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Food for Work in Haiti

Workers unload rebuilding supplies in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. Photo: Thomas Lohnes/DKH/ACT

December 16, 2016

By Simon Chambers

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On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated isolated rural areas of Haiti, destroying homes, crops, roads and other infrastructure.  PWRDF has been and will continue to be providing relief to people affected by the hurricane.

In addition to immediate work in providing food, shelter, water, medical aid and other necessities in the first days after the hurricane, PWRDF has just started a three month food for work program with the Lutheran World Federation.  Funding for the program is coming from PWRDF, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and– through the Foodgrains Bank—the Canadian government.

650 families will benefit from this new program.   Each family will receive a month’s worth of food (milled corn, black beans and vegetable oil) and will be asked to spend 12 days of the month working on community projects before they receive their next food allotment.

20% of the households will be unable to provide the community work because their members are elderly, disabled, or vulnerable for other reasons.  The community organizations in the four villages will make the final decision as to which households are able to provide the work and which will be exempt.

Food for work is a win/win type of project for PWRDF.  It provides life-saving food to the most vulnerable people in the communities.  The community projects generally involve repairing roads, water systems, and other infrastructure that will benefit the whole community, not just those who have received food.  And it allows the families who participate to know that they are not just receiving a handout, but are valued for the work they contribute to their community, improving it for everyone.