Radio personalities travel to Haiti with Food For The Poor
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2009) – On-air personalities from across the country traveled to Haiti this fall with the Christian relief and development organization, Food For The Poor. For many of the travelers this was their first experience in witnessing destitution.
“The emotions that come with this are overwhelming,” said Tim Hartlage, General Manager of 94.7 FM WFIA in Louisville, Ky. “They eat dirt cookies just to fill their stomachs so the hunger does not kick in, but that does not prevent malnutrition.” Since returning to the air in Louisville, his passionate pleas have stirred listeners to help those starving in Haiti.
WTBN Production Director and morning show host Bill Carl purchased “mud cookies” in Haiti so he could bring them back to Tampa, to show others that the cookies are real. The cookies normally sell for 5 cents each, but Carl paid a dollar for four because he did not want to take all the cookies she had to sell for the day. Even then, Carl was filled with regret and moved to tears. What if he had unknowingly taken someone’s meal for the day?
“This stuff is not real until you touch it,” Carl said in reference to the mud cookies that he held firmly in his left hand. “But once you touch it, you have to understand that tonight there is a child who does not have enough to eat so he is going to eat dirt. There is a mom, who is pregnant, who doesn’t have proper nutrition so she is going to pay someone to feed her dirt.”
“Food For The Poor is providing real food, real housing, real education and real medicine – and when you give, you are giving more than dirt,” Carl said.
In Haiti the group witnessed firsthand the work of Food For The Poor, and met the families featured in the radio campaigns, as well as those who wished to thank radio listeners for their compassion. They distributed food at Food For The Poor’s feeding center, which provides a lifesaving meal to approximately 15,000 people six days a week. The travelers also visited several of Food For The Poor’s sponsored orphanages and village for the elderly.
On-air appeals raise money to feed starving families in Haiti. Today, one in eight Haitian children dies from starvation before the age of 5.
Standing in a barren school yard in Cité Soleil, Frank Trotta from Miami station 1080 WMCU said the people he met in Haiti had touched his heart.
“The sweat is stinging my eyes and the smells and sights of what is around us is terribly moving and there is desperation in this place,” Trotta said. “But in that desperation there is a hope that they have in God, and that builds strength in us, and I just want to reach out to the listening audience who cannot be here to see this and feel this – this is a Godly work that Food For The Poor is doing – that we need to get involved with.”
One such personal connection was made when a woman in Cummings, Ga., was driving to work listening to Atlanta’s 104.7 FM The FISH morning team hosts Kevin Avery and Taylor Scott. They endorsed Food For The Poor’s work and shared experiences from their Food For The Poor mission trips to Jamaica and Haiti. The FISH radio campaign was educating listeners about the critical need for sturdy, safe housing in Jamaica.
Just a month earlier, Debbie Fox had been watching Extreme Makeover and crying over the family’s situation. “At the end of the show, I just prayed to the Lord that someday I would be fortunate enough to be able to buy a house for someone else,” she said.
“When I heard you could donate a roof, or a room, or the entire house I thought, I can swing this – and this is God answering my prayer! It’s time for me to go into action,” Fox said.
Fox donated a home for a Jamaican family through Food For The Poor, but she did not stop there. She then traveled to Jamaica to help paint the house and meet the family who now call the house their home.
Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. We provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information visit www.foodforthepoor.org/.