Sunday, May 19

West Palm Beach nonprofit collecting food to send to Haiti because ‘people are starving’

The Valley of Love Ministries is collecting canned food, clothes and other supplies to send to families trying to survive amid the violence in Haiti.

“They call me every single day, people are starving, they have nothing to eat, they kick them out of their own home, they have no place to stay, they burn their house, raping little children, little girls,” Queen Bmazazhi Karu, president of Valley of Love Ministries, said. “It’s just so much going on right now. It’s terrible.”

The nonprofit is located in the 45th Street Plaza shopping mall.

For the last 20 years, the organization has helped local homeless people with emergency housing, food, clothes and support.

In recent years, they’ve also helped people in Haiti with the biggest danger being in Port-au-Prince.

“As a Christian woman, I have to help my brother and sisters that are in need,” Karu said. “Just the other day, a friend of mine called me, he said his brother’s wife, six guys went inside his house and raped his wife in front of him. I cried like a baby when I heard that.”

They said with recent events, they’ve seen many people fleeing Haiti and coming to Palm Beach County.

“Some of them live with family, some of them are with friends, some of them are on their own,” Karu said.

According to a survey by the Migration Policy Institute, Florida is the state with the largest number of Haitian immigrants in the United States.

Palm Beach County has the No. 3 largest Haitian immigrant population in Florida and the U.S.

Below is the breakdown by county in South Florida:

Broward County: 86,100 Miami-Dade County: 78,800 Palm Beach County: 68,400

Representatives from the Valley of Love Ministries said that many immigrants from Haiti who arrive in Florida don’t stay long and end up moving to New York because the Empire State provides better services. New York has 126,900 immigrants from Haiti, according to a survey from 2018-2022.

“Palm Beach County is home to 68,000 Haitians. Are you proud to be one of those?” asked WPTV reporter Joel Lopez to resident Emannuel Morel.

“I’m proud to be one of them, but I think we have more,” Morel said.

He has lived in Florida for 30 years and said after earthquakes, hurricanes, political turmoil and extreme violence, people had no choice but to escape, many of which he said are unaccounted for.

“We’re either going to live, or we’re going to die, that’s it,” Morel said.

He said within Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth Beach are the cities with the largest Haitian populations.

Morel blames poor leadership choices on the downfall of his country, but said thankfully his family in Haiti is still safe.

“No matter your status in life, you live daily thinking it may be your last,” Morel said.

Next door at Dulcio’s Carribean Restaurant, general manager Stecker Dulcio said he’s been in Florida for about 40 years after fleeing issues in Haiti.

“When we first come in, someone helped us, so when we knew they come in, we tried to help them also,” Dulcio said. “That’s the way the Haitian live, one helps the other.”

Dulcio said he’s met many families in town supporting relatives and friends that have fled from Haiti.

“Being here, how are they feeling?” Lopez asked.

“In here, they’re not worried about here, but they’re worried for their relatives their family that lives back in Haiti,” Dulcio said. “We need help to get Haiiti out of where it is right now.”

Dulcio is helping Valley of Love Ministry next door by spreading the word of their supply collection, hoping his loved ones in Haiti benefit from the aid.

The ministry plans to travel to Haiti next month with a group of about 15 ambassadors to help spread peace and deliver the supplies.

Call Valley of Love Ministries at 561-502-8757 or visit their website to donate.

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