By Brian Koonce
JEFFERSON CITY – In Creole, it’s “Bokit Lespwa” and in English it’s “Bucket of Hope.” Either way, it means a week’s worth of food and brings the message that God is the ultimate source of hope to thousands of families devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.
As of press time churches across Missouri collected 3,024 five-gallon buckets filled with enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The buckets have $30 worth of rice, cooking oil, dry black beans, all-purpose flour, white sugar, spaghetti noodles, peanut butter and a zip-lock plastic storage bag. The buckets have been consolidated at a Jefferson City warehouse, and will soon be trucked to Florida where they will join more than 100,000 other “Buckets of Hope” collected throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.
Once the buckets arrive in Haiti, they will be distributed by the Haitian Baptist churches. Before they ship out, they will be labeled in Creole telling the recipient it is a gift of Christian love and support from Southern Baptists.
First Baptist Crocker collected 30 of the buckets.
“It’s not a tremendous amount,” said Pastor Don Kabel, but it’s mobilizing people who haven’t been mobilized before. You never know what happens when you take Christianity ‘beyond the pews.’”
Rick Seaton, disaster relief coordinator for the Missouri Baptist Convention, has been helping unload trucks and trailers full of buckets into the warehouse where they have been put on pallets for the rest of their journey.
“I’m very impressed with the churches’ response,” he said. “Let me just say thank you to all the people and churches that helped out.”
Initially, officials were asking for a certain type of white bucket to ease the shipping and customs process, but they soon relaxed the requirements after many churches reported shortages of buckets in stores. A deacon at First Baptist Paris who owned a hardware store ordered, then donated, 160 buckets for his church to use. The warehouse in Jefferson City has dozens of types of buckets in all colors.
Seaton brought back 600 buckets from the regional evangelism conference March 9 in Sikeston.
“This has been a great way to illustrate how any size church can come together and make a difference,” he said.