FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine Joins D.C. Roundtable on Crisis in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2023) – As attention around the violence in Haiti escalates, Food For The Poor (FFTP) President/CEO Ed Raine was invited to attend a bipartisan roundtable last week in Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing situation and possible solutions to the current impasse.
Raine was invited by U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler, whose Congressional District is just north of New York City and represents one of the largest Haitian diasporas in the country.
Raine said the discussion focused on security, humanitarian aid and the elections process in Haiti.
Working in Haiti for 37 years, FFTP is uniquely positioned to get work done in Haiti as the country faces some of the most severe economic challenges it has ever experienced, Raine shared with the roundtable.
He told the group that the charity maintains a staff of nearly 400 people from Haiti and two warehouses. From there, the charity supports 13 distribution centers through the churches and 3,800 distribution end points.
“This was an opportunity for Food For The Poor to make other groups aware of our significant presence in Haiti,” Raine said.
The hour-long roundtable hosted by Rep. Lawler included Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, an aide to Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, and representatives from the U.S. State Department, USAID, key non-governmental organizations, and Haitian American community leaders in New York.
“The ongoing situation in Haiti is an important issue to my constituents and a vital national interest,” said Rep. Lawler. “Earlier this year, I introduced a bipartisan resolution with House colleagues calling for the U.S. to prioritize security and stability in Haiti. I also hosted a roundtable and town hall with Haitian leaders back home in the Hudson Valley. I will continue working with my colleagues in Washington, with the Administration, and with our nonprofit partners to ensure that Haiti continues to receive necessary relief.”
Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, is Florida’s first Haitian American Democrat to serve in Congress. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar represents parts of Miami-Dade County.
“During this period of uncertainty, humanitarian assistance makes a real and lifesaving difference for Haitians,” said Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick, Co-Chair of the Haiti Caucus. “But aid is only effective if it ends up in the hands of those who need it the most. This roundtable allowed for an honest conversation about what solutions are needed to address Haiti’s urgent humanitarian crisis and highlighted the role that the Haitian diaspora can play in creating a more stable, secure Haiti.”
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, as much as 80 to 90 percent of Port-au-Prince has fallen under the control of gangs, with the entire nation experiencing ongoing violence, kidnappings and killings.
So far this year, more than 2,500 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured due to the escalating violence, according to the United Nations. At least 970 Haitians have been kidnapped, and 10,000 forcibly displaced from their homes. And more than 10,000 have sought refuge in public squares or with other families.
Even FFTP-Haiti has not been immune from the violence.
Two team members from FFTP-Haiti and one of their family members were recently kidnapped near the charity’s Port-au-Prince offices, but later released. And 28 FFTP-Haiti team members were burned out of their homes and displaced by gang violence in Carrefour-Feuilles, where about 5,000 people have fled their homes.
Despite the challenges, FFTP-Haiti’s office has remained open, and the charity has continued to clear containers of aid and distribute essential food, hygiene items and medical supplies to families in desperate need. When roads have become blocked by armed gangs and burning tires, the charity has relied on barges and sea routes instead.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.