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Baptist Health to donate 1 million meals to Haiti

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Even before the devastating earthquake, malnourishment was a huge problem in Haiti. Markets sell “cookies made of clay for 4 cents so mothers can stave off their children's hunger pangs. To tackle the hunger problem, the Baptist Health South Florida Board of Trustees Tuesday night unanimously agreed to provide emergency funding for Haitian relief.

More than $170,000 was committed to purchase the ingredients for one million meals for Haiti through an organization called Feed My Starving Children. Calvin Babcock, chair of the Baptist Hospital Board, has worked with this organization for three years in Haiti. The meals are packages of rice, soy protein, chicken broth and vitamins and will be assembled by Baptist Health employees who volunteer to help.

(Hundreds of employees have already expressed a willingness to help with the Haiti relief effort.) Baptist Health's chief operating officer, Wayne Brackin, is putting together a task force that will organize the employee volunteer effort. “Not everyone may be in a position to write a check. But any employee can assist in this hands-on effort to provide desperately-needed food, Mr. Brackin said.

Baptist Health's employees, physicians and board members have donated more than $100,000 to the Red Cross Haitian relief efforts. These donations are being matched by Baptist Health for a total of $205,000 to date. In addition, Mr. Brackin said Baptist Health has sent equipment, medicine and other supplies to Haiti and will send staff to help when it is safe. “We're going to be involved with Haiti for the long term, he said.

Baptist Health South Florida is the largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization in the region. It includes Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children's Hospital, South Miami Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital in the Upper Keys, Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Baptist Outpatient Services. Baptist Health Foundation, the organization's fundraising arm, supports services at all hospitals and facilities affiliated with Baptist Health. For more information, go to baptisthealth.net.

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