Belmont students help Haitian kids
“It’s nice to see children helping other children.”
Joe Krentz, president of Canadian Food For Children’s B.C. Division, made the remark on Thursday morning as he accepted a cheque for $439, donated by a group of Belmont Elementary School students.
Krentz told the 30 students in Melodie Dewsbury’s Grade 6 class that the money they’d donated would be used to help purchase powdered milk for children in the impoverished island nation of Haiti.
The money was raised as part of a class project on goal setting, explained Dewsbury. Students held a knicknack/garage sale at the school before Christmas, selling crafts they had made themselves and items brought from home.
The 11- and 12-year-olds also selected CFFC, through a class vote, as their charity of choice, said the teacher.
As they toured the south Langley property’s warehouses and packing facility, the class listened to Krentz explain the charity’s procedures and watched as one team of volunteers loaded pallets of food and other supplies into a shipping container, before moving on to speak to another group who were busily folding sheets and binding them into plastic-wrapped bales.
All of the items are bound for the Caribbean nation, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating, 7.0 magnitude earthquake that leveled much of the capital city of Port au Prince more than three years ago.
While the linens were donated to the non-denominational Christian charity by hospitals and hotels, CFFC must purchase most of the food it sends, Krentz explained.
From split peas to sugar, flour and oatmeal, Krentz tries to find the most cost-effective suppliers and shipping routes.
For example, rice is now shipped directly from Vietnam to Haiti, instead of being purchased in Canada and then shipped south. It now costs CFFC roughly half as much to supply rice as it did a few years ago, he said.
The request from Haiti had been for rice, oatmeal and black beans, said Krentz, but the beans are simply too costly to supply. Instead, just over 20,000 pounds of split peas from Lethbridge have been included in the load.
While CFFC is currently focusing its efforts on Haiti, the charity has worked extensively in Africa as well, said Krentz. He has been president of the charity since 1999 and leads a team of 45 volunteers.
To learn more go to canadianfoodforchildren.org.