When Trinity/HOPE started providing a noon meal we were serving 42 children in 1 school and I knew of three more schools others were feeding. Trinity/HOPE is currently providing a noon meal for 20,680 students, teachers and cooks daily in 107 schools. While we know of no other organization doing what we are, there are several churches and organizations which sponsor various aspects of Haitian churches and schools which may include some provision of some food at school for the students. Even though Haiti’s economy has improved, the innate impoverishment, natural disasters and runaway inflation has kept the nation poor with widespread need for food assistance.
One of the first impressions I had of the Haitian people was their willingness and eagerness to hear the Good News. I remember going house to house in 1999 visiting with the homeowners and sharing the Good News. Neighbors would come, fill the house and line up outside the door to hear every word. The percentage of the overall population that is Christian has grown from 20% to 40% (the official religion of Haiti is Voodoo). There is still that hunger but more have heard, come to believe and are better informed of God’s Word and scripture.
One of the most remarkable changes from then to now is the culture and thinking of the people themselves. In 1999 there was a total belief in the patron system. [If someone is providing something for a certain endeavor, they were obligated to provide everything needed to make that project.] The first year into our feeding programs we asked the parents who had gardens to provide any surplus produce they might have for the programs. They simply said, “No, the programs are Trinity/HOPE’s. They will provide everything.” Now in addition to supplying the wood, water, kettles for cooking and the bowls and spoons each school now pays their own cooks as well as a small percentage of the feeding program cost. Their attitude is slowly changing from “How can you help me?” to “How can you help put me in a position to help myself?”