20080206 people line up to receive food donations in haiti 18
People line up to receive food donations in Cite Soleil, a slum of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, after devastating floods brought by Tropical Storm Noel. - 


Doug Krizner: It's Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for many Christians. In this country, the average person spends nearly $10 a day on food. So today, a group called Global Fast is asking the devout to donate the money they'll save by fasting.

From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports on how the money will be used in Haiti.

Dan Grech: Angel Aloma runs Food for the Poor, one of the largest international relief organizations in the U.S. A few years back, Aloma was talking to a young Harvard graduate from Boise, Idaho, named Rich Halvorson.

Angel Aloma: At the end of the conversation, he asked a very dangerous question: He said, "What else can I do for you?" I said, "Go to Haiti with me, and see the stuff I'm talking about."

Halvorson returned from the trip with the idea for Global Fast.

Rich Halvorson: Haiti is one of the three poorest and hungriest nations in the world. But there's really a lot that we can do about it.

Global Fast raised $45,000 last year to build a fishing village in Haiti. Villagers were taught modern fishing methods and given shared ownership in four power boats. They now catch up to 400 pounds of fish a day.

Halvorson: So you're actually helping them create an economy. It's sustainable. It's innovative. It's efficient.

This year, Global Fast hopes to raise enough for two fishing villages. I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.