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Cargill donates to ND Haiti program

Rebecca Moriarty | Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cargill, a company that produces and markets food, agriculture and other products, donated $20,000 to Notre Dame’s Haiti Program, the University announced in a press release.

The donation will go toward purchasing raw salt for the Haiti Program, which works to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, a disease that affects approximately one-third of the Haitian population. It is caused by parasites that cause extensive swelling in arms, legs and other body parts.

Cargill’s donation is important to the Haiti Program because lymphatic filariasis can be treated with the use of table salt.

“Medicated salt has been proven as the most effective secondary treatment, particularly in Haiti where diets tend to be salt-rich,” Fr. Thomas Streit, founder of the Notre Dame Haiti Program, said in the press release.

The average Haitian consumes the exact amount of salt in their diet to be an effective treatment for lymphatic filariasis.

This salt will come from Cargill’s solar salt facility in the Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Bromo Industrial, a Dominican Republic company and customer of Cargill, will deliver the salt to the Haiti Program.

“When we talk about why our salt business exists, we say it is to nourish people and enhance lives every day,” Ruth Kimmelshure, president of Cargill Salt, said in the press release.

Cargill and Notre Dame previously both worked with the Salt Institute, based in the U.S., which is the world’s foremost source of information about salt and its uses. Cargill produces salt for agricultural, food, water conditioning, industrial and packaged salt control.

The Haiti Program began working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in Haiti nearly 20 years ago. The program plans to administer drugs for lymphatic filariasis across the entire nation of Haiti by 2011. This plan is still on target despite the January earthquake in Haiti.

“By helping to address this problem in Haiti, Notre Dame provides hope and relief to the Haitian people while living out the Notre Dame mission to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many,” Streit said.