Project #8012

Nutritious meals for 200 disabled Haitian children

by The Red Thread Promise
St. Vincent
St. Vincent's children

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 
EVERYONE deserves to eat. 
Today and every day.
No exceptions.

Thanks to your generous support, we have raised over $6,000 to provide food for students at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti! That means YOU have provided 8,000 meals to these sweet kids! What an accomplishment, thanks to your big hearts.

When we contacted St. Vincent’s Director Fr. Sadoni to tell him the good news he said:

WONDERFUL! The only thing we have now in our store is some bags of rice and beans. If we find this money, we can buy more rice and beans and other things like vegetables and meat to complete the meals for the children.

While our mission is to serve these children with medical care, we can not ignore their plight and need for nutritious food. They need—no, DESERVE—to be eat healthy food on a regular basis so they can get the best possible outcomes from surgeries and other medical care that we provide.

Until a permanent food source is set in place, The Red Thread will continue to raise funds for food to sustain the children. The cost for three meals is just $2.25 per child per day! Please share this project with friends and family so we can continue to meet the needs of these precious children.

THANK YOU for your generosity.

Kitchen workers preparing the day
Kitchen workers preparing the day's meal

As I write this, it’s just days before Thanksgiving. Our team of 11 has just returned from eight days in Haiti at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince. This Thursday in the US, we’ll sit down to a table groaning with more food than we can possibly eat, a rich bounty of flavors shared among family.

Yet my heartstrings continue to be tugged by the children we saw last week at St. Vincent’s.

We had arrived to welcoming greetings in sign language, Kreyol, English and a multitude of hugs. Our team is well known to these children and the staff who care for them. We’ve made countless trips here to help these special kids who are blind, deaf, missing limbs, unable to walk, some unable to even hold up their own head. With these smallest of gestures, these gentle little ones healed our hearts that had been broken for them time and time again.

The purpose of our visit last week was to conduct both a medical and dental clinic, which we completed during the course of our stay. However, as always, our favorite moments were spent talking, playing, singing, dancing, and creating art with the kids. We love them like our own—they are extensions of our family.

But when mealtime came, our healed hearts broke all over again. While the food situation has improved slightly, it is still abysmal compared to what it should be. Some mornings, they receive a bit of bread and butter or some gruel. Thankfully, every day around 3:00 p.m. everyone receives a bowl of beans and rice. These photos were taken on Sunday, the day where they get a tomato-based sauce to go over the meal and even a morsel of meat.

At first the kitchen staff was apprehensive about us taking photos. Their frowns turned to welcoming smiles when they realized that we were there to HELP bring awareness to their plight, their need, their hunger – and that our desire for that awareness is based on love, not pity.

Like many others, The Red Thread Promise emphasizes thankfulness this week, and we are so thankful for all of the support we have received via your gifts through Global Giving. What we need now is to ensure that the children of St. Vincent’s get 3 meals a day. The meal of beans and rice they are getting now will keep them from starving; nothing more.

The cost for three meals a day is just $2.25 per child. As we approach this season of overabundance and joy in giving, we know that we can do this, that you can do this.

For food for the future, The Red Thread Promise has become part of a project to bring both aeroponic and aquaponic gardening to St. Vincent’s. We estimate that this project will begin in 2015 and help set the groundwork for St. Vincent’s to become self-sufficient. In the meantime, we need to continue to feed the children. Your gifts make this possible. Thank you for everything you are able to share with these children.

Sunday meat sauce
Sunday meat sauce
The kitchen
The kitchen
Sonya and St. Vincent
Sonya and St. Vincent's deaf student
Deaf students always happy to see us!
Deaf students always happy to see us!
deaf, blind and handicapped students
deaf, blind and handicapped students

Food. Water. Shelter. The three most basic human necessities.

EVERYONE needs them: every country, every race, every gender, every economic position, every social status. These are the foundations for sustaining human life.

Included in that collective everyone are the children at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children who are near and dear to our hearts. While this project focuses on two of these items -- food and water -- the kids at St. Vincent’s are in crisis and need all three.

Only a few short months ago, the Haitian government informed Fr. Sadoni, St. Vincent’s Director, that they were taking the Center’s property as well as all of the properties on the entire block for use in re-building governmental agencies destroyed in the earthquake. (Note: in Haiti, the government has eminent domain and this is not an uncommon occurance.)

By summer's end, St. Vincent’s would need to re-locate the dormitory for 90 residential students and staff (including the orphans who call St. Vincent’s home), school (serving 250 children), and clinic (serving all of the students and the community). An exhaustive search was launched for a new space. Staying downtown as close to the current location as possible is critical because there are over 150 students who travel to St. Vincent’s school daily from far across Port-au-Prince and beyond. Moving the facility even a few miles in any direction would directly impact many student’s ability to get to school, prohibiting many from attending at all.

