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“From hopelessness, the work at Nica HOPE has transformed me and now I have a sense of empowerment. I can think of new things to create and then I can sell them to support my family,” Marisa tells me as we stand in the small Nica HOPE shop in Niacragua. Marisa worked at the municipal trash dump of Managua, known as “La Chureca,” starting at the age of 13. She, along with many others, would spend the day sorting through the trash looking for recyclable items they could sell, earning little more than $2 a day.
When Marisa met the owner of Nica HOPE and was offered a job making jewelry, her life was changed forever.
Marisa has now worked at Nica HOPE for 5 years and has become the president of the cooperative. She enjoys her jewelry work and uses the money from selling her jewelry to support her two young children.
As we spoke of her jewelry, you could sense her passion for Nica HOPE and their work. She likes being creative and thinking of new designs. She was very proud to show me the necklaces, bracelets, and ornaments she has made–and she should be proud! The pieces are beautiful!
Marisa now has 21 artisans who work in the cooperative. From the earnings of their jewelry work, the artisans are able to provide the basic necessities for their family: cooking oil, fruits, vegetables, and cookware. The women of the cooperative, Marisa noted, are more than just coworkers, they are their support network. Together, they work through the struggles of life and maintain a hopeful future for themselves, their family, and their community.
Nica HOPE jewelry has been available in the FMSC MarketPlace since 2009 and, this month, there is a new addition! The Nicaraguan Statement Necklace was hand-crafted by Marisa and the other women at Nica HOPE. The necklace is made with seeds, wooden beads, and colorful stones which are available in 6 stunning colors.
The purchase of this necklace supports the creative, hard-working artisans at Nica HOPE and provides 196 FMSC meals!
To purchase a necklace, please visit fmscMarketPlace.org.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9
The race is on to save lives in West Africa. Ebola is still wreaking havoc in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, but amid this crisis looms an even bigger problem—hunger.
Whole communities of farmers have been either wiped out by Ebola or quarantined. Crops lie abandoned. An entire planting season will be lost. Without a harvest, West Africa will have no food.
“As the disease continues to affect so many in West Africa, an additional crisis is arising…the lack of food.” – Chris Dudley, disaster services response director with FMSC’s partner Convoy of Hope
Musu is 8 years old (pictured left). Her mother, a health care worker in one of the hardest Ebola-hit areas in Liberia, contracted the disease while caring for victims & died. Musu was suddenly an orphan, left alone to fend for herself.
Thankfully, a church affiliated with our partner International Children’s Fund heard about Musu’s situation and took her into their care—she now receives nutritious MannaPack™ meals daily.
Musu’s story is not the first. Or the last. It is being told over and over again.
Ebola has taken a toll on the women of West Africa. They are on the frontlines, courageously bearing the brunt of the disease—they selflessly care for the sick at home and in overcrowded health clinics. Mothers continue to fall ill and die, leaving their children alone, without help and without hope.
Please pray for the children who have lost everyone they know.
Because of your servant heart, FMSC is able to respond immediately. More than 8 million meals have already been delivered to West Africa. We expect food needs to intensify in the coming months. We are working closely with our partners to get MannaPack meals into their hands immediately.
In the midst of chaos and crisis, our partners are banding together to reach many towns that have been quarantined—and children like Musu who are in the most heart-wrenching situations.
Mark Gaither, of FMSC’s partner Global Aid Network (GAiN), says, “People who receive aid often ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you risking your life to help me?’ GAiN’s response is, ‘I’m doing this because I work for a Great Physician, and His name is Jesus. He has told me to bring you this aid.’”
What a powerful statement. This is truly the core of FMSC.
Thank you for your passion to fill the bellies of God’s children with nutritious food. You enable us to support our partners and provide meals, love and HOPE to those who need it most.
Together, we are the Body of Christ in action. Together, we can turn around a crisis.
To make a donation, please visit www.fmsc.org/donate.
January 12, 2010, was a cold winter afternoon. My friend Jim sent me a text, “I am so sorry. Praying that your family is safe.”
I was clueless to what he meant. I thought he had sent the text by accident. A few minutes later, my phone rang.
“Are you watching TV?” asked Jim with a shaky voice. “Your country has just been hit by an earthquake. Do you know what an earthquake is?”
Those words scared me, but I still didn’t understand. Later that afternoon I finally realized what had happened. It seemed every TV channel covered the Haiti earthquake. I felt like my stomach was being punched, my hands tied behind my back. Helpless.
Before moving to the United States, I lived in Port au Prince for 11 years. My mother, nine siblings, dozens of cousins and friends lived there. For the next 72 hours, I was unable to reach them. All phone lines were down. For days, I couldn’t sleep or eat. I was desperate for news from my family, but afraid to know what had actually happened.
