The Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti announces that Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant, the prime minister for Haiti (2017-18), will be the guest speaker for the annual Heart for Haiti Award presentation and benefit dinner on Friday, March 15. The benefit, to be hosted at Chattanooga's Stratton Hall, recognizes an individual who has "given his or her heart, soul and resources toward the fight to end childhood malnutrition in the Leogane Region of Haiti."
Dr. Lafontant, who served as Haiti’s 20th prime minister, is a leader in the field of gastroenterology as a practitioner and educator in his home country. "During his tenure as the general manager of the Hospital St. Croix in Leogane, Dr.
Lafontant was integral to the establishment of CNP's work to end childhood malnutrition and empower Haitians so that this next generation, in turn, may raise their country out of poverty," officials said.
“Jack and I have been friends over 20 years, through medical practice and difficult times. We enjoyed sharing special times with our families.” said CNP founder Dr. Mitch Mutter, who said he has worried about his friend in Haiti throughout the years. “I remember calling him after 9/11 and sharing my worry. He laughed and said, 'we in Haiti face terror every day'.”
The Children’s Nutrition Program will also honor the late Chattanooga filmmaker, Bobby Stone, who’s "special eye captured the essence of the people and places that make Leogane special." His video of CNP’s work will be presented at the benefit.
The Deb Watlington Heart for Haiti Award was established in 2015 to recognize an individual who has gone the extra mile to support CNP’s efforts. “Deb was a willing servant who loved Haitians and made every task a joy, no matter how complex,” said Dr. Mutter. "Her unwavering devotion to Haiti’s children ceased only upon her death." Ms. Watlington was the first recipient of this award (posthumous). Last year’s award-winner was Senator Bob Corker, and Jim Hudson was a previous winner as well.
Officials said, "The annual benefit dinner supports the programs of CNP’s Haitian staff: monitrices (community health educators), nurses and support staff who work to ensure that every child in Leogane has a chance at life and reaches his or her fifth birthday.
"From the time of CNP’s founding, their programs have reduced acute childhood malnutrition from 25 percent to 3 percent among children ages five and under."
Tickets and sponsorships are available for the event and may be found here