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Groups hope to send 150,000 ‘food buckets’ to Haiti

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Organizers of the “Buckets of Hope” initiative for Haiti relief estimate that 150,000 food buckets will be shipped to Port-au-Prince to help combat hunger in the earthquake-devastated country.

Several Baptist state conventions have announced a goal for the number of buckets their state’s church members will contribute including Kentucky with 10,000 buckets; Tennessee with 7,000 buckets; the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia with 6,000 buckets; Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina with 5,000 buckets each; Arkansas with 4,000; and New Mexico with 2,100.

“Exciting things are happening to the Buckets of Hope campaign in Colorado,” Mike Gaines, disaster relief director for the Colorado Baptist General Convention, said, adding that churches there are turning Buckets of Hope into outreach efforts.

Wal-mart, the world’s largest retailer, also is supporting the project by encouraging individual store managers to cooperate with Southern Baptists who come in to buy buckets and items to go in them.

For instance, at a Wal-mart in Lexington, Tenn., the store has not only promoted Buckets of Hope with a display, it is even stocking various food products on centralized Buckets of Hope shelves, making it easier and quicker for customers to fill their buckets.

Under Buckets of Hope, which was launched in January, Southern Baptists can purchase five-gallon, plastic buckets and pack them with required foodstuffs for $30 each. The food in a single bucket can feed a Haitian family for a week.

Baptists also are asked to include a $10 cash contribution, placed in an envelope and attached to the bucket’s lid, to help with the cost of shipping the buckets to Haiti.

The five-gallon bucket with a handle and a tight-fitting lid may be purchased at Wal-mart (SKU# 00982650640). The bucket must be new, unused and without any logo or other commercial imprint. After the food has been consumed, the bucket will remain as a handy item for use by the Haitian family.

The food contents of the bucket can be generic, store-brand items, including rice, cooking oil, dry black beans, all-purpose flour (not self-rising), white sugar, spaghetti noodles, peanut butter and zip-lock plastic storage bags. Buckets cannot contain additional or substituted food items other than those specified. Uniform buckets and food contents will minimize problems with U.S. and Haitian customs.

Each state convention is developing a collection process and delivery deadline. States will be responsible for delivering the buckets to a warehouse in Hialeah, Fla., for placement in cargo containers for immediate shipment to Haiti by the end of March.

Each of the buckets will include a label in French Creole indicating that the Bucket of Hope is a gift of Christian love and support from Southern Baptists. Once the buckets arrive in Haiti, they will be distributed by Haitian Baptist churches.

For specific information about the food contents and how to uniformly pack each bucket, go to namb.net/bucketsofhope. The site also includes a downloadable flyer for distribution in churches.

Southern Baptists can donate to the Haiti disaster relief effort at namb.net by clicking on the disaster relief icon on the right side of the homepage. Checks payable to the North American Mission Board may be sent to
NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543, or contributors may call 866-407-6262. Donations also are being collected via cell phone texts. Simply text “nambdr” to 40579, and a $10 donation will be charged to your cell phone account and sent to Southern Baptist disaster relief.

Taxpayers who plan to itemize charitable deductions on their 2009 federal tax returns should heed the March 1 deadline, NAMB advised. Contributions for Haiti relief, including Buckets of Hope or by check, credit card, debit card or texting made between Jan. 11 and March 1 will be eligible for a special one-time tax deduction, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Mickey Noah writes for the North American Mission Board.

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