About this sponsorship: In honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's historic ascent of Mount Everest, Patch and Grape-Nuts are teaming up to highlight those who inspire people around them to climb their own mountains.
In the spirit of the proverb, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime,” Rick and Debbi Sands want to build a bakery in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and teach the residents there how to make nutritious wheat bread.
The Sands, owners of the Great Harvest Bread Co., in Stow, enlisted some help from suppliers, friends, customers, even the Great Harvest franchise company, .
Ouanaminthe, a city just east of the Haitian border with Dominican Republic, has a population of about 120,000 people, with 90 percent unemployment. This prevalence of extreme poverty is what inspired Sands to get involved.
“I feel reaching out to the hurting is in my DNA,” he said. “This is something that has been with me all my life, trying to understand why there would be people in this world who would not have enough to eat, and that children would cry themselves to sleep because they were hungry; even worse, that a parent would have to endure seeing their children in this state.”
Over the three years Sands has been trying to fund this project from the ground up, he says he has struggled with keeping balance in his life – remembering he is also a family man and a business owner – and with the worry he might not succeed.
“There have been the not-having-a-good-night’s-sleep nights for three years, because you wake up at night thinking about these children, where the money is going to come from and why this is taking so long,” Sands said.
But just $10,000 from his fundraising goal, Sands’ dream of a bakery in Haiti is almost realized.
“The building is built, and we just shipped all the equipment last week,” Sands said. “Myself and a team will fly down [in June] to install the ovens and other equipment.”
Sands said once they have six months of operating costs, he and Debbi and another team would fly back to Haiti to train the bakery staff.
“To finally reach our goal will mean we can start feeding 2,300 children daily, and help start economic development in the town we will be in,” Sands said. “We will reach our goal. Debbi and I are willing to do what we have to, to make this happen.”
To help Sands fund his Haitian bakery, send contributions to Great Harvest Bread Co., 4058 Fishcreek Road, Stow, OH 44224. Make checks out to C.C. Chapel/Bread4Haiti.