Food Relief Group Makes a Difference for Haitians and Locals

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Food relief is headed to Haitians still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and local needy families in Eustis, Florida thanks to a humanitarian aid group trying to make a difference. Bob Bostic, who founded the Deliver the Difference organization with his wife Mairi in 2010 avows that their goal is to give people a hand up and help them escape the vicious cycle of poverty. The latest efforts of the Bostics and their committed group of volunteers give them the opportunity to work directly with the Haitian government and the people to bring hundreds of sponsored meals to the beleaguered island nation. They hope to grow the program to bring a positive influence of nutrition and sanitation to thousands of malnourished and unhealthy schoolchildren, orphans and other needy Haitian families.

The Bostics founded Deliver the Difference as a non-profit in Lake County, Florida, after work with another relief organization in the wake of the devastating earthquake gave them a firsthand look at the magnitude of bringing assistance to the devastated area and the need for more helping hands. The group’s focus is on food distribution that makes a difference, not only to Haiti, but also to local families in need of relief. The only requirement for their assistance is that recipients be hungry. Bostic┬ásays he would rather give someone more than they need than fail to provide meals for someone who really needs the help.

After packing 200,000 meals for post-earthquake relief in Haiti, they delivered an additional 46,000 meal boxes in the first year alone. In the second year they supported survivors of the 2011 Japanese earthquake with 100,000 meals with an additional 200,000 plus meals headed for the Alabama and Joplin tornado regions and the Horn of Africa for a grand total of over half a million by year-end. At this point, they noticed a growing homeless problem in their own community and jumped into efforts to provide relief on the home front as well. More than 2,400 volunteers prepared, packaged and delivered 2,000 Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for low-income individual and families in the area. They continue to distribute thousands of food boxes every year to needy residents, both local and international.

They have a Kidspacks program that distributes weekly backpacks filled with two each of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, along with juice boxes and milk to homeless children without a steady source of food on the weekends. Recipients also receive two bonus brown bag meals from Kids Against Hunger for their families. Schools pre-qualify students with parental approval and then receive the regular donation to sustain them and give them hope in circumstances over which they have no control. Deliver the Difference takes a firm stand that allowing the innocent to suffer is wrong and sounds the call for the community to take a stand with them in doing something about it.

The Kidspacks are given to students each week, who have been pre-qualified by the schools with their parents’ approval. The Kidspacks are given to students that don’t always know if they will get to eat a meal over the weekend or before they go back to school on Monday. In Lake County, there are over 2,600 homeless children. Not homeless like in a third world country, but homeless because of job losses, the economy and circumstances they have no control over. Deliver the Difference believes this is wrong and as a community, we need to stand up and do something about it.

Bostic makes it clear that Deliver the Difference assistance comes entirely from their own foodsources with no help from the federal government. On average, the group traffics 60,000 pounds of food resources through their local warehouse for relief efforts aimed to make a difference in Haiti and at home. The organization regularly receives thank you cards from grateful families and reading their comments is what inspires Bostic to keep at it. Bostic dreams that someday all the food needs of the world will be met, but until then, he and his volunteers will stay the course in their quest to make a difference.

by Tamara Christine Van Hooser

Sources:

Orlando Sentinel: Deliver the Difference

Deliver the Difference

Nahshua Telegraph

Orlando Sentinel: Second Food-Packaging Event

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