The months of April, May and June are traditionally an idyllic time of the year for saying “I do” – but the nuptials for one pair has taken on an international twist, one where wedding guests are encouraged to help people more than 3,100 miles away.
The couple, Nancy Childress and Ken Haffey, sent out this request along with their wedding invitations, “If you were considering a present, we would love for you to support a freshwater project in Haiti set up in honor of our marriage.”
What was the response? “Surprise by some, but excitement and delight from others who understand who we are,” said Childress. “We’re both passionate about doing God’s will and helping others; this is what’s really important in life. We’re not rich, but we don’t need anything more materially; we have all we need.”
Childress, 55, works as a controller with an international manufacturing company. She met Haffey, a 52-year-old civil engineer with the state of Nevada, at church. Childress said she was attracted to Haffey’s desire to make a difference. The father of three adult children, Haffey is active in the couple’s parish and is dedicated to helping the homeless in their hometown of Carson City.
Childress also is no stranger to giving back. Moved to action after hearing a song about Haiti by Christian songwriter/singer Bryan Sirchio, she said she took her first trip to the Caribbean nation nearly a decade ago. It was on that trip she met and fell in love with a little boy and girl, whom she still sponsors. With no children of her own, she affectionately refers to Ellesie and John, who are now 17 and 13 respectively, as her daughter and son.
Childress later learned about the international relief and development organization Food For The Poor after a priest shared his experience with her church’s congregation. Intrigued by what she heard, the spirited Childress got involved with the charity – went to Jamaica, took her second trip to Haiti, and later traveled to Nicaragua to help build homes for the poorest of the poor. But there was something about Haiti and the polluted waterways in Port-au-Prince, she said, that left a burning impression in her mind.
“We’re told when traveling abroad ‘don’t drink the water’ because it will make you sick. But what if the water is so bad that the people who live there can’t even drink it? We don’t give much thought about the water we drink here in the United States, but Ken, who works with our state’s water department, does. It was his idea that we build an artesian water well in Haiti,” said Childress.
The world noticed how desperate the need for clean water is in Haiti when a cholera outbreak spread in that country. For the first time in decades, thousands of Haitians died as a result of a water-borne illness. To date, Food For The Poor, with the help of Water Missions International, has installed 30 water filtration units, and is in the process of installing 10 more units in the Artibonite region where the outbreak started.
“Access to a clean water source is one of the most precious gifts anyone can donate to a developing country. An artesian water well and pump will provide a village in Haiti with life-saving clear, clean water for years to come,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “I don’t know of too many people who are willing to pass up gifts for themselves on their wedding day in order to help others. They’re truly a very special couple.”
Childress and Haffey will marry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Carson City, Nevada, on April 30. Please visit their wedding page to learn how to help with this project.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.foodforthepoor.org.
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6079