Even so, he said, “we see people who are optimistic. They're happy. They're content. … They don't have what we have here, but they're going strong. They still smile.”
Part of SandRidge's November trip was spent installing sidewalks and helping to rebuild a kitchen in the Frettas Child Development Center. SandRidge has worked with several nonprofits — Kids Against Hunger Northwest Oklahoma, Convoy of Hope, Mission of Hope and HaitiOne — to provide 270,000 meals for children.
Monte Stewart, director of Kids Against Hunger's satellite office in Cherokee, accompanied the SandRidge volunteers on the journey.
“We really see it as something that's needed: to send food all over the world,” said Stewart, 60, whose organization relies on donations to fulfill its mission. “There are starving kids everywhere.”
Kids Against Hunger fills bags with rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin powder containing 24 ingredients. Each bag is considered the equivalent of six meals.
“It doesn't look like much,” Stewart said, “but it gets bigger when it's cooked.”
In Haiti, the meals are distributed by Mission of Hope.
“We were told they've been feeding 60,000 to 65,000 people every day,” he said. “Much of that is Kids Against Hunger Food. … Starting this week, the people we worked with (on the trip) will start eating the food that came from Cherokee.”
The efforts have helped SandRidge and Kids Against Hunger build relationships with their Haitian counterparts — relationships that should continue to blossom as time goes on. Both sides are benefiting from the experience.
“It's amazing how far a dollar goes in Third World countries like Haiti. … Literally for a few dollars over there, you can change lives,” Dewey said. “It takes us getting out of our environment sometimes to truly understand how much we can help.”