Help for the Caribbean

Colton Davies

Two Okanagan-based organizations are helping feed people in Caribbean countries ravished by hurricanes.

Shelters International Disaster Response is bringing more than 42,000 pounds of soup mix to Central America — enough for more than 1.3 million servings of food.

Most of the soup mix will go to Puerto Rico and Haiti, and some to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"When a storm hits and you're left with nothing, how do you get back up unless you've got food?" Laura Allan with the SIDR said.

"It's really important after disasters to get people fed, and then give them seeds so that there's hope.

Puerto Rico was battered by Hurricane Irma and then Hurricane Maria in September, at one point, power was out on the entire Island.

Haiti was hit hard as well by the hurricane season, and many farmers are reportedly struggling.

All of the food heading to those countries was donated by the Okanagan Gleaners.

"We're mandated by scripture to help feed the poor and the hungry," Gleaners general manager Greg Masson said.

"When (these hurricanes) came through the Caribbean, (they) just devastated so many... We got a phone call, so that's why we responded."

The 1,128 boxes of soup mix will be driven to Miami, Allan said, before being shipped to the respective countries.

She expects the servings to get their destinations in about two weeks.

"I've got a boat lined up for the 15th of December, so I'll at least be able to make sure they have a meal for Christmas.

In the meantime, Allan said she will travel down to Haiti herself to help deliver the food to people in need. 

The Kelowna Rotary covered trucking costs, and she added that help is needed to fund the logistics for transporting all the food.

"Because I'm grassroots and I don't take a salary and I'm volunteer, I would say about $3,000 would actually set me on my way."

Allan said her and her partner are landscapers in the summer, and she uses her profits to spend the winters doing work in developing countries.

More information on the SIDR can be found here

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