FFTP Celebration of Hope Will Build Homes, Fulfill Dreams for Families in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (August 30, 2022) The women and young girls of Maché Mango, Haiti, walk 45 minutes every day to fetch water from a spring for their daily use. For many families in this village, home is a perilous patchwork of wooden sticks, ripped fabric and metal sheets providing little protection from tropical downpours.
Providing safe, well-built homes and access to water for these desperate families is the goal for supporters of Food For The Poor’s 23rd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala.
The event will be livestreamed on the charity’s website, Facebook and YouTube channels at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1. Award-winning singer BélO, hailed as Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world, will be the featured performer.
The gala will raise funds to build 25 homes and a community center in this village known for cultivating mangoes. In 2019, the gala’s supporters provided 30 homes in Maché Mango, exceeding that year’s goal of 25 homes, and that was matched with another 30 homes in neighboring communities. Still, the need for shelter remains great.
Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, who has served as the gala’s Committee Chair for more than two decades, said Haiti always has had challenges. But this year, times are even more difficult for people to have food, clothing, medicine, potable water and shelter.
“This is the year they seem to be at ground zero,” Nasrallah said. “But Food For The Poor is very resilient in the fact that it doesn’t give up trying to get our truckloads from our warehouse in Port-au-Prince full of food, medicine, supplies and housing goods so that we can continue helping people, especially in the rural areas like Maché Mango.”
For the past 24 years, Nasrallah has practiced a special daily devotion. Each day she contemplates the “Stations of the Cross” – the 14 stations that take believers through the steps taken by Jesus from his condemnation to his burial and resurrection. This past year, Nasrallah began to see the stations reflected in the people of Haiti whom she has met and walked with during her many mission trips over the years.
“At this very moment, there are hundreds of Haitians in Maché Mango praying that you and I will fulfill their dream of a home, a water well or a community center,” Nasrallah said.
Jonel’s family in Maché Mango would receive a new home. Now, when it rains, water pours inside their unsafe shelter.
Each two-bedroom home provided in Maché Mango will have a bathroom, a solar-powered light kit, a cistern to harvest rainwater, and a kerosene stove for cooking and heating. A water well would be installed with a pump.
“I would be eternally grateful and thankful to Food For The Poor and the donors if my wife and I get to benefit from a sturdy house,” Jonel said. “We can’t afford decent housing on our own.”
Over the last 20 years, more than 1,000 homes in Haiti have been funded directly by the generosity of Orlando-area donors, the Celebration of Hope Gala and matching gifts from the charity.
Haiti is facing a worsening humanitarian crisis compounded by rising fuel prices and crippling fuel shortages, political upheaval, escalating gang violence and kidnappings.
“Many families were already in dire need of safe shelter before this latest crisis,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “For 36 years, Food For The Poor has stood as a beacon of hope for these families. And with the generous support of donors from the Celebration of Hope Gala, we will continue to provide homes and long-lasting transformation.”
Committee members include: Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Ben and Nicole del Campo, Josh and Katie del Campo, Marie Deluis, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Liliane Santana, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, and Holly Wilson.
Register for the free virtual event and participate in the silent auction at www.FoodForThePoor.org/celebration.
The silent auction opens at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and closes on the night of the event at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1.
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, clean 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.
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