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Florida church packs food, hope for hungry in Haiti

Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church in Delray Beach, Fla., worked with Food for the Poor to send food and messages of hope to Haiti, where residents are suffering a hunger crisis. Food for the Poor photo

Members of Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church in Delray Beach, Fla., wrote messages of hope to include in food boxes bound for Haiti. Food for the Poor photo

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (BP) – Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church member Michelle Arney Monthervil sees great value in helping her home country of Haiti.

“This is the best way you can tell someone about Jesus, by showing love and compassion,” Monthervil said while packing food boxes that arrived at Port-au-Prince on Labor Day. “When someone gets these food kits, they’ll know someone else is thinking about them. With the situation in the country, right now is the best time to receive something like this.”

Monthervil was among about 50 members of the Haitian congregation that packed food and handwritten messages of hope for Haiti in cooperation with the evangelical humanitarian ministry Food for the Poor (FFTP). Each of the 658 food kits will feed an average family of four for a week, FFTP said.

Haiti is suffering a hunger crisis intensified by rampant gang violence centered in Port-au-Prince and political insecurity continuing since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Adding to the crisis is the reemergence of cholera, stemming from fuel shortages that hindered water treatment efforts, FFTP said.

Michael Chin Quee, FFTP’s executive vice president of Church Alliances, pointed out the value of community partnerships in reaching those in need.

Food for the Poor’s Michael Chin Quee, left, and Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church Pastor Evens Jules partnered in sending food to Haiti. Food for the Poor photo

“This relationship with Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church is both a platform and a springboard into a larger opportunity with the Baptist Church and other churches,” Chin Quee said in a FFTP press release.

Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church Pastor Evens Jules told Baptist Press he works with FFTP because of the charity’s experience on the ground, its stability in following through, its spirit of service and an openness in working with everyone.

“We pray that this is just the beginning, and it will continue,” Jules said.

The work is part of a pilot project FFTP initiated last year after churches, businesses and other organizations offered to host events in partnership with the charity. In providing food for Haiti, FFTP worked with its in-country partners to determine what foods would be most appropriate and clear customs without difficulty, choosing essential items including parboiled rice, corn meal, pasta and various canned goods.

Jules leads Bethel in a variety of evangelical and humanitarian outreaches not only to Haiti, but also the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, St. Martin and Israel.

A member of Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church of Delray inserts a handwritten note of encouragement in a food box for Haiti. Food for the Poor photo

This summer, 57 members of the church took a mission trip to the Dominican Republic that included medical outreach and hosting a vacation Bible school, Jules said.

Each October, the church conducts 30 Days of Love in Delray, completing evangelical service projects at schools, nursing homes, law enforcement agencies and businesses.

The congregation averages about 650 in Sunday worship and has planted six churches in southern Florida since its founding in 1980.