Little ones — and not so little at S. Nicolas
Update Sept. 2015. Since 2008, Feed My Starving Children, a Minneapolis-based non-profit, has donated to the Mission a 20′ container-load of prepackaged balanced meals — enough to provide a meal each school day throughout the year for the 400+ students, teachers & assistants in the two schools throughout the school year. The packets contain a nutritionally balanced mix of rice, ground soybeans, vegetable protein, vitamins and minerals. This food is absolutely free — at their warehouse in Aurora IL. We “use-tested” a package of it at home. Each packet is supposed to serve six. We cooked one up. Tasted it — edible, but not very interesting. Added a bit of Haitian spices and it was very tasty. Served three adults and two children (good eaters all!) as the sole dish for dinner one night, and had some left over for the next day. Certainly a lot better buy than a box of Captain Crunch!
The containers of food have indeed provided nourishment throughout the school year for children (and teachers), most of whom would not otherwise have gotten a single solid meal a day. The total cost for each year has been about $8,000 (for shipping to Haiti, then local freight delivery and meal-preparation costs), nearly all of it raised in “special donations” tagged for the project. The cost: about $20 per child for the entire year, or about 5¢/ meal. What a bargain!
Each year the problems are somewhat different, but we seem now to have arrived at a stable route for getting the food into Haiti, cleared through customs (a major hurdle) and ready for in-country shipping, thanks to Help for Haiti. The costs are considerable, as indicated above, but negligible considering the enormous benefit. Shipping costs for 2015-2016 have been paid and the shipment is in transit, but there remain yet all the in-country expenses.