As a response to God’s calling, local resident Jennifer Douma started Operation Outpour in 2010. She recently sat down with Cassidy Gillespie-Dipinto for this exclusive Smart Reader Q&A.
By spreading the love of Jesus to families which are impoverished, starving, and forgotten — by feeding, clothing, education, loving, and inspiring them through the words of the Bible, the people of Operation Outpour envision a world where every child and every human can reach their own potential through God’s love.
Q:How did you get involved with this organization?
My husband and I founded it back in 2010. We started it in our living room by just reaching out and loving people on purpose.
Q: Why are you passionate about this project?
I have had my own personal struggles in life, and that has caused me to have a certain amount of gratitude and to be able to give back and want to give back in a purposeful way. That is where that all came from.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your first experience to Haiti.
I go at least twice a year. Since 2013, we have been going. It is like stepping back in time as far as the amount of poverty and the lack of what we would expect in everyday life. It’s been a learning experience for sure.
Q:Who are some of your sponsors?
We have individual sponsors. Everyday people at church or other community members, we have some businesses occasionally. The majority of our support comes from word of mouth in person or on social media.
Q:Who else encompasses your team?
We have seven board members and they range from different ages and backgrounds skills – everyone adds their own piece to the puzzle.
Q: What is your Mission Statement?
Our mission is waring against injustice by blessing the oppressed with radical acts of Christ’s love!
Q: Tell us more about Operation Outpour.
We have been involved since 2013 and we originally had gone as a way to see how we can be utilized to help. The poverty is overwhelming and you can intially feel like the problem is just too big – so why bother doing anything? After working with different community leaders, we realized that education was the most crucial piece that was missing. In the U.S., its illegal to not educate your child but their school is just a business. If you do not have money you can not send your children to school.
Q: Can you tell us more about the school you have been building in Haiti?
We opened the school on September 1st with four classrooms – we originally broke ground in January, 2018 and we have a goal of adding another four classrooms by fall of 2020. We have the capacity to serve about 100 children right now.
Q: Tell us more about how your organization raised the funds for the school?
We have done plenty of work with fair trade products. We bring them back with us. They have some beautiful handmade items that you can’t find at WalMart or Target. so people really take to that. We also have dinners or pop up boutiques, there we sell these fair trade products. We just take it one chunk at a time.
Q: Operation Outpour is a 501 © (3) Non-profit Organization. What are some of the challenges and benefits of being non-profit?
The challenge is clearly the funding, there’s always a need and always something to work for. A benefit is that you have some kind of freedom because you are able to work at your own pace at what you can do.
Q: What is your strategy to impact future generations of Hatians?
We continue to fundraise and network and spread the word. We try to educate people on how they can help in different ways.
Q: What is your plan for the future, should we expect more schools?
Certainly to finish the eight classrooms we are working on now and beyond that, we do have a vision of adding another eight classrooms. We have land, and we have enough space that we could definitely add another eight classrooms along with a medical clinic and that type of stuff
Q: How can members of the community help?
We have our Facebook page and our website that normally has our current goals/needs and events that we have coming up. You can also find information about us and how to come on a trip with us.
Q: What does a monthly partnership entail?
We have a school sponsorship which is 35$ a month adn that allows one child to attend school and have supplies and one meal a day. Which may not sound like a big deal, but in Haiti it is a huge thing.
Q: With the holiday season quickly approaching, can you tell us more about the ‘Gifts That Give Back’ program?
We are in the process of opening a fair trade boutique in Kenosha and the goal is to have that open by Black Friday and it will be a regular store that will be an ongoing fundraising spot. We will be loocated in Simmons Park Plaza on Sheridan Road.
Q:Anything else you’d like to touch on?
Another key piece of our specific program is an agriculture program at our school. School is a business in Haiti, so we do ask the families to pay a little bit. If they aren’t able to do that, then we have a training garden in which the parents can volunteer to work in the garden and then proceeds from the garden go towards the school and education. The garden is also to show our children basic farming skills
Q: Where can people find more?
By searching Operation Outpour on Facebook or at our website: operationoutpour.org
This article originally appeared in the November 7th issue of The Smart Reader.
Interview by Cassidy Gillespie-Dipinto & Donny Stancato.
Edited by Jason Hedman
Tune in to Happenings Q&A on Wednesday, November 20th, at 12:30 p.m. when Jennifer Douma of Operation Outpour will be our guest. Find us on your radio dial at AM1050 WLIP.