The week of Aug. 22, the Vista Hermosa Foundation released $1 million in emergency relief funds to aid organizations with their humanitarian relief effects in Somalia. The foundation was started in 1990 by Ralph and Cheryl Broetje, owners of Broetje Orchards in Prescott, WA.
Broetje Orchards, a leader in Washington’s apple growing and packing industry, was founded on the belief that faith and business can be incorporated in a single mission. Apples are marketed under the “FirstFruits of Washington” brand to global markets by FirstFruits Marketing in Yakima, WA.
A statement issued by the foundation characterized the dire situation experienced by the people in the region. “The drought and famine being experienced throughout the Horn of Africa are now considered to be the worst in 60 years. Rains that usually fall from October to December failed last year in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. With food and fodder running short, malnutrition and mortality rates have reached emergency levels.
The statement continued, “Experts estimate that 12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance to survive. More than 3,000 Somalis flee daily to Ethiopia and Kenya, and more than 80 percent of those are women and children. Refugee camps in Kenya are swelling with people in poor physical condition and in various stages of malnutrition.”
The emergency relief funds released by the Vista Hermosa Foundation will be evenly split between Catholic Relief Services and World Vision. Both organizations distribute emergency food assistance, temporary shelters, clean water and sanitation as well as assist with child protection and agricultural support for small farmers.