On behalf of myself and Manzanita Outreach, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our generous community. Here, I am privileged to be able to share about a place and a ministry that has captured my heart.
We founded Manzanita Outreach in response to witnessing the horrific earthquake of 2010 firsthand in a small village on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti. Manzanita Outreach is a non-profit humanitarian organization whose mission is to “honor Christ through our work to alleviate the suffering of others by providing life’s basic needs.”
We deliver hope, both locally and abroad. Since our inception in 2011, and with your generosity and hard work, we have packed over 2 million meals, with 1 million sent to Haiti and the other half distributed locally. How have we done this?
As a nonprofit, we must first raise funds through donations and grants to purchase the bulk food products and packing supplies that we need. We then organize events where people of all ages come together and, in an assembly like fashion, pack our dry food product for the hungry.
What we really do is provide a “hands on” opportunity for people to come together and be a part of something bigger than themselves, for a greater good. It satisfies the hunger we all feel, the hunger to make a difference. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers (over 750) who helped us on October 20th at our 5th annual community event – we could not have done it without you.
As the people of the Verde Valley have been such a part of the work we have done in Haiti, I would like to share about the “Hope” you have helped to bring to the people there. Indeed, Haiti remains an extremely impoverished country, with minimal resources offered by their harsh government regime, for recovery.
It is inhabited by people just like you and I, in so many ways. They are a proud, beautiful people who can rise above their circumstances and return to lives of dignity, self-sufficiency, and hope.
Sometimes “helping hurts” and often Americans can be seen just for a handout, not as a “hand up”.
To that end, we partnered with other organizations in Haiti, whose vision has moved from rescue and recovery, to intentional relationship and restoration for a people that we have grown to love. We continue to strive to “teach a man to fish” and “work ourselves out of the job” that the Lord has called us to. All our efforts are toward that end.
We are also so grateful for our partnership with our the Air National Guard who assures that our food gets to our partners in Haiti at no cost. Not only do they ship large quantities of our food out of Sky Harbor, but also supplies not acquirable in Haiti (i.e.; a solar generator that now powers the medical clinic in Jubilee). My husband Doug and I just returned from my 9th trip to Haiti. I would like to share, with gratitude for your partnership over all these years, about the positive changes you have been a part of.
When Kim Gould and I first started going to Jubilee on medical mission trips there was only one small open-sided building with a dirt floor, which served as a medical clinic and feeding station, as well as every other need imaginable. Emory and Mary Wilson began the work there in 2002 with an orphanage and small school in this little village of Jubilee, situated on the city dump site outside Gonaives.
Today, under the umbrella of Jubilee Kids (www.jubileekidsinc.org) there is a school that is staffed with all Haitian teachers, serving over 180 kids from pre-school to 8th grade. There is a sponsorship program for those interested. It is our food that has supported and fed these kids since the beginning, often the only meal they receive each day.
Also under Jubilee Kids there is a fully Haitian staffed Medical Clinic, thanks to the oversight of Cody Smith. Our food also contributes in their malnourishment program.
Her husband Brian has overseen construction in all these buildings, including the building of 80 homes, with the training and use of Haitian laborers. In Jubilee, soon to begin will be a trade school, offering courses in carpentry, plumbing, welding, sewing and trades for artisans – along with business development and financial guidance.
In the adjacent city of Gonaives, our food also helps support the ministries of five orphanages, some of which is shared with outside feeding programs in the mountains. We are also partnered with Much Ministries and Beaver and Kathy Brooks (www.muchministries.org).
Beaver is overseeing the project called the Marketplace, which will be the first grocery store in Gonaives and provide jobs and training for over 150 individuals. Kathy oversees 2nd Story Goods (www.2ndstorygoods.com) which provides opportunities for local artisans to create and sell their goods, locally and online.
Emory and Mary Wilson, after the devastation caused several years ago by Hurricane Matthew in southern Haiti, moved there and began a program of assistance in rebuilding homes. Since they began they’ve provided supplies and support in over 300 homes and are in the completion process of another 200 by end of year. Emory can be reached at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I know this is a very long rendition and summary of our work and partnerships. If you are interested in further information about these organizations, please either check out our website, or go directly to the ones listed by each ministry. You, Verde Valley, have been a part of all of these in one way or another. I plan to continue going to Haiti and remain personally invested during each trip, guaranteeing that we know where your donations and our food and supplies are going to.
As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near, we are reminded of how truly blessed we are. I always realize that I need Haiti much more than Haiti needs me.
I am grateful for a community that has given and continues to give so much. I am blessed by the positive changes we have been a part of in Haiti. When we feel defeated and run down by the news of the day, let’s look up and around and feel thankful for what we do have -- freedom, a house to live in, clothes to wear, cars to drive, food to eat and medical care.
Yes, I know there are people here who suffer also from lack of these things. Those of us who “have,” let’s open our hearts to help those who are less fortunate at home or abroad.
There are many organizations in our community who are part of this process.
Contact us at www.manzanitaoutreach.org if you are seeking ways to help, and stay tuned for our next installment about how we are “delivering hope” locally.