Building Hope and Transforming Lives in the Mountains of Nicaragua
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (July 18, 2012) — Life is not easy for the families who live in the highlands of one of Central America’s largest countries. Nestled between Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, Nicaragua is home to nearly 6 million people. Beautiful cascading waterfalls located deep within the lush green forests of its mountains mask the reality of unimaginable poverty.
To help address the needs of the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua, donors and volunteers from Catholic parishes in the Philadelphia area have funded projects for five years and have taken annual mission trips through Food For The Poor. In June, a group of 21 traveled with full-time volunteers Monsignor Francis X. Schmidt and Connie Hunt for the dedications of the newly completed Santa Maria Goretti Village in Pantasma and Nativity Village in La Dalia.
“Food For The Poor knows what they’re doing and Father Chuck’s Challenge has gotten a lot of contributions,” said Msgr. Schmidt. “We’ve seen a lot of progress being made in various areas, but there’s still a lot more to be done.”
More than 500 two-room homes have been built within a five year period in honor of Father Chuck Pfeffer. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who, prior to his death in 2004, was dedicated to helping the poor. Each village is provided with water, sanitation and a multi-purpose community center. Some villages even have a school, and a medical clinic. Families also are given furnishings and trees with their new home, and are equipped with self-sustaining projects such as animal husbandry initiatives. Msgr. Schmidt, who’s 80, has taken the lead in what is now known as Father Chuck’s Challenge
“Thanks to the kindness of strangers, help is reaching a segment of people who were living in dire and, in some cases, inhumane conditions,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “Msgr. Schmidt is an amazing human being who sincerely cares about the poor and he understands that fulfilling their physical needs is an important step toward meeting their spiritual needs.”
Much of the support for Father Chuck’s Challenge comes from dedicated donors who not only share their resources, but their time by visiting the recipients of their new homes in Nicaragua, which is an exchange of joy for the receiver and the giver.
“Because of all the blessings I have, I feel I can give back to those who are less fortunate,” said Joan Bianco, who donated money for one of the homes. “It’s very heartwarming to know that a child will now be safe from the environment and that they will have a bed to sleep in.”
To support Father Chuck’s Challenge, please make checks payable to Food For The Poor, Inc. and include the memo source code “SC #80753″ so the money can be properly allocated. Donations can be mailed to Food For The Poor, Inc., 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. All gifts are tax-deductible. Online donations can also be made through the charity’s secure Web site at www.FoodForThePoor.org/fatherchuckschallenge.
Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6079