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  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

If you give or have given to HUGG before, then I don’t need to tell you that helping the poor and marginalized is an integral part of working out our faith. You get that and live that out, otherwise you wouldn’t have given to these young men living in Haiti. I think God honors that act of faith and love, especially when you’ve never met them. Thank you for that. 

Thanks to your donations, we are in a safe home, registered for school and ready to start a new life in Cap Haitien.

The concept of Christians serving the least of these is known as preferential option for the poor as we see repeatedly in scripture that God has a special place for the poor and vulnerable and that he has mandated us to consider them in our daily lives. We know, of course, that Jesus embodied this concept by giving up His heavenly home to strip himself down to a vulnerable peasant baby born in a barn. In other words, he was rich, having everything at his fingertips and he stooped down to live out a gritty life in the bottom of the barrel. 

Could he have saved us any other way?

Did he have to become a little boy who grew up in a no-name town with a carpenter for a dad and a young mom with a marred reputation, thanks to him?

And yet…that’s exactly what he did. He became one of the poor and marginalized spoken of in the scriptures.

There were nights he probably went to bed with a grumbling belly. With so many bodies to clothe, I am sure he experienced the bitterness of the cold with a ratty cloak. When did he get his first pair of sandals? Did he ever? Did he experience the softness of a bed or only the hardness of a floor? Yes-our Savior grew up in poverty and it wasn’t happenstance, it was on purpose! 

In Matthew 25, Jesus foretells that one day, he will say to those on his right: 

"Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

As a human, Jesus experienced every one of these things even though it wasn’t a prerequisite for him to save us. He could have still empathized with us without submitting to the worst of humanity. So why did he?  

His suffering trenched a deep channel for us to be able to harvest hope. Hope, after all, is birthed out of pain.

As co-heirs of that hope, we are called to plant seeds of hope in the lives of those, who like Jesus, bear the brunt of the ugliness of this world. When we help- we, in some deeply mysterious way, retroactively help the Christ child who grew up in poverty, we give him sandals and drape a rich cloak around his shoulders, weep alongside him in the Garden of Gethsemane and provide a sip of water to his dry lips at the cross. 

The Trinitarian God of all Creation, in all his wisdom, gave us a way to serve Him through the poor. 

There is an exchange of grace, love and gratitude when both the giver and receiver engage in bringing relief to the plight of one another. Yes- when we give, our own spiritual poverty is relieved and a token of hope is added to our lives. It feels good to give! 

With so many materially poor people, there are plenty of opportunities to plant seeds of hope. They are down the street from us, they are in our families, they are in homeless shelters in the city and in shanties in our towns. They are the Global South and way up North in urban areas. 

There is a concentration of materially poor people in the little island nation of Haiti. For almost ten years now, HUGG has walked alongside, as best as we can, with a small group of parentless boys who are now young men. Outside of our ministry, they have nothing. No sense of home, or landing place or backup plan. Like Jesus, they have gone to bed hungry, they  know what it feels like to not have a bed, their moms, like Mary, probably had bad reputations. Without The Hugg Collective, they would be men, who like Jesus, would not have a place to lay their heads. 

Their daily struggles are inconsequential for us here. And yet, Jesus says when we give to them, we give directly to Him. We are, like the wise men, following a star that points to a day when everything will be made right in the world…and it starts in the most unexpected places; like a barn… or Haiti. 

One day they will inherit the Kingdom, just as Jesus regained his rightful place next to his Father, the poor will make their way to a celestial place. 

And they will find us there and give us a knowing smile that reveals the truth–that our gift to them gave them the hope they needed to believe that one day, everything would indeed be made right. 

Will you choose, this day, to give to The HUGG Collective. Below is a list of needs and wishes for the new year straight from the mouth of Josue, our Program Director: 

Will you help us with these needs?

1-An additional $500 to purchase a generator so we have reliable electricity

2-$1,500 to purchase tools, kits and supplies needed for Trade School 

3- We, The HUGG Board, would like to give Josue a much deserved Christmas bonus this year. This has been an exceptionally hard year with their emergent move to Cap Haitien. 

4- We are still short monthly sponsorships and ask that you would consider giving monthly. 

Interested in Part Two of this series? Email and I will add you to subscriber list or go to

  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Looking for blessings in Haiti right now feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. While these last two years have been rife with violence, political instability and food insecurity, it seems that we are finally seeing the shiny glimmer of what seems like the head of the proverbial needle.

First, it started with Schneider’s long awaited graduation from Technical College. I know that to Josue, our program director, it is seeing the first fruit of his work. It is the answer to our prayers and it gives us a renewed sense of hope that this dream to see orphaned boys grow into responsible, godly men might just become a reality. It is slowly materializing before our eyes; we just have to be willing to adjust our vision to see the blessings in the everyday. I remind myself that kingdom work is slow work.

Second, as sad as it has been seeing Haitian professionals flee their country, it has left a vacancy in the workforce that requires skill and education. We are hopeful that some of our young men will be able to rise to the occasion and stake their claim in that workforce. For me personally, that would be a dream come true as I started this ministry with the hopes of creating jobs and although the artisan side of our work collapsed in 2021, I believe this line of work is more sustainable and better for their communities and economy.

