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Hunger funds crucial for Haiti, Pakistan relief
Mark Kelly, Baptist Press
September 13, 2010
5 MIN READ TIME

Hunger funds crucial for Haiti, Pakistan relief

Hunger funds crucial for Haiti, Pakistan relief
Mark Kelly, Baptist Press
September 13, 2010

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Many

Southern Baptist churches will observe their annual World Hunger Sunday on Oct.

10. For resources to promote the World Hunger Fund, visit www.worldhungerfund.com.)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Relief workers are able to give hope to thousands of

desperate families in Haiti and Pakistan because Southern Baptists have given

generously to their World Hunger Fund, the executive director of a Southern

Baptist relief and development organization said Sept. 13.

An estimated 3 million people in Haiti found themselves in desperate need after

a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince Jan. 12, and more than 15

million people were left destitute when devastating rain and floods swept

through Pakistan in August.

Haitian children affected by the earthquake are receiving Southern Baptist help through the World Hunger Fund. World Hunger Sunday is Oct. 10.

“The magnitude of these disasters staggers the imagination. Families are

wrestling with life and death issues on a daily basis,” said Jeff Palmer, who

leads Baptist Global Response (BGR). “So far we have allocated $2.35 million to

these two disasters and, at least in Pakistan, the need far outstrips the

resources we have available.

“The only reason we can respond to hunger needs at all in disasters like these

is because Southern Baptists give generously to the World Hunger Fund,” Palmer

added. “While the giving response to Haiti has been amazing, donations for

Pakistan are lagging far behind the need. We are praying God will move in the

hearts of His people to give generously to the World Hunger Fund — not only so

we can meet the needs in Pakistan, but also so the fund will not be depleted to

the point that we can’t respond to new disasters.”

Many Southern Baptist churches will use the resources available at

www.worldhungerfund.com to observe their annual World Hunger Sunday on Oct. 10.

Other congregations conduct world hunger campaigns at other times of the year.

Haiti

A total of $4.7 million has been given through BGR and the International

Mission Board for Haiti relief, Palmer said. In the early stages of the relief

effort, work focused on food and emergency aid, in cooperation with Haitian,

Dominican Republic and Southern Baptist partners. The work now is shifting away

from hunger toward using relief funds to provide houses and beds.

Relief funds have been used to build about 60 12-by-16-foot cinderblock houses,

and plans for call for 250 houses to be completed in 2010 and another 1,000 by

the end of 2011, Palmer noted. BGR also plans to provide 2,200 beds and

mosquito nets for Haitian orphans.

“As we look to the future, we are shifting more and more toward restoring safe

weather-secure and earthquake-resistant housing,” Palmer said. “BGR has

designed a simple cinderblock home with better construction specs and a tin

roof that will act as a transitional home for Haitians. We are already seeing

other groups beginning to leave temporary wooden housing models and move toward

our BGR model house. Over the next 18 months to two years, projects in Haiti

will revolve around housing construction, education projects and trauma

counseling.”

Pakistan

A total of $50,000 has been

donated toward the relief effort in Pakistan, but the projected budget needs

for that response total $700,000 — before reconstruction needs even are taken

into account, Palmer said.

“There are an estimated 8.5 million children in urgent need of humanitarian

assistance in Pakistan,” Palmer said. “The number of people affected by the

flooding exceeds the combined number of people affected by the 2004 tsunami,

the Haiti earthquake and the 2008 earthquake in Pakistan. Time is of the

essence in delivering lifesaving supplies.”

To date, projects in the flood zone, which also includes sites in two

neighboring countries, have focused on food and water, as well as some

temporary shelter and cooking kits, Palmer said. A total of 80,513 people have

been helped through 15 projects conducted in partnership with national and

international partners.

Receipts for the World Hunger Fund have tailed off over the past decade,

according to statistics available at www.worldhungerfund.com. In 2003, more

than $8.6 million was given, but by 2008 donations had declined to barely $6.1

million. In 2009, just $5 million was received, while international project

expenses alone totaled $8.79 million.

“We are deeply grateful to Southern Baptists who care about people in need and

demonstrate that concern by giving generously to the World Hunger Fund,” Palmer

said.

“They can celebrate the fact that so many people are experiencing the

love of God and discovering hope for a new life through the projects funded by

the World Hunger Fund. “They can celebrate the fact that 100 percent of every

dollar given is used to help hungry people; nothing is taken out for

administrative expenses,” Palmer added. “Practically no other relief and

development organization can make that claim.

“The needs and opportunities before us are astonishing, and the economic

climate we are in is very challenging,” Palmer added. “Please pray with us that

praying God will move in the hearts of his people to give generously to the

World Hunger Fund this year so hungry souls can be fed and experience the full

and meaningful life God created them to enjoy.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is an assistant editor with Baptist Press. For resources

to promote the World Hunger Fund, visit www.worldhungerfund.com. Baptist Global

Response is located on the Internet at www.gobgr.org.)