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One set of food staples finally cleared in Haiticomment (0)

June 10, 2010

After languishing in the Port-au-Prince port for more than a month, the first shipping container filled with Buckets of Hope was released by the Haitian government June 2. The container, owned by the Florida Baptist Convention, carried buckets of various necessities donated by Southern Baptists across the country. Alabama Baptists contributed approximately 8,300 of the Buckets of Hope containers.

A second container owned by the Florida convention and filled with 41,200 pounds of rice also was released June 2 from the port in Saint Marc, located north of the capital city.

Dennis Wilbanks of the Florida convention’s partnership missions department reported that the two containers were delivered to their location June 3.

“Before Sunday they will all be distributed,” Wilbanks said.

There is urgency to delivering the buckets to Haitian pastors and distributing the contents to their communities as soon as possible, he said. “We must give the distribution report to the government officials in order to get more released.”

During the months of February and March, more than 152,000 Buckets of Hope were packed with rice, flour, beans, oil and other food by Florida and Southern Baptists as they sought to alleviate some of the hunger after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. The foodstuffs were placed in utility buckets, sealed and labeled with the gospel message.

After being collected and sent to locations in Florida and Shreveport. La., the buckets were placed in shipping containers before being sent to Haiti. Only a portion of the containers were sent to Haiti initially, but these have been backlogged for weeks by government bureaucracy.

Wilbanks and other Florida convention staff members had been working their way through the highest Haitian government channels in requesting the release of the containers.

While Wilbanks cautioned, “The battle is not over; this is just the first one,” he is resolute that the other containers will be released soon.

“Most of all, I am thankful that by Sunday 41,200 pounds of rice and the contents of almost 1,400 Buckets of Hope will be on the table of so many who are hungry,” he said.

Fritz Wilson, Florida’s disaster relief director, said another 14–16 containers are awaiting release from the Haitian ports. (BP)

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