Third, although it was under an emergent situation, our boys have relocated to a much safer and calmer city that is Cap Haitien. It was like the further away they got from the evil atrocities of the gangs, the lighter they felt. The crushing weight of fear has been lifted and they can finally breathe again. Yes, friends, it is a time of NEW BEGINNINGS for this group and I am grateful for it. I am resisting the urge to dream big for now and to just relish in the steps that have led us here.

God is faithful. I don’t know how it has happened but we are still here and there is hope for tomorrow and I am reminded just how faithful God is. The persistent prayers of the Haitian people are powerful. I can attest to this.

Our short-term goal for now is to raise enough money to get everyone settled into new schools and new routines. We need to raise $1,500 for that need today.

The next goal is to make up our monthly deficit of $2,000. Our goal is to secure this difference by the end of 2023.

That can look like a few different scenarios:

1-20 NEW Sponsors at $100 a month.

2-Current sponsors bumping up their sponsorships by $25-$50.

3-Adding the monthly support of 2-4 more churches.

Will you be part of our New Beginnings efforts?

Click here to donate monthly or to give a one-time gift to go towards our registration.

  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

Last November, we were forced to all but shut down our operations on the U.S side of our ministry. We held a beautiful Fall Fundraiser where many of you were moved by the HUGG Collective story and generously gave. Unfortunately, we fell short of our goal and had to make some hard decisions.

We began praying like never before for God to provide for the young men we empower and equip in Haiti. We entrusted this work to our few, but strong, Haitian leaders and shared with them that as long as the donations came in, we would keep walking along this work to break the cycle of orphanhood in Haitian communities. We would continue to send our young men to college and we would continue to provide mentorship and basic needs and help transition them into adulthood.

We let go, and Let God.

I am thankful to report that He has been faithful. Every month we receive just enough to cover our expenses and when we fall short, we reach out to churches and so far I am happy to report that our work is strong in Haiti.

Under the amazing leadership of Josue Henry, there are 15 orphaned men who have a place to call home. They are part of a home where they all do their part. Some are finishing up high school, others are in trade school and thanks to Restoration Church, we were able to send some to college and technical school for the second year.

What You’re Not Hearing about Haiti

Mission of Hope states it most succinctly and urgently:

“The map below shows the staggering reality of what Haiti is facing right now. 6.6 million people in Haiti are currently experiencing insufficient food consumption. 6.6 million people are extremely hungry, and many are on the verge of starvation. We must not look away.”

Our director Josue Henry, reports that their neighbors, their church brothers and sisters are on the verge of going hungry. The gangs have all but taken over Port-au-Prince and are making their way to the outskirts where they are running people out of their homes.

I copied and pasted this latest report from a missionary in Haiti:

From Facebook:

“Situation report from Lafito Community from a resident and a close Haitian friends who have fled after the IZO Gang has entered Lafio beach by of late afternoon 2 different sources report 90 percent of the residents are leaving their homes, possessions, and running to safety ....but many have been shot, reportedly over 200 bandits with machine guns are roaming the streets, one Orphanage was able to evacuate almost 20:children to a safe location late Saturday night only to have the gangsters come in to loot and steal and destroy property at the Orphanage....the fate of another Orphanage with close to 70 children are still in question.....many have gone to Titanyen and or towards Cabaret....the 50/70/90 gangs I’m told are active and perhaps coming towards, Titanyen....many people are coming towards Titanyen/Cabaret from RT. 9 on foot.....Titanyen Community has no police as their police outpost was set on food, water, and no fuel has cause serious of the churches has been converted to house those displaced but need much more space!

privately I can confirm my sources...Fear is so real and prevalent.....uncertainty about the inability to get food, clean water, and medical care are very homes to return to, only the clothes on their back.....this is going to a Humanitarian Crisis Quickly if not addressed!”

The country is being overrun by the very young men we seek to help; the fatherless boys left to fend for themselves on the streets, hungry for food and family.

Because the gangs have taken control of the ports, they have control of the gas. One of Haiti’s largest potable water distributor was forced to cease their operations because of no gas. Hospitals have shut down as have most commerce in the cities. The latest problem? A cholera outbreak.

I’ve been silent on this these last few weeks, hoping that things would reach some sort of resolution. I’ve come to you so many times through the years that it hurts to have to bring this to your attention but we need your help.

Our leaders have access to food and clean water but it comes at a high price. We want to help them help their neighbors, loved ones and local church. I know this is NOT a long-term fix, but this is the work of Jesus–to feed the hungry and be there in their time of need.

Although we already sent this month’s budgeted allowance, we are calling you to help us feed our neighbors and give them access to clean water. Josue has a plan to help distribute food and if we do our small part, I am praying and believing that our efforts will be miraculously multiplied.

Thank you!

Natul Middlebrook

Further Reading:

Haitians Surrounded by Turf Wars

Haiti Wants US and Canada to Lead Anti-Gang Strike

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