Humanitarian assistance mission provides help to Haiti

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Klynne Pearl Serrano
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
A crew of Airmen from Altus Air Force Base, Okla., delivered 136,000 pounds of humanitarian aid Dec. 19, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Members assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron, the 97th Security Forces Squadron, the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 97th Maintenance Directorate all played an important role in the humanitarian aid delivery here.

"We delivered more than 130,000 pounds of rice, beans and corn meal that will be distributed to various orphanages in Haiti," said Maj. Jody Turk, the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron assistant director of operations. "This delivery alone will provide 30,000 meals and feed about 10,000 children. It took a lot of planning and cooperation between the different agencies to make this mission successful."

The food donation was provided by Operation Ukraine, a non-profit relief organization that collects and distributes supplies around the world.

"Our U.S. Air Force is number one," said Kathy Cadden, the founder and president of Operation Ukraine. "Without the U.S. Air Force there would have been thousands of kids that would have died. We feed anywhere from 8,500 to 10,000 children a month and that would not be possible without the Denton Program."

The Denton Program is a commodity transportation program that is authorized under Title 10 U.S.C. Section 402, which provides the authority for Department of Defense to use any extra space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian assistance materials donated by non-governmental organizations, international organizations and private voluntary organizations for humanitarian relief.

Humanitarian aid deliveries made by the Airmen through the Denton Program are making a significant difference in the area where the supplies are delivered, Cadden said.

"We are touching lives and making a difference," she said. "The death rate of children has gone down 75 percent in the area where this food is going, which is tremendous because about one-fourth to one-half of children die before they reach the age of five."

According to Cadden, the educational rate in the area where the food is being delivered has also gone up about 80 percent.

"The Denton Program has saved lives and is improving the quality of education in Haiti," Cadden said.