Republic Airways is on a mission to make a difference. The Indianapolis-based airline is working through Food For The Poor to build a village in the community of Barriere Battant in Petit Goave, Haiti. Republic Airways CEO/President Bryan Bedford is no stranger to giving back, but it was a visit to the Caribbean nation last year that moved him to transform lives.
“It was so easy to write a check and not have the boots on the ground,” Bedford said. “Yet, it wasn’t until I made my first trip to Haiti that I realized the desperate need that existed for the families – especially the children. No matter what our struggles are, they pale in comparison with the people who have to fight on a daily basis just to get clean drinking water or to take care of a child with a routine illness.”
There are no jobs in the Barriere Battant community, which is a two-hour drive west of Port-au-Prince. Many families are living in shacks made of wood, sticks and old zinc. They have no access to running water or a sewage system, leaving many vulnerable to cholera and other waterborne diseases.
Republic Airways wants to build a village of 80 homes, which will provide secure shelter for more than 500 people, and a six-classroom school, with an administration office, cafeteria with a kitchen, bathrooms, and a 6,500-gallon cistern. The soil there is rich, and ideal for crops, so Republic Airways wants to provide self-sustainable agriculture and animal projects.
“There are many misconceptions about Haiti, and just about everyone who visits the country for the first time comes to that realization,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “The Haitian people are creative, hardworking and industrious. They desire an opportunity to earn a living to provide for their families and to send their children to school like anyone, but many of those dreams are dashed because of their impoverished conditions. It’s truly wonderful when a successful businessman such as Bryan Bedford is willing to see the potential in the mist of poverty and take steps to help to transform the lives of the suffering.”
Bedford’s idea first took flight after he partnered with Tim Thoman, the founder of Performance Services, an engineering company that specializes in constructing and renovating schools, universities and healthcare facilities. Performance Services made Food For The Poor its charity of choice in 1996 and has built more than 160 homes in Haiti through the organization.
Republic Airways employs more than 5,500 aviation professionals, and offers about 950 daily flights in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. The company’s charitable team is excited about the airline’s commitment to help families in Haiti.
Those who want to support the projects in Haiti are encouraged to make an online donation at www.FoodForThePoor.org/republicairways.
“I am asking you to prayerfully discern any support you can offer to our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Bedford said. “If you cannot participate through fundraising, we gladly accept your prayers for our families and friends down there in Haiti.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations, including donated goods, went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.