ELLINWOOD — Since Hurricane Matthew made a direct hit on the island of Haiti Oct. 4, Ellinwood based Star of Hope, a non-profit international aid organization, has sent over $280,000 worth of relief, completing nine interventions in devastated communities in that country.
Volunteers Tony and Larry Boursiquot have been sending back communications to CEO Mark Presson as they make progress throughout the island to communities touched by seven schools operated through Star of Hope ministries. Excerpts from these communications have been provided to the Great Bend Tribune.
Lives saved in Haiti, sixth intervention completed
The sixth distribution took place in a community in LaValle named Dade. It went extremely well. It was executed as planned and worked without a hitch. From start to finish, it took exactly two hours to complete. If the venue had been adequate enough to house all the recipients at once, we could have done it in an hour and 30 minutes or less. The entire community was very corporative and very well mannered.
We had a masterful ground game the two days preceding the distribution. The two teams, each comprised of, one Star of Hope Haiti staff member and two local volunteers, made all the difference as they visited every single house within a three-mile radius from the center of the target area. They then painstakingly walked circa 12 miles in two days in some of the most rugged terrains in the region to be sure the recipients were correct.
The simple, but adequate or rather very effective sound system (speaker and microphone) was used as a result of the lessons we learned from the previous distributions, made a huge difference. We did not have to shout instructions to a big crowd for two hours as we have done before. This was a great investment for the team. We knew we needed something more effective than yelling, but we never imagined that it would have such an impact in our delivery and how positively the crowd responded to our instructions.
During the two-day registration process, all the households we visited were extremely corporative and appreciative. During the distribution, the behavior and cooperation were exemplary. However, as it is the case for every distribution event, while the kits were being distributed and afterward, we had some people in the crowd who were not registered or qualified to be present. Those people complained that they did not have a chance to participate. We had to explain to them with sympathy and compassion that even though we would love to help, we were limited to 625 family food kits.
There were only two issues, but neither of which was within our control: 1) the local police presence we requested in person and in writing arrived an hour late. 2) Even though the weather was mild, since we had to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time, it felt incredibly hot. In any case, it is never a good thing when a distribution of this magnitude has to be done outdoors. However, no indoor alternative was available in the region.
La Vallee is not a current Star of Hope Haiti project, it is 30 km from our project in Marigot. La Vallee was not as impacted as the other areas where we performed emergency interventions (Les Cayes), but the impact was of a significant magnitude to the people who were already in chronic poverty before the disaster.
Ninth intervention helps 510 families
The ninth humanitarian food distribution by Star of Hope took place in Jeanton today Nov. 8, 2016. 510 food kits were delivered and transported in unmarked trucks to the area safely. A kit is made up of 25 lbs. of rice, 10 lbs. of pinto beans, 10 lbs. ofELLINWOOD — Since Hurricane Matthew made a direct hit on the island of Haiti Oct. 4, Ellinwood based Star of Hope, a non-profit international aid organization, has sent over $280,000 worth of relief, completing nine interventions in devastated communities in that country.
Volunteers Tony and Larry Boursiquot have been sending back communications to CEO Mark Presson as they make progress throughout the island to communities touched by seven schools operated through Star of Hope ministries. Excerpts from these communications have been provided to the Great Bend Tribune. sugar, six bags of spaghetti, four cans of fish, and 1/2 gallon of cooking oil. We estimate that the kit should last a family of six people around four weeks. The target group was families living in Jeanton and covered people coming from eight nearby villages
As of all the previous distributions, food coupons were delivered door to door to each targeted house the days before the distribution. The slogan remains the same: “One coupon in one house”. The goal was to prevent more than one kit to an entire a household. We wanted to touch as many families as possible.
This distribution went very well as did the previous ones. It was a teamwork between Star of hope and local leaders to carry out the food distribution to the victims with absolute respect and dignity. The distribution started at 10 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.. So in less than two hours we served 510 people effectively and safely.
All the recipients were very appreciative and happy. They were mainly happy with the quantity, the quality, and safe atmosphere during the distribution. We treated the recipients with utmost respect and they responded in kind, sending thanks and gratitude to Star of Hope and to all generous donors.
These letters only spotlighted two of the interventions, and more are planned, the Boursequot’s said. It is expected to take several months before victims are able to repair infrastructure and harvest domestic crops. The hurricane came as many still had not fully recovered from the 7.0 earthquake that occurred Jan. 12, 2010
Haiti is only one of the countries touched by humanitarian efforts of Star of Hope. Others include children institutionalized and with special needs in Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Belarus, the indigenous and poor children of the Chaco province of Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Columbia and Trinidad, and school children in poverty living in Ghana, Kenya, and the Philippines. In depth information about each of these projects can be found at www.starofhope.com.
Donations received by Star of Hope by individuals wishing to take part in the nationwide Giving Tuesday movement will be earmarked for Haiti for further help to hurricane victims with life giving food, said CEO Mark Presson. The organization does not have an endowment fund with the Golden Belt Community Foundation, but can accept donations directly.