The community of Barriere Battant in Petit Goave, Haiti, is being renewed thanks to a promise Republic Airways made one year ago when its CEO visited the Caribbean nation for the first time with Food For The Poor.
“Last year, we told you that you were a part of the Republic family and we’ll be back,” said Matthew Koscal, SVP/Chief Administrative Officer of the Indianapolis-based airline. “We’re so happy to be back, and we will be back again, again and again. While we build homes and schools here in Haiti, know that your love and generosity back to us builds our hearts.”
A two-hour drive west of Port-au-Prince, Barriere Battant suffers from hard living conditions. Many families live in shacks made of wood and sticks, and with no access to running water or a sewage system many are vulnerable to cholera and other waterborne diseases. Republic Airways’ commitment of 40 homes in an 80 home village will provide secure shelter for more than 200 people along with access to potable water.
Republic Airways returned to Haiti in late May with more than two dozen employees, along with Performance Services and eight of its staff members. Performance Services, an engineering company that specializes in constructing and renovating schools, universities and healthcare facilities, introduced the airline to Food For the Poor.
“To be back here seeing these beautiful people and beautiful faces touches my heart, as it does every time,” said James Christie of Performance Services. “That’s what makes me want to keep helping, keep fundraising and keep serving the people as the Lord has asked me to. All I want is to continue to assist the people of Haiti and of Barriere Battant as they continue to survive and thrive.”
Both groups were warmly greeted by the community, where a quarter of the homes have been built and the plans are in the works for a new six-classroom school.
The soil there is rich and is ideal for crops. The 34 volunteers from Republic Airways and Performance Services got to work potting and planting dozens of mango trees and other fruit tree seedlings in Barriere Battant. They also took turns painting three of the newly built homes in the vivid colors of the Caribbean.
“Every gift donated to help the poor is priceless to Food For The Poor, but when a corporation is willing to go beyond writing a check and allows its staff to meet the people in the countries who are being blessed by their generosity is really something special,” said Food For The Executive Director Angel Aloma. “We are very thankful to Republic Airways for renewing hope in the Barriere Battant community and to Performance Services for sowing the seeds of compassion.”
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 helping families in Haiti.
“This is an experience unlike anything I’ve seen in my life, and what impresses me most is the joy of the people,” said Dr. Aaron Joel Feldman of St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, who travelled with Republic Airways. “They’re certainly not impoverished in spirit.”
Those who want to support the projects in Haiti are encouraged to make an online donation at www.FoodForThePoor.org/republicairways.
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, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance.