Happy New Year! Time to Celebrate!

 
  Happy New Year! There is so much to be thankful for, starting with all of your support!
 

Happy New Year!

As we start 2018, I am happy to report that we met our $35,000 matching challenge! It came down to the wire. In the last four days of December, we raised approximately $17,000. In fact, the last $2,000 came in after 10pm on December 31st! We ended the year with November and December donations totaling $35,455. 

In May of 2014, I set out with a goal to raise $332,560 dollars to help 40 families escape extreme poverty. The goal amount was established to:

  • Replace 40 mud and stick shacks with concrete block houses complete with solar kits and working toilets
  • Build a community center
  • Provide 20 cows and 84 goats to help the villagers sustain themselves

Today, we can celebrate the accomplishment of that goal. To acknowledge this achievement, our donor decided to match the entire $35,455. That means that togetherafter the match is applied, we will have raised $336,536! It also means that the original project is fully funded! Wow! 

None of this would have been possible without the financial support, encouragement, and prayers of a lot of people. From the bottom of my heartand on behalf of the people living in the Village of JoyI want to say Thank You! I am grateful for your support! It took every last one of you to get us over the finish line. You should feel good about what you've done. You have made a huge difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor. They regularly thank God for you and pray that he blesses you abundantly for the kindness you showed toward them.

One last thing...you might be wondering what will happen to the extra $4K. It will still go to good use in the Village of Joy. Food for the Poor has a few additional projects planned. For example, they plan to build pens for the goats and cows. The extra money will be applied toward those smaller projects.

Thank you again for your support! I will share pictures and stories when the community center has been built and the project is officially complete.

Paula Mueller


Matching Gift Opportunity Through December 31, 2017!!!

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  Me and my niece, Amber, with some of the children from the Village of Joy.
 

Great news! Every gift received between now and the end of the year will be matched, up to a total of $35,000. 

As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, please consider investing in the lives of the 40 families in living in the Village of Joy, in Phaeton, Haiti. 

Over the past 3 years, their housing situations have improved dramatically. Now, you can help them complete the transition from extreme poverty to hope by helping to fund projects that will enable them to earn better and more reliable incomes and by providing a community center for the village.  

Every dollar counts! Don't miss this opportunity to be a hope builder!

100% of the money donated for the Village of Joy project goes to the project, and all donations are tax-deductible through Food for the Poor, an 501(c)3 with top ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Ministry Watch. Through a generous donor, all donations received in November and December will be matched up to $35K!

Thanks for your support!

Paula Mueller

Click here to Help 40 Families Escape Extreme Poverty

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Milestone - Ready for Phase 2

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  We are ready to begin Phase 2 - providing each family with the tools and training needed to sustain themselves.
 

Thanks to several generous donations received over the past two months, we have the funds needed to complete construction of the final seven houses for the Village of Joy. When they are finished, we will have upgraded 40 families from mud and stick huts with leaky roofs to concreate block homes that protect from the elements. That will mark a huge milestone that seemed impossible when I took on this project three years ago.

We are now positioned to begin the second of three phases for the project. Phase two involves providing each family with the tools and training needed to develop a reliable way to support itself. If you've been following this blog, you know how difficult it has been for these families to make ends meet. We intend to change that. The specifics will vary for each family, since interests and skills vary among villagers. Some will want to fish, grow crops, or raise animals. Others will want to sew or run a small business. On average, it costs about $800 to provide a family everything it needs to sustain itself. It's such a small amount by American standards, but, in Haiti, the impact is huge.

Food for the Poor wants to complete this project by the end of the year. To achieve this goal, we need to raise the final $77,000 to complete phases two ($800 / family x 40 families = $32,000) and three (building of a multipurpose community center = $45,000).

Please consider making a financial investment to provide the villagers with the tools and training needed to lift themselves out of extreme poverty or to purchase a share of the community center.

Thank you again for all of your support!

Paula Mueller

Click here to Help 40 Families Escape Extreme Poverty.

All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of all money donated goes directly to the Village of Joy project.


No More Ducking

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  Norvil, his daughter, and two grandchildren, who live with him.
 

Food for the Poor normally titles each house in the name of the family matriarch. That had been the plan for Norvil Francois’s house. Unfortunately, his wife died before the house was constructed. After her death, Norvil became the official recipient of the home, which he shares with his daughter, her seven-year-old daughter, and her five-year-old nephew.

It saddens Norvil that his wife never got to see the new house because he knows how much she would have loved it. He divulged that their old house was very small. Then, pointing to his bruised and scarred head, he added, “And the roof was so low that I hit my head all the time.”

