(May 30, 2024, Coconut Creek, Fla.) – Hygiene kits from Food For The Poor (FFTP) partner Heart to Heart International were flown to Haiti through a humanitarian air bridge in partnership with Airlink, in response to a worsening humanitarian crisis and a desperate need for everyday necessities. Included were eight pallets containing 3,600 hygiene kits.

The goods were flown to Port-au-Prince by Airlink and through their donor Amerijet on a cargo plane from Miami International Airport. Airlink is a nonprofit that provides 200-plus vetted nongovernment organizations with free transport for responders and emergency supplies in response to disasters and humanitarian crises.

In April, FFTP received nearly 20,000 hygiene kits in drawstring bags from Lenexa, Kan.-based Heart to Heart International, a longtime partner, to support FFTP’s response to the crisis in Haiti.

Additional Airlink flights to Haiti are planned with the potential for shipping additional aid from FFTP and its partners.

FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said vital hygiene supplies such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo are desperately needed and can make a world of difference for many families displaced in Haiti.

“This partnership is an extraordinary moment,” Raine said. “We’re grateful to Heart to Heart International, Airlink, and Amerijet for helping us make this possible.”

For many years, Heart to Heart International has worked alongside the Haitian people to improve health access in their communities, said Heart to Heart International CEO Kim Carroll.

“The current situation in Haiti is tragic and challenging, and we firmly believe everyone deserves access to basic necessities and health care,” Carroll said. “That’s why we are truly grateful to partner with Food For The Poor and Airlink to deliver critical hygiene supplies to those in need in Haiti. These basic yet essential items will help displaced families maintain their health and well-being.”

Airlink President and CEO Steve Smith said, “We are delighted to be able to work with Food For The Poor on another critical program supporting communities in Haiti. Thanks to the incredible in-kind support of our partner Amerijet, Airlink was able to overcome the huge logistical challenges preventing almost all aid from entering the country. The hygiene kits and Family Emergency Kits are a vital component in preventing potential outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, which can be devastating to communities.”    

Haiti has been gripped by a wave of unrest and gang violence in recent years. The violence escalated in March, with the closure of roads preventing FFTP-Haiti and other aid groups from delivering critical supplies.

The airport in Port-au-Prince has resumed some military flights with supplies and equipment, while commercial flights remain suspended as work continues to ensure security around the airfield.

“We are extremely proud to partner with Airlink to help the people of Haiti,” said Joe Mozzali, CEO of Amerijet International Airlines. “Amerijet has served the Haitian market for close to 40 years. We are committed to doing our part by transporting critical goods to those in need in Haiti.”

Amerijet has resumed its two flights per week between Miami and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with a B767 freighter following the reopening of Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

The United Nations estimates that over 360,000 people are internally displaced, and the number is soon expected to swell past 400,000 with the Atlantic hurricane season just weeks away, making the situation even more dire, according to news reports.

After four weeks of being shuttered due to gang violence in Haiti, the FFTP-Haiti office in Port-au-Prince initiated a soft reopening in late March and has continued each week to safely distribute critically needed food, hygiene items, and medical supplies.

Raine said FFTP, which has operated in Haiti since 1986, is poised to begin a massive humanitarian aid campaign as soon as security is restored.

“We have the ability to deliver all of this,” Raine said. “We’ve been able to keep going under these very difficult circumstances. We’re thankful that Food For The Poor has been able to continue its operation in Port-au-Prince and in Cap-Haitien under incredible difficulty. It’s been a harrowing time for so many people.