USNS Comfort Delivers Charitable Goods To Haitians

By Dialogo
April 23, 2009

Continuing Promise 2009 (CP09) delivered charitable goods to Mission Ranch Orphanage in Citi Soleil. Mission Ranch Orphanage, which stems from the Famine Relief Foundation, is a non-governmental organization that rescues orphaned children in the poorest sections of Haiti. “Our mission is quite simple,” said Mark Dreibelbis, president of Famine Relief Foundation and Mission Ranch Orphanage. “We go into the darkest places and provide a beacon of hope, humanitarian service, education and supply for the impoverished people of Citi Soleil.” Project Handclasp donated the goods to Mission Ranch Orphanage and other organizations throughout Haiti. Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program established in 1962 to collect and distribute donated humanitarian, educational, and goodwill materials using empty cargo space on Navy ships. Materials are distributed directly to needy recipients by U.S. service personnel. Through direct person-to-person contact in the conduct of community relations endeavors, Project Handclasp plays a vital role in enabling the Navy to carry out its mission of fostering peace and goodwill by promoting international friendship and trust. Their outreach in Haiti for CP09 included delivery of more than 1.4 million high nutrition meals, 350 water filters, wheelchairs, over-the-counter medications, and medical and hygiene pallets. Mission Ranch Orphanage received two pallets of medical supplies and two pallets of hygiene supplies. “CP09’s delivery is a tremendous blessing,” Dreibelbis said. “The resources delivered will provide recovery and restoration to one of the poorest cities in the world.” Aside from being an orphanage the staff at Mission Ranch Orphanage also provides basic medical care to the victims of violence in Citi Soleil. “There is so much uncontrolled violence associated with gang activity in this part of the country,” Dreibelbis said. “We provide medical care for up to twelve people a day coming in with gashes, cuts, burns, and machete wounds. The resources we are receiving will sustain our medical supply for over a year to enable care for people after CP09 departs Haiti.” The organization was established five years ago and this is the first time it partnered with the CP mission. “There is so much potential here for future missions,” Dreibelbis said. “Our organization is a liaison between the walls of the medical sites and the rest of the community. There is so much going on outside the gates of the medical sites and CP09’s support for our organization is building a bigger network to provide help to the people who cannot access the sites.” The Director of Mission Ranch Orphanage, Remedor Fritzner, a native of Citi Soleil, Haiti, highlighted the fact that the Citi Soleil community had never associated the U.S. military with humanitarian aid. “Now the Citi Soleil community will understand clearly that Americans are willing to help,” said Fritzner. “Everyone is talking about CP09 here. Seeing people in uniform used to be something they feared and now they realize that they are here to help.” CP09’s crew is expected to leave Haiti April 19 and will move on with its four month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to other Latin America and the Caribbean region countries to include The Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, Panama, Colombia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.