It’s been three years since the country of Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake.
Aftershocks to the country’s inhabitants are still being felt through extreme poverty and hunger.
One Davenport man is trying to do his part to help Haitians.
Mike Barnard describes his visit to the country back in August as humbling.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Barnard. “Our battle ends when we get home most of the time, but there, it’s never ending.”
According to British newspaper, The Guardian, in 2011 eight percent of Haitians, or about 800,000 people, were living with chronic malnutrition.
Now, that number is at 1.52 million people.
That’s why Barnard is trying to feed people here in the Quad Cities his own beef and deer jerky to satisfy not only their hunger, but his desire to help.
“People, they just seem to like jerky,” he said. “I’ve made jerky for 30 years. Deer jerky, I turned it over to beef and they’re responding and I get my word out just like this.”
“We’re trying to let people know what’s going on in Haiti,” said Mike Janes, who’s the Pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Davenport. “It’s easy for it to fall off the national map.”
In addition to helping build a home there last fall, one of Barnard’s most vivid memories centers around a picture of an elderly woman who had to be carried six hours from a hospital in Port-Au-Prince to her village so she could pass away with her family at her side.
“I asked her son, ‘May I help’ He nodded his head said it’s hard to communicate.”
It’s these small acts of kindness, Barnard says, that carry the weight of the world with the grateful people of Haiti.
“It’s a scary thought to be that alone. We don’t have that over here. No matter how hard it gets, there’s worse.”
The church is traveling to Haiti in March. They still need about $5,000 for materials to build a school there as a part of The Joseph School program, the goal of which is to bring greater independence to Haitians so they won’t have to rely solely on NGO’s, or non-governmental organizations.
If you’re interested in buying some of Barnard’s jerky, you can contact him at (563)210-6641 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monetary donations will also be accepted through the church website, at http://www.christchurchdavenport.org