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 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 has supported 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, Tennessee, the store has not only promoted Buckets of Hope with a display, it has even stocked 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 have been able to 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.
Each five-gallon bucket was to 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 were to 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 could not contain additional or substituted food items other than those specified. Uniform buckets and food contents minimized problems with U.S. and Haitian customs.
Each state convention developed a collection process and delivery deadline. States were responsible for delivering the buckets to a warehouse in Hialeah, Florida, for placement in cargo containers for immediate shipment to Haiti by the end of March.
Each of the buckets included 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.
Southern Baptists can donate to the Haiti disaster relief effort at www.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.