MANKATO — Even though Hurricane Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit Haiti, it still did a great deal of damage to a country still trying to recover from the 2010 earthquake that brought it to its knees.
And, of course, people need food.
Mankato’s Kids Against Hunger food packaging operation has been shipping food to Haiti for seven years. Nationwide, the organization has been sending food to Haiti for about 20 years.
And this week, they’ll be sending more.
Tim Stromer, the executive director for the local Kids Against Hunger operation, said he expects to ship a truckload of food this week to Haiti. After it ships, it should arrive in about a week.
Hurricane Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm, but any kind of severe weather event in Haiti, given the condition it remains in as it continues to rebuild following the 2010 earthquake, is a major event. That earthquake killed thousands in what was already one of the world’s poorest nations. Much of the damage remains untouched.
During the weekend, the number of people forced to flee their homes due to flooding rose to more than 14,000, and another 13,500 people were living in temporary shelters until Saturday night, the Civil Protection Office reported.
In Mankato, the effort is focused on to trying to get food to people in Haiti.
“When something like this hits, there’s more demand for food,” Stromer said. “We need a lot more packers, a lot more donations. It’s just a matter of the funds and packers.”
When disasters happen in a place such as Haiti, Stromer said the need is greater than one might think.
“You’ve got not only the people who need food, but you’ve got a load of people who need food all of a sudden,” he said. “Then you’ve got relief workers who need to eat.”
Beyond their efforts to feed starving Haitians, Kids Against Hunger is also working to help feed people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Several months ago they sent a school bus full to Pine Ridge, and now they hope to continue helping them.
“If we don’t make food, people won’t eat,” Stromer said. “That’s the reality. They don’t have a Salvation Army or an ECHO Food Shelf.”