Watching TV had never been so personal. The scene of a destroyed Port au Prince was synonymous to a horror movie. The neighborhoods and school buildings that were turned into piles of rubble were all too familiar. My former high school in Laplaine. My English institute in Delmas. The school facility where I received my final Baccalaureat exam in Turgeau.
I spent hours asking God, “Why? Why Haiti? Why my country?” A poverty-stricken nation. A fragile political system. A shaky economy with unemployment over 70%. A country where having three meals a day is viewed as a luxury –where so many children die of malnutrition. A country with no infrastructure in place for such a disaster. Why? Only God knows.
In the afternoon hours of January 13, one of my numerous phone calls to Haiti was answered. “Alo, nou la. Potoprens Kraze. Pa gen Potoprens anko,” said my cousin Katia. “Hello, we are alive. Port au Prince is gone. Port au Prince is no more.”
I learned all of my immediate family had survived the monster 7.0 earthquake. I was relieved, but my heart grieved. So many Haitians had disappeared. Forever. Gone.
In the following weeks, I was in awe of the support I received from people who barely knew me and complete strangers. My mother’s house—where I grew up—was damaged by the quake. Several thousand dollars was contributed toward the repair. I am forever grateful.
My first trip back to Haiti was in early March 2010, less than one hundred days after the quake. Port au Prince had been disfigured. A new Creole word had been formed, “Tent.” Everyone needed a tent.
Other words were born out of the tragedy, as well. “Goudou-Goudou” (pronounced Goo-doo-Goo-doo), meaning a rumbling sound of something very heavy, became the new word for “earthquake.”
In 2012 I joined Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) in their effort to make sure that children don’t go hungry. This has allowed me to help Haiti and see the country through a new lens.
As a native of Haiti, I know what it’s like to grow up experiencing hunger. One of Haiti’s undisputable needs is food. Since the 2010 earthquake, more than 285 million FMSC meals have been donated to Haiti. If basic necessities such as water and food are not met, long-term help is not possible.
Haiti has made considerable progress over the past five years. The tourism sector is gaining new life. An international airport in northern Haiti was inaugurated in late 2014. According to the Minister of Haitian Tourism, there has been a spike in the number of people visiting Haiti. Thanks to a new government program called Program for Free and Compulsory Universal Schooling (PSUGO), more children have access to education. The number of people living in tents has also significantly decreased.
Though it remains difficult to understand this catastrophe—one that took the lives of 250,000+ people in less than a minute—I am optimistic that a new Haiti is possible. Throughout the past five years, I have witnessed considerable changes. Hope is evident. Resilience will prevail. A Haitian proverb says, “Espwa fe viv.” Hope makes one live.
Today is a somber day for Haitians everywhere. Please take a moment to pray for the victims and families of this tragedy that forever changed a nation. Haiti still needs you.
Thank you for supporting Haiti through FMSC. God is good.
You are amazing, special, thoughtful, and kind. From all of us at Feed My Starving Children, we simply say, “Thank you!”
(if video does not load, CLICK HERE.)
Thanks for making 2014 an amazing year.
2014 was a big year. With your help, FMSC packed more meals and fed more children than ever before. Here are a few of our favorite stories from 2014.
The story and video ► “Milestone: FMSC Volunteers Pack One Billion Meals”
Info ► “What You Need to Know About FMSC and The Ebola Crisis”
Give here ► www.fmsc.org/EbolaCrisisResponse
Huge MobilePack Events Produce Millions of Meals Around the US
Millions of meals were packed at MobilePack events in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, Prior Lake, MN & many more.
Measuring FMSC’s Impact
In 2014, we worked closely with our feeding partners to provide the most in-depth impact reports ever. The results are stunning and show that FMSC meals are making a huge difference in the health and growth of children.
Read more ► “Measuring Impact: How Many Kids Improve?”
FMSC Meals Reach Refugees
This year, we increased our focus on getting meals to refugees around the world. FMSC meals successfully reached Syrian refugees in Jordan, refugees on the Burma/Thailand border, and refugees from Southern Sudan and The Democratic Republic of Congo in Uganda.
See how crucial FMSC meals are in Thailand ► “World Refugee Day”
See pictures ► “Minnesota Gala 2014 Recap”
MarketPlace Creates Independence for Artisans
The FMSC MarketPlace continued to sell artisan goods providing income for families around the world. Anite (from Haiti) makes and sells hand-made daisies. With the profits made from her first sales, Anite purchased bricks to build a toilet behind her house, as well as rock, cement, and sand to add on to her home.
Read more ► “FMSC Receives 9th Consecutive 4-Star Rating”
Your Incredible and Creative Generosity
We’re so grateful for you. Your creativity is inspiring and your hearts are enormous. Thank you to each and every person who gave their time and money to FMSC this year. We appreciate you!