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Sending hope to Haiti one bucket at a time

The world is well aware of the suffering and need that the people of Haiti have following their devastating earthquake last month. Many people of faith want to do something worthwhile, but are unsure as to what.

The Bethel Baptist Association and its Alabama Baptist Convention have a way for people to donate food to the people of Haiti called “Buckets of Hope.”

“Buckets of Hope is an Alabama Baptist hands-on help for the Haitians,” said Dr. Bobby Hopper, the director of missions at the Bethel Baptist Association.

“It actually is a part of the North American Mission Board’s disaster relief effort to help the victims in Haiti.”

The concept is fairly simple for anyone to do. Get a plain, white 5-gallon bucket — without a logo, if possible — and fill it with the following pre-packaged items: two 5-pound bags of long grain enriched rice, one 48-ounce plastic bottle of cooking oil, two 2-pound bags of dry black beans or red beans, one 5-pound bag of all-purpose flour (not self-rising), one 20-ounce cylinder container of granulated white sugar (coffee service size), two 1-pound boxes of spaghetti noodles, one 40-ounce plastic jar of smooth peanut butter and one two-gallon plastic Ziplock storage bag (used to wrap the cooking oil).

“The Alabama State Convention is working through the Florida State Convention, who already had ministries in Haiti prior to the tragedy there,” Hooper said. “We are working through them to try to get these buckets to the families to feed them. Each bucket will feed a family for a week.”

Participants are asked to provide $10 to pay for the shipping of each container. Checks should be made to the Alabama State Board of Missions, with “Haiti disaster relief” written in the memo line. Locally, filled buckets can be brought to Fairhaven Baptist Church just off of U.S. Highway 80 West in Demopolis.

“Anybody can take part,” Hooper said. “They are asking for a plain, white bucket, but the response has been so great that they are actually taking colored buckets now. The bucket has to have a lid where it can be sealed. More information can be found at the Alabama State Convention Web site at www.alsbom.com/Haiti. That will tell you what the contents are and how to pack the bucket.

“Fairhaven Baptist Church is our dropoff site for, basically, west Alabama. The closest sites to Demopolis are probably Birmingham, Frisco City and Montgomery. Our district goes from Daphne north, Florence south and Montgomery west. We are one of eight places across the state.”

Other dropoff sites across the state include Florence, Huntsville, Gadsden, Birmingham, Montgomery, Ozark, Frisco City and Daphne.

“On March 4 and 5, we will be collecting those buckets from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on those days,” Hooper said. “We are collecting them at the Bethel office up until Monday, and we will carry them from here up to Demopolis. We are asking our churches, if they can, to just bring them up to Demopolis on those two days.”

Hooper said the Buckets of Hope project has been going on for only a couple of weeks, as it is a disaster relief quick-response project.

“We’ve had such a tremendous response that people are running out of buckets,” he said. “We had WalMart in Demopolis order us a bunch of buckets. They thought the buckets came with the lids, but they don’t; that’s a separate item.”

Hooper said the buckets and lids combine for almost $5, and the contents total about $30 to $35, depending on where people shop.

For about $40, anyone can help provide the victims in Haiti with a week’s worth of food.

“We’ve got our disaster relief feeding team feeding folks over there,” he said. “They are also purifying water, rotating in and out of Haiti. What they are trying to do is also to send a bucket home with the people of Haiti, too. That bucket will also serve several purposes over there.”

Very often, people see a disaster happen and think, “How can I help?” For about $40, a person can send a victim of Haiti’s earthquake a week’s worth of food, a bucket that can be used to carry water or other uses and hope for an uncertain future.