FFTP Mourns a Family Member, Joe Mahfood
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 9, 2021) Joe Mahfood, a beloved member of the Food For The Poor family, helped found the charity and then went on to provide new ways of thinking that expanded the mission and service to those who needed it most. Through his work with housing and education, he planted seeds of generosity and compassion that will know no end.
Mr. Mahfood died on Thursday, April 8, in the country he loved, Jamaica. He was 78.
“Joe was always guided by doing the right thing,” said Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine. “In my 30 years of knowing him, I was inspired by his leadership style and his no-fuss, no frills approach in both business and philanthropy. We could all learn something from Joe’s attention to detail, learning and getting things done.”
Mr. Mahfood shared his family’s love of the poor. He was devoted to helping anyone in need and he did it with a no-nonsense efficiency that charmed donors and friends alike.
Longtime donor Chris Davitt remembers well his first trip to Jamaica and meeting Mr. Joe Mahfood.
“We first met Joe about 20 years ago when Craig [Ruppert] and I went down to Jamaica with our daughters,” Davitt said. “He struck us as no-nonsense, and he was so efficient. Because we were Food For The Poor donors, people at the charity were always gushing over us. With Joe, there was no gushing, and we liked it that way! We loved it because we were businessmen and we appreciated his approach. It just screamed efficiency. FFTP is all about that, and Joe was, too.”
In a taped message to Joe, Craig Ruppert recalled their time together in Jamaica.
“Thanks for your education, for the example you set, and for the fun we had together and for the inspiration that you gave us all,” Ruppert said. “Through you and because of you, your legacy will carry on.”
Through Joe Mahfood’s conservation work with the PWD Hunting and Sporting Club, he was struck by the needs he saw in the Clarendon area of Jamaica. It is fair to say that the poverty he witnessed and the thinking he did on those drives to the club changed forever the approach of the FFTP housing program.
He created a systematic approach to the investigation of need and developed the criteria for choosing recipients. His efficiency increased the scale quickly, and the ultimate result was expansion of the housing program far beyond initial hopes and dreams.
For this and so many other reasons, Mr. Mahfood was seen by many as a steady compass for the charity.
He often did things privately simply because he believed they were the right thing to do. He felt so strongly about lifting the Portland Cottage area out of poverty that he personally established a foundation that paid for local children to attend school.
In keeping with his wishes, Food For the Poor will coordinate with the family and announce in the near future an appropriate way to honor his memory.
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness issued a condolence statement on Twitter that read, in part: “Joseph Mahfood was a truly great Jamaican, his rich legacy will live on.”
FFTP donor Davitt agreed that Joe Mahfood’s influence won’t end here.
“The cornerstone of our trips was staying at the PWD,” Davitt said. “Joe made the trips magical. He was social director, historian, gathering us all around in a circle at night and helping us understand Jamaica. Those trips with him were truly a once in a lifetime experience.
“People who went with us on those trips are off everywhere doing good things now,” he said, “and those seeds were planted at the PWD by our time there, and to a large extent by Joe Mahfood — no nonsense, big heart, doesn’t talk about it, just does it.”
Please watch this tribute: https://youtu.be/laEyZ2VlrOQ
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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