Church of the Brethren Newsline
Jan. 28, 2010
Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Response, has announced a comprehensive response to the Haiti earthquake, including a feeding program to be based with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Port-au-Prince. The feeding of children already has begun through the Haitian Brethren.
Winter returned to the US on Jan. 26, after he witnessed the first weeks of recovery following the earthquake in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12. He was part in a delegation of four representing the US Church of the Brethren, who experienced first-hand the devastation in and around Port-au-Prince.
The basic needs are great, Winter reported. To be efficient and effective, a comprehensive response for the Brethren community in Haiti is being developed. This is being done in consultation with the National Committee of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) by Winter and Brethren Disaster Ministries, the church’s Global Mission Partnerships program and executive director Jay Wittmeyer, and Jeff Boshart, coordinator of the Church of the Brethren home rebuilding program in Haiti. The rebuilding program has been working in Haiti for more than a year, responding to the four hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the island in 2008.
Winter said, “We are working on a five-stage feeding program. The first step is a school feeding program, which started on Jan. 25. The school is in Port-au-Prince and is named Paul Lochard No. 2 school. Approximately 500 children, some of which are ‘restevec’ children (children given as slaves by families too poor to feed them) are provided one hot meal a day.”
Seventeen teachers have been put back to work to help with the program. Several of the teachers are Haitian Brethren pastors, including Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens. The school is not officially open for teaching, but is providing food and care for the children, many of whom are now homeless.
In the coming week, food rations will be provided to communities around the three Haitian Brethren congregations in the greater Port-au-Prince area: the Delmas 3 Church, Marin Church, and Croix-de-Bouquets Church.
The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources ministry at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., continues to respond to the earthquake with shipments of relief materials made on behalf of Church World Service (CWS), Lutheran World Relief (LWR), and IMA World Health. The ministry is led by director Loretta Wolf.
As of this morning, the Brethren Service Center’s entire stock of hygiene kits has been shipped, and there is a great need for more.
An air-freight shipment from the Brethren Service Center arrived in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 22 containing 500 lightweight blankets, 1,125 baby care kits–some CWS baby care kits and some from partner LWR; 10,595 hygiene kits–most from CWS and 325 from LWR; 720 tubes of toothpaste from LWR; and 25 flashlights with batteries.
Shipments also are going out by ocean freight to the DR with additional blankets and kits. Sixty IMA World Health medicine boxes have been shipped by air freight, each containing enough essential medicines and medical supplies to treat the routine illnesses of about 1,000 adults and children.
Church of the Brethren staff also are working to develop a new household kit for Haiti. The kit will include kitchen essentials and a simple water purification system. Information on this new kit program will be available soon.
Go to www.brethren.org/HaitiEarthquake for more about the Brethren relief effort for Haiti, including links to video of the work at the Brethren Service Center (provided by Brethren videographer David Sollenberger); video of Winter reporting on the situation in Haiti; a Haiti blog including reports from the Brethren delegation; and more.
Also at www.brethren.org/HaitiEarthquake are a variety of ways to help out, including instructions for donating desperately needed hygiene kits; an offering of prayers for Haiti; online donations to the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (or send checks by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120); and a bulletin insert suitable for Sunday morning worship, to help inform congregations of the Church of the Brethren response.
— Kathleen Campanella is director of public relations for the Brethren Service Center.