Banana bark provides raw material for greeting cards crafted in Haiti

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A young Haitian man shaves banana bark to be used in greeting cards. (Photo courtesy Food for the Poor)

In the hands of Haitians, dried pieces of banana bark form the words “Hope,” “Love,” “Joy,” “Peace” and “Noel” for Christmas and all-occasion cards. The card-making is a project of Food for the Poor’s banana bark program. Each year the international Christian relief organization, based in Coconut Creek, Fla., looks for fresh designs for the handcrafted cards, sales of which give poor Haitians some income. The agency has a long history of work in Haiti, and it has had the card program in place for years.

“If we don’t have the cards, we don’t have the money,” said a man named Othon, whose wife, Marcelin, has worked in the program since 1995. The couple, who has three children, spoke recently to a Food for the Poor photographer.

Crafting cards in Haiti. (Photo courtesy of Food for the Poor)

Crafting cards in Haiti. (Photo courtesy of Food for the Poor)

“This helps us pay for school and helps us to buy food and clothes,” said Marcelin. “I feel good to have this opportunity.”

A retired clinical lab director who is an artist, Patricia Carroll of Jupiter, Fla., designed the cards, offering her talent for free to help the agency. “(I) wanted to do whatever I could to help. … This is one of the best things I have done,” she said.

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