It’s July 15. Most people are thinking about summer vacation and MAYBE buying school supplies, but not very many are thinking about Christmas yet…
…unless you’re For Haiti With Love. Executive Director Eva DeHart says, “We’re talking Christmas because December comes really fast. Our Christmas focus is for the children in North Haiti. So we have the party, August 12, and then we package up everything and sea ship it to Haiti.”
The history behind the party
A little background: one of the ministry’s key events happens on December 25 in Haiti, so planning has to start now. The logistics involved in gathering toys and gifts for hundreds of Haitians, budgeting for food, and shipping everything to Haiti in time are mind-boggling.
DeHart says the idea of a special Christmas Party started in 1988 with her husband, Don DeHart, now gone to be with the Lord. Eva says that since the party was so successful, it soon became a tradition. The ministry now hosts an annual Christmas party for poverty-stricken children and their parents in Northern Haiti.
Why hold a Christmas Party in August in the U.S.? 31 years ago, the reasons were twofold: summers were slow and the ministry needed a boost in fundraising. In 1988, FHWL was planning their second Christmas Day party in Haiti and needed some funding for the food as well as gifts for that, too. The idea caught on and the rest, as they say, is history.
DeHart explains, “Americans are more in tune with the gift-giving, and the idea of being able to give children something that they want to enjoy, rather than something that they need, which is what most outreaches are about.”
Proving her right are the people who love the Christmas in August party. First, they get excited about giving toys to little kids. “The little girls like dolls with hair so that they can braid and fix the hair like they do with their peers. Little boys like the little trucks…just all kinds of little things that people think of that they particularly liked in their childhood that they want to share with another generation.”
But the thing that gets people jazzed? It’s coming alongside a ministry with a mission. “It gives you the opportunity to share the Gospel with a whole new group of kids to introduce to them the idea that God is about love.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama