food, which equals 4,752 meals) were packed in an hour!  The group also donated $70 to purchase t-shirts.  With that donation and the meals packaged, we will have over 5,000 to provide meals for the hungry.  It really helped our organization use up unused bulk product before it sits through the summer (besides the blessing of having packaged meals, which will all go for local distribution). Fun was had by all; and we look forward to hosting packing events with them on a periodic basis -- by their request.  A great group proving seniors ROCK!




            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.