In one respect, Living Water Ministries was lucky when it came to helping Haitian victims of last week's earthquake: They already had a large network of employees and contacts in Port-au-Prince and many others in outlying villages in the far Northwest, where the charity has set up schools and medical clinics.
And they'd perfected the pipeline needed to get nutritious meals from the States to the farthest villages on the island.
Living Water founder Fred Chalker, who lives in Atlantis and owns an antique store in Lake Worth, has learned to anticipate the inevitable clogged supply lines through Port-au-Prince.
But he also anticipated the inevitable migration now taking place out of the capital city and into rural villages as Haitian residents become increasingly desperate for food, water, and medicine. As early as last Friday, Chalker was already planning ways get food to villages sure to be cut off from a ready supply in the quake's aftermath.
"Living Water recognizes that people will begin to migrate away from Port-au-Prince to return to their original homes, which include the Northwest, as they recognize that living conditions in the rural areas will be more desirable than what they are facing now," Chalker writes via email. "This means we will see a dramatic increase of people into our villages which can develop into another crisis."
As of this Tuesday, Living Water workers were distributing $5,000 worth of water, food, clothing, blankets, and other supplies in Haiti. Chalker says Living Water has also ordered a container with 275,000 prepackaged vitamin- and mineral-enriched meals, which will arrive from the Midwest at the Port of Palm Beach tomorrow and from there be shipped to the Haitian port of St. Marc. Chalker says a Mack dump truck is waiting to pick up most of the food to take to Port-au-Prince; the rest will go to villages in the Northwest.
The cost? Because Living Water is already buying prepackaged meals for 6 cents each, the total will run to a mere $7,500.
To donate to Living Water Ministries for aid to Haiti, visit its website at http://lwmpb.org/.