JEFFERSON CITY – It’s hard to project, but the director of Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief thinks Missouri Baptists will collect up to 5,000 “Buckets of Hope” for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The Buckets of Hope are five-gallon buckets each filled with about $30 worth of non-perishable food items collected and packaged by churches across the United States.
“We’re anticipating a very big response,” said Rick Seaton, the director of disaster relief for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). “I’ve had at least an association and one church tell me they’re going to have at least 100 buckets each. It’s hard to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had three to 5,000 buckets.”
“The Buckets of Hope ministry is just one means by which Southern Baptists can fulfill the mandate of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry in His name,” said Mickey Caison, adult volunteer mobilization team leader for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga.
In Missouri, churches may drop off completed buckets at six sites: The Baptist Building in Jefferson City; Blue River/Kansas City Baptist Association office, Lees Summit; Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston; Tri-County Baptist Association office, Nixa; First Baptist, Kirksville; and First Baptist, Arnold. The deadline to get the buckets to the pick-up sites is March 5. The Missouri Baptist Convention will deliver the buckets to a Hialeah, Fla., warehouse for placement in cargo containers for shipment to Haiti.
The food in a single bucket can feed a Haitian family for a week. Baptists also are asked to include a $10 cash contribution – placed in an envelope and attached to the bucket’s lid – to help with the costs of shipping the buckets directly to Haiti.
The five-gallon bucket must be new, unused and without any logo or other commercial imprint. It must include a tight-fitting lid. After the food has been consumed, the bucket will remain as a handy item for use by the Haitian family.
The food in the bucket can be generic, store-brand items consisting of rice, cooking oil, dry black beans, all-purpose flour (not self-rising), white sugar, spaghetti noodles, peanut butter and a zip-lock plastic storage bag. Buckets cannot contain additional or substituted food items. Uniform buckets and food contents will minimize problems with U.S. and Haitian customs.
For specific information about the food contents and how to uniformly pack each bucket, go to www.namb.net/bucketsofhope for detailed instructions.