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Hatian Luxuries

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  Jaceline and Natalie on the porch of their new home. Check out the fun paint job on their porch.
 

Jaceline Oeilis is mom to Natalie, a beautiful 6 year who aspires to become a doctor when she grows up.

Jaceline has a small business selling packaged dry foods such as rice, spaghetti, beans, and cereal. She buys food wholesale in Terrier Rouge, a nearby town, repackages them into smaller portions, and then sells them in Phaeton. She took the day off work to be home to meet with us.

 

 

 

  

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Free Has a Price

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  Sodline and Stacey. They were my niece's favorite family.
 

Even free houses cost have a price.

Sodline Dorse Aime lives with her eleven year old daughter, Stacey. She supports her family by selling gasoline to motorcycle taxi drivers.

Every three or four weeks, she purchases a full drum of gas in Quartier Morin—about 15 minutes down the main road. She pays $3 to have it delivered, and then sells it in smaller containers.

Sodline doesn’t have enough money to buy the gasoline outright. She borrows the money and pays back the loan after she sells the gas. She keeps what’s left after covering costs.

She couldn’t afford to construct a nice house for them so she was extremely grateful for the gift. But the house did come at a cost.

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Futbol and Honey

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  Meeting with the St. Julien family. This picture is very kind. The house looks much better from the outside than it does from the inside!
 

Witlan Dorvil is married with three children. Her husband works in Savanne, a nearby town, caring for farm animals. Her children—girls aged 9, 11, and 16—attend public school and dream of becoming nurses. Witlan’s oldest daughter also dreams of being a futbol (soccer) player. She currently plays for the Phaeton team and said they win a lot of their matches. Haiti has many very good local futbol teams for girls and boys. However, in a country like Haiti, futbol isn’t a paid profession. People play for the love of the sport.

During our house tour, Witlan spoke quickly and excitedly as she attempted to explain something to Kate. Her initial attempt lost something in translation.

“I think she’s saying there is honey in their house,” Kate told us.

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$8.33 Per Month

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  Posing with Eldine and Mike. Eldine's husband was working when we visited.
 

Five year-old Mike Senisse St. Elad is a shy preschooler. Curious, he followed us as we toured their new home. To draw him out, I asked what he thought of his new house. He giggled but remained quiet at first. With some encouragement from Kate, he proudly escorted us to his room where he sprawled out on his bed as if to say, “This is my room!”

Mike and his parents are very proud of their new life. His mom, Eldine, told us she was one of the people who helped decorate the pavilion at the beach where we ate lunch when we visited last June. She had not been selected for a house at that point, but she worked hard to make everything perfect for our visit, and she hoped to be selected one day. When we met her in March, she told us, “I am very happy to see you so I can thank you in person.”

Before they received their new house, the St. Elad’s rented a house in Phaeton for $100 per year.

What can you rent for $8.33 per month in Haiti?

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Wow. Wow. Wow!

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  Meeting with the St. Julien family. This picture is very kind. The house looks much better from the outside than it does from the inside!
 

Jeany St. Julien and her husband have four children, ranging in age from eight to twenty-one. I could relate to that because I also grew up in a family of six. I could not relate to their living conditions.

“Wow. Wow. Wow,” Amber kept saying as we toured the house.

“It looks worse from the inside than it does from the outside, doesn’t it?” I questioned.

“Yeah, it does!” Amber said, still showing signs of shock. “Wow. Wow. Wow. Crazy.”

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So Cute and Adorable!

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  Walnees and her son, Danny Charles Pierre.
 

Walnees Elmorin lives with her son Danny Charles Pierre. It’s a long, distinguished name of which Danny is proud. Walnees is pregnant, so Danny will have a little brother or sister soon. Since her husband left, Walnees will shoulder the burden of raising two children alone. Unfortunately, men abandoning their families is quite common in Haiti, much as it is in many inner cities in the United States. That is why Food for the Poor always titles a new house in the name of the family matriarch.

Danny, a shy but bright-eyed nine year-old, stole my niece's heart with his charm. To be honest, most of the children stole Amber's heart. However, with Danny, she just kept repeating, "He is sooo cute. He is sooo adorable." I think she would have tried to take him home, if not for the reality that she has enough on her plate just working her way through college.

Danny aspires to become a nurse when he grows up. His mother explained that he was not in school the day we visited because it was a holiday. Apparently, there was some dignitary in town that she wanted him to meet. [wink, wink!]

I looked Danny in the eye and told him, “Study hard. Education is very important.” Kate translated. As was her custom, Kate insisted that Danny promise he would.

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