Celebration of Hope Gala Aims to Build 30 New Homes in Trouchouchou, Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2023) – The hopes and dreams of families for a safe, secure place to call home are closer to being realized in Trouchouchou, Haiti.
The goal of this year’s Celebration of Hope Gala in Orlando is to build 30 new homes, and Food For The Poor donors have committed to build 10 of those.
The 24th annual gala is set for Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. ET. For the fourth year, the program will be livestreamed, taking viewers on a journey of prayer, transformation, and hope.
FFTP Board Member Dr. Lynne Nasrallah said supporters are determined to raise the money for the remaining 20 homes.
“The people of Trouchouchou are children of God that deserve a home in this day of chaos and survival,” Nasrallah said. “Whatever we can do to make another miracle happen for 30 families it would behoove us to do that.”
Nasrallah, who has chaired the gala for 24 years, said one of her greatest joys during that time has been going on a mission to Haiti with FFTP.
“The poor of Haiti have captured my heart,” Nasrallah said. “Their resilience and joy make them strong and faithful. No matter how bleak and insurmountable the challenges that the Haitians have, their faith, hope and love of the Lord remains unshaken.”
Nasrallah explained Simon’s carrying of Jesus’ cross in the Bible holds great significance today. Humans face trials and tribulations that may feel overwhelming and burdensome at times. Just as Simon took on the burden of Jesus’ cross, we, too, must take on our own challenges with strength and resilience.
The challenges that Haitians face on a daily basis go far beyond what most people can even imagine. Lack of shelter and food are not just temporary challenges, but ongoing struggles that many Haitians face every day. For them, the weight of survival can be just as heavy as carrying a cross.
As an example of the resilience and joy she has witnessed, Nasrallah recalled meeting Cherie Nelia in 2016, a woman with six children, living in a small, one-room dilapidated shack in Ca Ira, Haiti.
Cherie sang a thank you song to God for the home that Celebration of Hope Gala donors would provide her the following year. When Nasrallah returned to Haiti in 2017, Cherie knelt down on the ground to thank God, saying she felt the gift of a new home had taken her from death into life.
But Cherie wasn’t done yet. She grabbed Nasrallah’s hand and introduced her to her friend, Maude, another mother and neighbor with a big family in need of a safe, secure home, and asked Nasrallah to help her.
“And so we did,” Nasrallah said. “Even though Cherie just had her dream come true with a house, she wanted to get her neighbor and friend a house, too. One more example of how the Haitians unselfishly look out for one another.”
In the community of Trouchouchou, located about 23 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, residents pray for a new home.
Serame, a young mother, said when it rains, she and her four children have to stay awake and try to collect the rainwater pouring in with buckets.
“I don’t know who and what can be done to help us, but I am praying that God [blesses] the donors willing to support us,” Serame said.
The homes built by FFTP donors will include a porch at the entrance, two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and one bathroom with a flushable toilet, shower and a rainwater collection system connected to a 500-gallon water reservoir, all unimaginable blessings for many families in Haiti.
Last year, the gala’s generous donors reached their goal to build 25 homes for families in desperate need in Maché Mango, Haiti. They also provided funds for a water well and a community center, which will serve as integral place for families to gather for prayer, for children to do homework and to unify the community.
FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine thanked Orlando-area philanthropists and supporters of the Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala for their continued generous support.
“As we mark the 24th year of this event, we celebrate the commitment of all of you who have returned each year to help the people of Haiti,” Raine said. “You are truly bringing hope to the families of Trouchouchou, Haiti, and being an answer to their prayers, for a safe, well-built home and access to safe water and sanitation.”
Committee members include: Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, and Holly Wilson.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.