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Famine4 min read


A meal that saved their lives

Emily Towns
Jul 01, 2019

Chrismene felt a mixture of fear and joy the day her teenage daughter returned home. Joy, because her daughter was safe. Fear, because Sarita’s swollen stomach meant that in just a few months, they would have another mouth to feed.

For families in Haiti, putting food on the table is no simple task. Poverty and natural disasters have put people like Chrismene in an impossible position. Unless someone intervenes and helps feed her children, her family will not survive — and they are not the only ones who need help.

No food, no hope

When Chrismene’s husband passed away, she was left with more than grief. She worried about how to provide for her children after losing over half the household income.

The family already lived in a poor village. They had no running water and no electricity, but at least they were alive.

Chrismene struggled under the burden of feeding her eight children. She sold peanuts for a living and did everything she could, but most days she came home empty-handed.

Hungry and malnourished, Sarita, the oldest daughter, decided she must do something to help. Hearing about other girls who had crossed the border into another country and found work, Sarita ran away at the age of 14.

Many girls who are poor and hungry leave their villages in Haiti in search of a better life — only to be trafficked into the sex industry or forced labor. Most of them never come home. What was supposed to be a better future turns into a nightmare.

When Sarita crossed the border, she met an older man who promised to take her out of poverty. Swayed by the thought of regular meals, she followed him. But a few months later, she found herself at the border once again — pregnant and abandoned.

Not knowing what else to do, she returned to her village and to her family.

Home is supposed to be a safe haven to run to in times of trouble, but Sarita wondered how long her baby could stay alive in a place with so little food. Still, she had nowhere else to go.

Food for the body, food for the soul

Chrismene was thrilled to see her daughter return home safely, but her joy did not last long. Over the past few months, her own body had begun to show the effects of malnutrition. She was weak and often sick, making it difficult to go out and get work. And every day she grew weaker, so did her children.

They were starving. Their bellies were swollen and bloated but painfully empty. Their bones and hair grew brittle as their faces became hollow. And as Chrismene watched, her children grew more and more lethargic.

She worried. Was her daughter coming home to die?

By the time Sarita gave birth, she, too, was extremely malnourished. For new moms, this is particularly dangerous. If the mother is malnourished, it is difficult to breastfeed, and formula is far too expensive for impoverished families.

They weren’t going to survive. But then a shipment of food arrived, saving Chrismene’s starving children and her new grandson!

Right now, there are many more children just like Chrismene’s still waiting for help. Poverty has made it impossible to eat regular, nutritious meals and parents are forced to watch as their children wither away.

But there’s something you can do about it.

For $40 — less than most of us spend on just one week of groceries — you can provide enough food to feed a child for an entire year!

For one year, a child will receive the nutrients he needs to grow healthy and strong. For one year, he won’t have to worry about missing school because he is too weak from hunger. And for one year, a parent doesn’t have to worry about losing his child to starvation — all because of your $40.

Give today to help rescue a child and defeat starvation.


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