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planned “surge” in Haiti food distribution and other notes from Share Our Strength conference call

We convened a conference call about Haiti this morning with 40 Share Our Strength champions from around the country including philanthropic leaders like Barbara Harman and Mario Morino, chefs like Gordon Hamersley and Mary Sue Milliken, and Taste and Dine Out organizers.

After I shared some context about our long support for and investment in Haiti, Jeff Swartz described our visit and “the power of bearing witness in which you bring your eyes and you bring your heart.” He made the case for setting up business systems and networks since no one person or organization can solve the problems on their own.

Laura Turner from the Washington DC office of the World Food Program explained that they have been able to turn around the food distribution challenges in the last few days and that they are laying the foundation for a food distribution “surge” that would reach 2 million people in the next two weeks and to help overwhelm the perception of insecure food delivery systems. The World Food Program is also delivering specialized food for hospitals and orphanages as well as powdered nutritional supplements. Even before the earthquake Haiti had 30% malnutrition in children under five.

In addition to learning all of this, perhaps the most important thing we learned, once again, was about the dedication and passion of the Share Our Strength network. More than a dozen of those on the phone e-mailed immediately after to say they wanted to join us on a future trip, help raise money, or find a way to share their strength. It was a good reminder that with all we’ve got going on, we sometimes need to stop for a moment and remember to share at least the headlines with those who have given so much to help us get where we are.

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