In addition, property prices in the city are very high, out of the range of the only school for handicapped children in Haiti. Most of the good properties have been bought by NGOs and others who can afford the exorbitant prices. The search has left Fr. Sadoni breathless with very few affordable choices.

On either side of St. Vincent’s property, buildings have been knocked down until only the Center’s walls and buildings remain, unnerving the children and elevating everyone’s stress levels. In the midst of packing all items that aren’t nailed down and securing them at another less vulnerable location, the Center’s water cistern was stolen off the roof of the water purification center we helped fund a few years ago. Their drinking water supply has been shut off and they are forced to purchase water for the children at a high cost. In desperation, Fr. Sadoni has resorted to sending every child back to their family as he is unable to feed them. Only the orphans and staff remain.

The food frequency varies depending on funding. It costs $6,060 to feed everyone for a month, only $202 per day. Meals consist of an oatmeal porridge or bread in the morning with rice and beans in the afternoon. Nothing more.

There is so much uncertainty in these children’s lives right now. Let’s give them something constant - food and clean water. Through these gifts they will remember that someone cared about them, a gift that will last far beyond any single meal.

We encourage you to share St. Vincent’s plight with your family, friends, employers, civic groups and churches. It takes a village…

a meal we served the kids on our last trip
a meal we served the kids on our last trip
TRTP VP, Sonya, and deaf students
TRTP VP, Sonya, and deaf students
Fr. Sadoni and Danika, a deaf student
Fr. Sadoni and Danika, a deaf student

Our hearts break a little more with each new conversation with Father Sadoni Leon (Director of St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children in Port-au-Prince) only to hear that the food for the children at St. Vincent’s is becoming even more scarce. The Center—which serves as a dormitory, school and community for the deaf and blind as well as those missing limbs and children who have impaired cognitive abilities—lost it’s main food donor in 2013. Ever since, Fr. Sadoni has been working fervently to establish a new food source for the children so they can grow and thrive while in his care.

Currently, the residential students and the live-in caregivers receive two meals per day. The breakfast is light, usually bread and butter. Lunch consists of a single plate of beans and rice. All meal service for non-residential students (close to 200 children) has been put on hold with no reinstatement date in sight.

In an attempt to ward off hunger pains at bedtime, older residents—mainly teens and young adults—set aside a portion of their lunch to eat in the evening. The younger kids often don’t fare as well. No doubt it is difficult for the smallest ones to set aside part of their meal when their stomachs are still growling.

To add to their plight, the filter on the Center’s water purification system needed to be changed and the system shut down, cutting off the water supply. When the technician came to replace the filter, the custodian of the building wasn’t available so the water service has been temporarily interrupted. Thankfully, this should be rectified quickly, hopefully by the end of this week.

The situation is bleak now, but there is hope! Our partners from West Tennessee were at St. Vincent’s last week to provide well-child checkups and reported that the kids are still relatively healthy. They were kind enough to snap a few pics of the kids at lunch time which we share in this report. The kids’ spirits were high and, as usual, they thoroughly enjoyed having the US team in their midst for the week. They are doing remarkably well under the circumstances.

While a partnership of teams researches both aquaponic and aeroponic garden solutions for the Center’s long-term sustainability and to minimize future food shortages, there is still a real need to fill the children’s bellies. This, friends, is where your support is critical.

With your gifts to this project, we are able to continue to feed the children in the short-term. THANK YOU for both your gifts and sharing this need with others who may be in a position to help. Every gift counts.


Jaden enjoying birthday pie
Jaden enjoying birthday pie

Teenagers are amazing... Words we don't hear strung together often enough! This may be contrary to many opinions, but The Red Thread team stands by it. Here's why.

Jaden is one of those kids whose birthday lands right after the Christmas and New Years hustle and bustle. Family and friends are partied out, the festivities have come to an end, and people are trying to get back into the swing of work and school. Post-holiday blues prevail and the idea of pulling together a celebration seems more like work than fun.

It was no surprise that only three people gathered around Jaden to sing Happy Birthday and enjoy French silk pie on his 13th birhtday. But what happened after the subdued celebration surprised everyone.

As the family was preparing to send a donation to The Red Thread for the food drive, Jaden placed his combined birthday and Christmas gift—$100—in the donation cup. His mom and dad asked him if he was sure this is what he wanted to do.

His response was simple and to-the-point: "I'm not poor. I don't need this."

What an example this young man has set for us all! Thank you to Jaden and all who have given to this project. Your contributions help feed the kids at St. Vincent's. 

$100 donation from a 13-year-old boy
$100 donation from a 13-year-old boy
Meals for the kids
Meals for the kids

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Organization Information

The Red Thread Promise

Location: Havertown, PA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
The Red Thread Promise
Project Leader:
Kathy Korge Albergate
Glen Rock, NJ United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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