A chance for Christians to step in and help others is how Kathy Cadden describes the relief work being done for Haitians who are recovering from the January earthquake.
“There is a lot going on in Haiti now. It is a chance for Christians to help these people make changes in their lives,” Cadden said in remarks she made at Tuesday”s meeting of the Columbus Rotary Club.
Cadden, the president and founder of Operation Ukraine, said in the two weeks she spent there distributing food and other necessities to Haitian families in need, she noticed that people were having to live in makeshift shelters of cardboard and other things they could find. She spoke of a pregnant woman who looked as if she was going to give birth soon.
“It has been raining every day in that area around Port au Prince. Something has probably happened to that baby, it could already be dead. There are problems with cholera and dysentery,” she said.
Cadden said an example of Christians going in to help is that she was a witness to five people getting baptized.
“The voodoo culture is strong in that country, and one of those baptized was a voodoo doctor.
“After he was baptized, he went to his place and threw away all of his voodoo things,” she said.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Cadden told Rotary club members about Operation Ukraine, and how much the organization has helped people in the former Soviet country.
“Our mission is to send humanitarian aid by sending hospital equipment, clothing, school supplies and food. We are preparing to send a container of food and clothing to Ukraine and to Tajikistan, another former Soviet bloc country,” she said.
Cadden said the work of Operation Ukraine is all volunteer and there is no paid staff.
“We get our funding through donations. I had one man who has donated kidney beans for me to send to the Ukraine, Tajikistan and to Haiti who has given me $20,000 for containers to send items to these countries,” she said.
She said she saw how patient many Haitian families were when they received their food.
“There were some who had not eaten in over a week, but they patiently waited to get their food, which was a lot of nonperishable items,” Cadden said.
Cadden said another thing that caught her attention during the time she was down there was the fact there were not a lot of incidents of robbing supplies.
“There was only one time where some workers were stopped during a holdup, and at least 15-20 50-gallon containers were taken. They were told if they waited, they would have gotten the containers without any problems,” she said.
Cadden said she had 15,000 pairs of flip-flops in a warehouse that were sent to families in Haiti, and more than 45,000 pounds of rice from Texas has also been sent, with more to come in the next few weeks.
Cadden said more volunteers are needed to go to Haiti to assist in the relief efforts.
“Haiti was in bad shape before the earthquake, and it is in a worse state now,” she said.
Allen Baswell was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.