We are learning more details regarding the Haiti kitchen fire as we make final preparations for the trip I will be leading on Saturday to further assess the situation and finalize our rebuild plans.
A few have asked how the fire happened. It appears to have been caused by an electrical issue or equipment malfunction. We are most thankful that there was no loss of life or further damage to the mission because THERE IS NO FIRE DEPARTMENT to speak of in Haiti! This is not America -- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with 60% of the population living on less than $2.41 per day. An American firefighter who happened to be in residence at the mission did everything in his power to stop the blaze, but with no firefighting equipment or emergency support, he was limited in his response.
It was gut wrenching to hear that the children from the orphanage ran in the direction of the fire to offer their help. This was their kitchen! (Of course, they were kept at a safe distance.)
The kitchen served the mission and the community in a remarkable way. It provided 850,000 meals to mission workers and staff and is responsible for another 1.6 million meals for the Haitian community. That is why it is absolutely imperative that we rebuild the new kitchen to the highest standards -- to ensure safety, and support the increased demand.
As of this morning we had reached about 45% of our initial goal of $40,000. Thank you to everyone who has donated generously to help! My team is now expecting the cost to exceed our initial estimate by 25% or more.
I'll be on the ground in Haiti in about 48 hours. I'm committing Mercy Chefs to this project, but we don't have funds in our budget for "Haiti kitchen fire" and it is likely that the actual cost will far exceed our initial estimate of $40,000. I'm depending on friends like you...
As the Lord leads, please consider making a gift today to help Mercy Chefs rebuild the Haiti kitchen. Please go here to make your tax-deducible gift and help us rebuild this kitchen and continue other vital efforts:
I can't overemphasize what an amazing success story this kitchen has been. Unlike much of what happens in Haiti, this kitchen has been bearing fruit for nearly a decade in changed lives and a positive impact on an entire community. More than a million meals served. Real jobs for the local community (pictured here are three of the full-time kitchen workers). And it doesn't require a constant influx of funds. That means your gift TODAY to help me rebuild the kitchen will literally bear fruit for YEARS TO COME!
Again, I'll be on the ground in Haiti in about 48 hours to further assess the situation. We are under a very tight deadline because the kitchen needs to be functioning by June 1 to support the many U.S. missionaries who come for the summer.
Please pray! And thanks in advance for your continued financial support.
Gary LeBlanc, Founder