Like many of us, Joey Ferraro had never lived through a hurricane when Mathew brushed our coastline. It had been ten years since the last major storm, and Joey wasn’t sure what all of the excitement was about, but it worried him. As he watched the constant news updates, he saw Mathew barrel over Haiti, flattening homes and businesses in its path. When Jim Cantore started broadcasting live from Fort Pierce, worry turned to panic.
We were lucky, the storm missed us. Joey was relieved. But he thought about the people of Haiti, and how they fared after the storm. When he learned of the total devastation, Joey was overcome by emotion and felt compelled to do something. He wanted to collect supplies but wondered how to get them to the hurricane survivors in Haiti. With a little help from his mother, he discovered that Missionary Flights International flys out of Fort Pierce and would be the perfect way to get the supplies directly to the people in need. So he wrote a letter and posted it to social media:
“My name is Joey Ferraro and I’m in 4th grade at Bridges Montessori in Stuart, Florida. Earlier this week Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti as a category 4 hurricane. 1000 people died mostly because the people are poor and their homes are not built well enough to provide shelter from bad storms. A lot more people will die if they don’t get food, medicine and supplies soon. That makes me very sad. I feel guilty that we were spared and so many people died there. The people in Haiti need food, supplies, and medicine right away or they will die from starvation and disease. We all have so much and if you have anything left over from your storm supplies those things can be sent to Haiti on missionary flights.”
Within minutes, donations started pouring in. Local neighborhoods, businesses, schools and families answered the call, donating tarps, food, supplies and money. The show of community support was breathtaking. The most touching story comes from the day Joey started his mission. A homeless family reached out to donate its own supplies to the people of Haiti. They didn’t have much, but wanted to give what they had!
Joey and his mother started frequent trips to the airport to drop off the supplies, and he met the pilots and toured the planes that would deliver them. Joey’s teacher, Ms. Susan at Bridges Montessori in Stuart jumped in to help Joey get the word out. Joey’s class collected so many supplies that it had to use a moving truck to move the goods. The class took a field trip to Missionary Flights International to make the delivery, where they got to tour the airplane hanger, and sort and package the supplies for their final Haitain destination.
Joey learned that helping people feels good, and that desire coupled with action can start a movement!
Hurricane Mathew victims are still in need of support. Learn how you can help at http://www.missionaryflights.org/mfi/index.php