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Jan12MonAs we found out when we were helping pack food to send to Haiti, when it comes to helping others, the size of our hearts is more important than the size of our hands. January 12, 2015 by Diane Stark
"I've signed us up to do a service project,” my children's youth leader announced. “We're going to be packing food to send to Haiti.”
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- Faith & Friends
I was less than thrilled. I was chaperoning my children on an out-of-town church event and was responsible for six teens, plus my own five-year-old, Nathan. I'd imagined an afternoon in the hotel pool, not one packing boxes.
The youth leader gave me the opportunity to bow out, but Nathan had already gotten wind of what the “big kids” were doing.
“Can I help, too, Mommy?” he asked.
I smiled. “Sure you can.” I explained that the people of Haiti were very poor and had suffered through a disastrous earthquake five years ago. Some of them were still homeless and many didn't have enough food to eat. “Jesus wants us to do whatever we can to help them, and that's why we're going to pack food today,” I concluded.
Nathan nodded solemnly. “I'll help, Mommy.”
36 Is Enough
We arrived at the food packing centre, where the volunteers explained the process. The food we were packing was a rice and soy mixture that had to be measured into plastic bags. The bags would then be sealed, counted and packed into boxes for shipment to Haiti.
“Before we start, everyone needs to put on a hairnet and rubber gloves,” the volunteer said.
“Can you help me, Mommy?” Nathan asked, already trying to tuck his blond wisps into a hairnet.
I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and started to wriggle Nathan's little fingers into them. “Hold your hands like this,” I told him, spreading my fingers wide. He did as I asked and I fit the gloves over his hands.
The problem was that his entire hand fit into the palm part of the glove and only the tips of his fingers made it into the finger holes. “I can't move my fingers, Mommy,” he said. “How can I help if I can't move my fingers?”
I asked for smaller gloves, but we were already using the smallest size they had. I tried to bunch up the finger holes so that the gloves fit him better, but they didn't stay.
I sighed. “I don't think this is going to work.”
Tears flooded his eyes. “But I want to help. You said Jesus wants us to, remember?”
“I know, Honey, but you have to wear gloves to handle the food, and I can't get the gloves to fit your hands.”
“But, Mommy, I really want to help.”
“You're still just a little too little to do some things. I'm sorry.”
I knew tears threatened, so I racked my brain for something to say to soften his disappointment.
Then one of the volunteers said, “Nathan, I found a job for you.”
I turned and shook my head. “He can't wear the gloves.”
She waved her hand. “He doesn't need to for this job.” She grinned at Nathan and asked, “How high can you count?”
Nathan jumped up and down. “Really, really high!”
“Like, to 36?”
Nathan nodded confidently. “Counting to 36 will be easy for me.”
She showed him how to take the sealed bags of food and lay them flat on the table in groups of 36. Then another volunteer would box them for shipping.
Relieved that Nathan had found a job to do, I took over measuring and pouring the rice. As I added the small cup of rice to the plastic bag, I asked how many servings were in each bag.
“Each bag feeds a family of six,” the volunteer said.
My mouth dropped open. I looked at the small amount of rice I was adding to each bag. I make three times that much for my own family's dinner.
The woman noticed the look on my face. “It doesn't seem like much to us, but I've gone to Haiti and handed out these bags to mothers who haven't had anything to feed their children for days. They act like you just gave them a million dollars.”
I felt tears spring into my eyes. I couldn't imagine watching my children go hungry and being power-
less to fix it. I found myself praying that God would somehow stretch the food to nourish more people than it otherwise would.
When our group had filled the designated number of bags, we removed our gloves and hairnets, thanked the volunteers for allowing us to help, and left the food packing station.
“I'm so glad we did that,” my older son, Jordan, said.
“Me, too,” Nathan chimed in. “I wasn't too little to help after all.”
I hugged him. “I was wrong to say you were too little. Our small hands serve a big, big God.”
Nathan smiled. “And even my little hands can help.”
I smiled and thanked God for the reminder that the size of our hearts is far more important than the size of our hands.
The Salvation Army in Haiti
Five years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda continues to be a presence in that ravaged country.
The Salvation Army supports redevelopment initiatives in Haiti through a five-year $4-million Integrated Family Support Project (IFSP). The IFSP includes four components that will help people in earthquake-affected areas rebuild their lives.
Permanent Housing: 90 houses have been completed and another 10 houses are in progress. House maintenance training has been provided to beneficiaries. The IFSP aims to provide permanent housing support to 260 families.
Vocational Training: 680 vulnerable youths received vocational training with follow-up support to link them with the employment market.
Livelihood Support: 598 beneficiaries received livelihood training and business support.
Agricultural Support: 786 farmers received agricultural support.