Midwest Food Bank to Expand Operations to Haiti

 Midwest Food Bank, Bloomington Division at 2031 Warehouse Road in Normal. (Credit: Midwest Food Bank) 

Midwest Food Bank, Bloomington Division at 2031 Warehouse Road in Normal. (Credit: Midwest Food Bank) 

Midwest Food Bank plans to build a facility to help address hunger in Haiti.

While plans for a physical location are still in the early stages, the faith-based nonprofit is already distributing meals there, according to Phil Hodel, Midwest Food Bank Communications Director.

“Meeting the needs of the people of Haiti fits perfectly with our mission to alleviate hunger,” Midwest Food Bank President and founder David Kieser said in a press release Monday. “We look forward to sharing our blessings and bringing hope to them.”

The program helps provide meals to school-aged children and their families, supplementing Haitian faith-based school lunch programs.

“The meals the students eat at school are often the only meal they will get that day,” said Hodel. Those meals not only help students stay healthy, but also increase school attendance and academic performance.

With the help of Midwest Food Bank, Hodel said Haitian schools will be able to redirect funds currently spent providing lunches to other important initiatives, such as increasing enrollments in the poverty-stricken region.

The nonprofit will also work with Haitian church and school leaders to identify severely malnourished families, orphanages and medical clinics to receive meals.  

“I think people in this area are passionate about helping those in Haiti,” said Hodel. “People in my circle have visited there and we have friends who are missionaries there.”

Founded in Bloomington in 2003, the organization already operates internationally in Nairobi and Kenya, in addition to eight domestic divisions.

Hodel said monetary donations to Midwest Food Bank are the best way to support its efforts in Haiti, although there may be other opportunities to help in the future.