Feed the children: Get bargain prices at sale, help school in Haiti
By Melanie Tucker | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The school year might be winding down for a group of children hundreds of miles away in Haiti, but the focus of also providing physical and spiritual nourishment goes on 365 days a year.
That’s why God’s Planet for Haiti, a nonprofit started in Maryville, is holding a yard sale Friday and Saturday. Jemps Maignan, a native Haitian and now resident of Maryville, started the organization a few years ago after moving here and wanting to give back to his people.
He has now completed the construction of a Christian school in Marmont, Hinche, which is about 60 miles outside Port-au-Prince, with the help of local Haitian families and people in this community. The school has 47 children. If enough money is raised, another classroom will be added next year.
The school in Haiti is called Ecole Planete de Dieu Pour Haiti and gives the students ages 3-6 a Christian education along with the core curriculum in Haiti. This is its third year.
The yard sale, Maignan explained, will help raise the needed funds to feed the children during the school year.
But Maignan is also looking long term at how to assist the school’s families. He wants to be able to dig a well near the school so they can begin growing crops. The beans, corn, plantains and other vegetables will be used to feed the children, and any surplus crops can be sold, with the money going to further support the school.
There are plans in coming weeks to get beans planted, since May is typically the rainy season in Haiti, Maignan said. They will be relying on that rain because there is no watering system nearby. A well will cost about $5,000, Maignan said, and the money isn’t there yet.
Not only will the school benefit from the well, but it can also be used by the people in nearby villages, Maignan said.
Maignan, 35, returned from a visit to the school recently and will be going back at the end of May. Also going to Haiti will be a team of nurses from Carson-Newman University who will provide health checks for the children and surrounding community.
There is always work to do, Maignan said. Haiti has had its share of devastating disasters, like the earthquake in 2010. Poverty is a way of life there.
He still has family living in Haiti, including his parents. Maignan said he is grateful to Blount County for all they have done. He hopes the two-day yard sale will be another successful fundraiser so that work moves forward.