Haiti, the poorest country in the West, came onto everyone's radar after the 2010 earthquake. We became aware of the poverty and desperate conditions magnified by the devastation. I've travelled to Haiti twice (spent three months there on one visit) and know first-hand that, on a good day, it's a mess of a place. Add a natural disaster and the challenges are grave.
A couple weeks ago, my friend Paul Del Valley called and asked if I could help with an event he was coordinating. Paul works with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and organizes food packing events for Kids Against Hunger. Paul recruits churches who in turn recruit volunteers to pack meals that will be shipped to Haiti for hungry people there. The meals are basic but sustaining: rice, soy, dried vegetables, and vitamins that provide life-saving nourishment.
My son Liam and I met Paul and a couple hundred volunteers--moms, dads, kids, grandmas and grandpas, all ages from 3 to 95, by my best guess--at New Hope Christian Church near Indianapolis last weekend. Lincoln Christian University had also sent a group of students a week earlier to help prepare for the event. After a brief orientation, volunteers were set up on assembly lines to load, seal, and pack the food bags. Over the course of three, two-hour shifts, the volunteers packed over 110,000 meals--that's remarkable. Liam helped me photograph the first shift and then he packed on the second two shifts. We were grateful to have been a part of this effort that will help save the lives of our neighbors in the Caribbean.