BucketsofHope_sm

When a natural disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti occurs, I have an impulse to want to help. But I also want to know that any donation I make is really going to the people who need it. I guess I’m just not comfortable with texting money into cyberspace and not knowing precisely where it lands.

That’s why I really appreciate the Buckets of Hope program. It is a very tangible effort to help survivors of the Haitian earthquake that our church, Petaluma Valley Baptist, is participating in.

The Buckets of Hope are five-gallon white buckets with a handle that are filled with a very specific list of food staples, such as cooking oil, dry black beans, rice, sugar, peanut butter and flour. Once the food has been consumed, the bucket itself will be a useful item.

Every bucket is to be exactly alike to minimize problems with US and Haitian customs officials. And much thought was given by the originators of the project regarding what to include and how to pack it. Never mind including treats; every square inch of space in the bucket is taken up with these basics for survival. In fact, very specific directions must be followed in order to fit all the items into the bucket.

The cost to purchase the food for the bucket is about $30 and the buckets’ contents will feed a Haitian family for a week. It is also asked that a cash contribution of $10 is enclosed to help pay for the shipping cost. Fully packed, the bucket weights about 30 pounds.

The buckets from our church will be shipped this week to a church in Sacramento that is the collection point for all buckets from Northern California Southern Baptist churches. From there, they will be shipped to a warehouse in Florida and eventually loaded onto cargo containers for shipment to Haiti.

I picked up the list of items for the bucket and I planned to buy them on one of my frequent trips to the grocery store. However, it turned out that a couple of the items such as the 20 ounce cylinder of sugar were hard to find. So a group of women from the church kindly offered to do the shopping and packing for those of us short on time – all we needed to do was write a check.

I can’t imagine what life in Haiti is like now. But I pray that receiving a bucket of provisions does just what the name says, and gives the family who receives it some hope.