Around the world, there is more than enough food produced every day to feed the global population, and yet 821 million people go hungry every year. After steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, and affects roughly 11 percent of people globally. With dozens of charities fighting to end world hunger, one charity is working directly with local communities to find sustainable solutions: Elevating Christian Ministries in Haiti. To delve into the work that this incredible charity is doing in local Haitian communities, we spoke with co-founder, James Cammilleri, to talk about their mission and how they’re fighting to end hunger for Haitian children.
Hunger is strongly connected to poverty, and its resolution involves interactions among social, political, demographic, and societal factors. Elevating Christian Ministries’ goal is to fight hunger by feeding children in Haiti through sustainable development, which means that they not only foster nutrition, but facilitate education among local communities. James Cammilleri and his wife Sarah first visited Haiti in 2015, when they helped build a school and church for 100 school children.
Upon their leaving, the couple asked local communities what they needed the most help with, and they emphatically explained: “We need help feeding children.” It was at this moment that the Founders decided to do something about it. As James Cammilleri explained: “When we decided to help on a larger scale, I immediately thought about my mother. I was brought up in a house where my mom would buy wheat in buckets, and she would grind the wheat and bake bread every day. Breads made from fresh-ground ingredients contain every essential vitamin and nutrient that the human body needs. I knew we had to start by feeding these children and baking nutritious bread.” This was just the beginning of their mission to help reduce child hunger in Haiti.
How Does ECM Help?
ECM aims to build healthier communities through education, leadership and sustainable support, this includes supporting local business development and providing leadership and training to vulnerable communities. ECM is a shining example of what is possible in a country facing tough economic, political and environmental changes.
Since their founding in 2016, ECM have achieved several major goals. James Cammilleri explains that the organization has been feeding nutritional meals to over 5,000 children daily, building kitchens, bread ovens, schools, and churches. In addition, ECM has been helping to raise local income through a commercial grinder business, started a solar energy initiative in remote villages, has created local church outreach programs, provides teacher training and support, and much, much more.
One of their great achievements is the founding of the Elevating Bakery in Gonaives, Haiti. It is on the property of the Elevating Haiti House and is a commercial bakery that launched in May 2019. The business has been cash-flow positive early on and is working to bring affordable bread to the community to generate income for the ECM Bread Program.
In July 2018, ECM broke new ground on another facility, the Gonaïves Operations Center. This center will be a versatile space that will serve many purposes that are all key to the employment of Haitians and feeding children. It will be a space to store inventory, park vehicles, raise chickens for local businesses, and a manufacturing facility for concrete blocks. James Cammilleri explains: “Our ultimate goal? To have Haitians helping Haitians. When we have sustainable businesses that employ Haitians while produces profit, then we stimulated the economy, eliminated the need for outside funding and ultimately them doing their own charity work.