Iowa Ag Organizations Help Provide Food, Housing for Haitians

‘Remarkable achievement’ announced by Lt. Gov. Reynolds and Ag Sec. Northey.

Published on: Jun 7, 2012

 "Special Delivery. Homes. Help. Hope. For Haiti," has generated more than $400,000 in contributions to the Global Compassion Network to provide shelter and soy-based meals to Haitians recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

"Special Delivery", a campaign launched last December by the Iowa Food & Family Project, encouraged contributions to the Laurens, Iowa-based GCN for the purchase of up to 48 Sukup Safe T Homes. The dwellings resemble modified grain bins, can provide shelter for up to 10 people and are virtually earthquake proof. The homes are being erected on the Village of Hope established last year by the GCN near Port au Prince, Haiti.

Iowa Ag Organizations Help Provide Food, Housing for Haitians
Iowa Ag Organizations Help Provide Food, Housing for Haitians

"Our goal was to encourage contributions to the GCN by June 1 totaling 48 homes," says Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. "Ag Secretary Bill Northey and I are pleased to announce that the equivalent of 64 homes has been contributed. This remarkable support is proof once more that when asked to help, Iowans don't reply, 'Why?' Instead, they say, 'What can I do and when can I start?'"

"Special Delivery" is also providing much-needed food for Haitians. Earlier this year, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) pledged up to $48,000 – or $1,000 per home, up to 48 – for the purchase of soy-based Meals from the Heartland (MftH). Combined with a contribution from Cargill-Iowa Region, nearly 230,000 servings of MftH were packaged by more than 1,200 FFA members at this spring's state FFA leadership conference in Ames. They're currently being delivered to Haiti by the Convoy of Hope.

Northey, who assisted with the MftH food packaging, says he's overwhelmed, but not surprised, at the outpouring of support. "It's what Iowans do when people are in need," he says. "What makes this effort so unique is how representative it is of our state – from homes constructed by Sukup to soybeans grown and harvested by Iowa farm families."

"Special Delivery" traces its roots to work begun by Laurens farmer Ken DeYoung. After watching the devastating television footage of the Haitian earthquake, he took action and helped organize the non-profit GCN which, in turn, established the Village of Hope. GCN then began conversations with Sukup early last year about the possibilities of sourcing Safe T Homes for the village to provide temporary housing for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. 

"Conversations lead to relationships and relationships create opportunities for partnerships," says Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing Co. "The Sukup team is a family and we're humbled to be part of this inspiring campaign."