The mission of Haiti Plunge, Inc. is to educate, challenge and empower both American and Haitian youth in social, educational and agricultural sustainable development in rural Haiti. The organization is committed to enabling young people to make a difference with their lives and be of service to others.
Haiti has just experienced the Trifecta of Natural Disasters and it saddens me at the loss of lives and homes in all three. A drought from March to June in which they loss their crops and food supply. The Covid-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the country with no option to implement the health protocols. The third part of the trifecta hit them yesterday in the form of Hurricane Laura which swept through and destroyed crops that were soon to be harvested. That’s two seasons of crops that have been lost. They work so hard sunup to sundown to provide food for their families and in a matter of hours they lose everything. Mudslides are exacerbating the situation and those living in mud huts saw them swept away. What’s difficult is that our crisis team can’t get there due to the pandemic, to survey the situation and provide some resources. We have great confidence in our on-site Haitian staff and are waiting for them to call with a villiage to village report. Please keep the in your thoughts and prayers.
The second shipment of food relief was delivered to our nine villages on Saturday. The kids were lined up waiting. The first shipment ran out a few days earlier than we had planned. The greatest violence in the world is hunger..especially when children have to endure it. Hunger does not recognized borders. To add to the problems created by the Covid-19 virus the lack of rain ruined all of the crops so the food that would have carried them through the next few months, until the next crop could be harvested, was lost. Haiti suffers with great dignity. They have much to teach us.
HPI received word today from our Haitian staff that all their crops have been ruined because there has been no rain.So not only have they worked so hard in the March hot sun to plant the crops that feed their family, they had to watch A 35 day drought turn those crops into brittle stalks. When the HPI team was there in Feb. the rains had started so the people were excited to prepare their gardens and plant their melons, Congo beans and manioc seeds, the food that
feeds their children for three months. These are amazing people. They have been enduring one crisis after another and never a complaint. This is the everyday struggle when you are dependent on nature’s resources of earth and rain. They are still trying to catch up from their loss of crops from Hurricane Matthew. Climate change is their new reality. Their anguish, like any parent, is trying to give their children a little food each day. Add to this the fear of the Covid-19 Virus which is spreading rampantly through Haiti. They do not possess the minimal protections so they are like sitting ducks waiting for the next tragedy. Lack of water, lack of food, lack of physical space is their fate in life. Their purpose in life is to show the rest of us how to embrace suffering without complaint but with great dignity. Thank you to the many friends of HPI who have donated, especially during these extremely difficult times, to allow HPI to send a 2nd truckload of food to the nine remote villages it serves. That truck will reach the villages on Tues. May 5th. The 1st truck delivery was on April 16th . The children are given one meal daily of rice & beans Or maize. No child should have to endure the hunger that these children bear.
The Haiti Plunge was featured on MassLive.com with an article about the organization, as well as some of the programs. This included information about May Meeclean Jean being awarded the first Peg Downing Scholarship. To read the artcle click here, to learn more about the scholarship, click here.
The Western Massachusetts Catholic Voices Blog recently posted about how a team of high school students from Mary, Mother of Hope Parish in Springfield and St. Mary’s Parish in Longmeadow, along with Sister of St. Joseph Eunice Tassone and Fr. Matt Alcombright, journeyed to Haiti as part of The Haiti Plunge. Download and read the blog.
The Chris Canning Show on Access Pittsfield TV broadcast a feature: 'The Haiti Plunge with Sister Eunice'. Watch it here.
Haiti Plunge Inc.( HPI ) will be honored on Oct. 29, 2017 by Berkshire Interfaith Organizing ( BIO) at its annual MICAH ( Ministry in Community Action Honoree) Award celebration. This event will provide the membership of BIO the opportunity to express its appreciation for contributions given by HPI to the people of Haiti and will be received on behalf of the HPI organization by Sr. Eunice Tassone, ssj one of the organization's founders. The Haiti Plunge provides unique, cross-cultural educational experiences for high school and college age youth in sustainable development as it exists in a developing nation. For thirty-four years HPI has challenged thousands of Berkshire youth to make a difference in one small part of the world. That difference continues to be made in the nine bush villages and the lives of 40,000 people that HPI serves. The Haiti Plunge website: wwwthehaitiplunge.org will give you a visual reflection of what young people are capable of doing if given the opportunity.
In addition to receiving a project stipend from the Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Institute, HPI was recognized as June 2016's Proect of the Month for our Raised Gardens for Women Project.
Here is the HPI's video submission to Roots and Shoots:
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) global youth-led community action program, comprised of thousands of young people inspired by Dr. Jane Goodall to make the world a better place. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and resources for creating practical solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people. To learn more about Roots and Shoots and the Project of the Month recogniation click here.
The Catholic Mirror
Read about The Haiti Plunge in the Spring 2014 issue of The Catholic Mirror, the magazine of the Diocese of Springfield, MA.
The Haiti Plunge Inc. sends eight teams to Haiti annually. Seventy percent of every team are students, who are responsible for raising all the funds necessary to participate. They are assisted by Haiti Plunge staff, medical personnel and various professionals or skilled workers who will teach the population.
Haiti Plunge Inc. takes every precaution for team safety. When the team lands in Haiti, they are met by the Haitian staff at the airport and are transported by the organization’s vehicles directly to their residence in the mountains. Access to medical care, secure shelter and protected food and water supply are provided.