Kentuckians’ 112-mile relay helps children in Haiti

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L to R: Abel Garces, Fernando Gonzalez, Andres Valencia, Samuel Peschel, Tyler Kerr, Jerwin Dowler and Soraima Pagan. Kerr will be joined by six friends in a relay in Kentucky to raise funds for Food For The Poor and build a home for a destitute family in Haiti. Photo courtesy Tyler Kerr

FT. KNOX, Ky. (Special to WTVQ) – A Kentucky donor, driven by a desire to help destitute

Lovedaline, like so many children in Haiti, lived in a makeshift, unsafe and crumbling home made out of sticks and clay,

families in need of safe shelter in Haiti, is organizing a daylong relay in September and raising funds to build a home for one of those families.

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Tyler Kerr, of Fort Knox, Ky., came up with the idea after many local running races and other charitable events were canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I started to think what could we do to get back out there, give back and make a difference, even in these times,” said Kerr, 33, a husband and father of four boys and two girls.

Lovedaline smiled as she and her family got a new house built by generous Food For The Poor donors.

It’s not the first time Kerr has put his body to the test to raise funds for the charity.

In 2016, Kerr participated in the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Kilometer Race at Bear Mountain State Park, N.Y. He raised funds to build two homes in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite, Haiti, for displaced Haitian families who were living in refugee camps with no water and two latrines per 500 people.

The new community consists of concrete block houses with flush toilets, showers and water cisterns. Each family also received a solar-powered light kit and space to accommodate a garden.

Kerr first became acquainted with Food For The Poor when the Rev. Glen Paul Baptiste, who speaks at churches on behalf of the charity, came to Kerr’s St. Charles Borromeo Church, in Rochester, N.Y., in January 2016, and addressed the congregation about Haiti’s needs.

Four years later, Kerr shared his experience with his new friends in Kentucky. They all shared his interest in coming up with a new way to help Haiti.

But with most races for local charities no longer scheduled because of the pandemic, the group decided to borrow from the idea of Kerr’s last fundraising run for Food For The Poor and organize their own event.

“While COVID-19 is what spurred us to start, we are still remaining focused on housing,” Kerr said.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, Kerr will be joined by friends Abel Garces, Soraima Pagan, Andres Valencia, Fernando Gonzalez, Jerwin Dowler and Samuel Peschel on a 24-hour relay run of 112 miles in the bluegrass countryside of Kentucky.

Kerr said it’s the same distance from Port-au-Prince to Grosmorne, Haiti. They are planning the route.

“We are all truly looking forward to not only increasing awareness of the needs of our brothers and sisters in Haiti, but also the camaraderie of working together as a team,” Kerr said. “We hope we leave an imprint on the hearts and minds of our children. We truly hope in the future they will look back on our examples and continue to care for their brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Food For The Poor began serving in Haiti in 1986.

Many families are cramped into makeshift dirt-floor living spaces, with no running water or proper sanitation. A Food For The Poor home typically provides shelter for six family members.

“The gift of a home is going to bring a tremendous life-transforming change for a poor family,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Food For The Poor. “It’s wonderful to know there are donors like Tyler Kerr who are coming up with unique ways to raise awareness about the needs of the truly destitute who desperately need a safe place to live. The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily may have halted in-person events, but the housing needs of the poor in Haiti did not go away during this crisis.”

To help Kerr reach his goal to help the poor in Haiti, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/tyler and make a secure online donation.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.

This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.