MFK Moves Quickly to Meet Crisis in Haiti

Day by day, earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince grow more desperate for food — and Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), a St. Louis-based non-profit already working in Haiti to save the lives of malnourished children, is on the ground to help with emergency and long-term assistance.  It is also urgently seeking donations from the public to make possible these stepped-up efforts.

In its factory, 80 miles north of the capital, MFK produces packets of “Medika Mamba,” an energy-dense peanut butter product recognized by the World Health Organization and UNICEF  as the most effective treatment for malnutrition .  MFK’s Port-au-Prince warehouse, unscathed by the quake, currently has 5,000 kilograms of Mamba ready for distribution to its clinical partners.   Its warehouse manager, though injured, will coordinate this work.

“We are working feverishly to arrange transportation of these supplies to our partner network in Port-au-Prince, which includes Grace Children’s Hospital, Doctors Without Borders and Gheskio, a leading HIV/AIDS treatment center,” says Tom Stehl, MFK coordinator of operations.

For MFK, that will only be the beginning of its task.  In coming weeks, MFK will increase production to turn out 10,000 more kilograms of Mamba, which it will distribute to children whose lives are threatened by ongoing shortages of food. Patricia Wolff, MD, MFK’s founder and executive director, has left for Haiti to supervise these efforts.

“There were 250,000 malnourished children in Haiti before the earthquake struck,” says Stehl, “and we know there will be an dramatic increase in this number as the second wave of the crisis hits.”

One urgent problem is obtaining enough raw materials — peanuts, sugar, oil, dried milk, vitamins and minerals — to produce this new supply of Mamba.  Just before the quake hit, MFK had a large container of materials in the capital’s port, which was severely damaged in the quake.  The fate of those materials is still unknown.

Generous donors, including Scottrade, an online brokerage firm, have stepped forward to make possible new shipments of Mamba ingredients to other ports. But more money is urgently needed to make these emergency efforts possible.    MFK welcomes donations through its website:  http://www.mfkhaiti.org/