Food For The Poor Mourns Founder Ferdinand Mahfood
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2023) Ferdinand “Ferdy” Mahfood heard God’s call when he witnessed extreme poverty in his native homeland of Jamaica. His religious conversion in 1976 was the inspiration behind the founding of Food For The Poor, planting the seeds of love and devotion 41 years ago that will know no end.
Mr. Mahfood died peacefully on Sunday, surrounded by his family in prayer. He was 85.
With the love and support of his family, Mr. Mahfood established Food For The Poor in Florida on February 12, 1982. The organization initially sent resources to Jamaica, where he had observed firsthand the plight of people suffering from poverty, disease and the impact of natural disasters.
In his own words, Mr. Mahfood once explained what was going through his mind that was the catalyst for the birth of the charity.
“This is not about any one of us,” said Mr. Mahfood, a devout Catholic. “This is about God. And Food For The Poor is an answer to God.”
Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine expressed his profound sadness over the loss of Mr. Mahfood and said he leaves behind a legacy of love and compassion for the poor.
“He planted the seeds when he answered God’s call,” Raine said. “We are honored to continue following this call more than 40 years later.”
Raine said every time Mr. Mahfood went into a slum or a home or prison, the first thing he did was to look into the eyes of those he was visiting.
“Ferdy would say ‘It wasn’t poor people. It was God,’ and this makes what we are doing a divine mission,” Raine said.
As the charity expanded, Ferdy and his wife, Patty, traveled throughout the Caribbean, bringing resources to countless people in need. FFTP officially launched its operation in Jamaica in June 1983 and created a model that the organization would later replicate in other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America.
Mr. Mahfood’s goal for the families and children served by the charity was that they break free from the cycle of poverty. He believed that education and self-help must fortify charity work to make a true difference.
To this end, Food For The Poor began to support programs that taught recipients how to raise livestock and develop small businesses; it also provided agricultural assistance to independent farmers throughout the 1980s. That work with farmers continues today.
In an interview with the Jamaica Gleaner in 2012, Mr. Mahfood said there was no way he could have foretold Food For The Poor’s success.
“I never dreamt it would have become what it is today,” he said. “Not in my wildest imagination would I have believed that it would come to this … culminating in today.”
In the article, Mr. Mahfood quickly cleared up any misconception that it was all about him.
“The organization was started by four brothers Sam, Joe, Robin and myself,” he said. “So it’s not just Ferdinand Mahfood’s efforts, it’s the efforts of the four brothers and all their children, and that is what has built it, and kept it together.”
In a statement issued by the family, they said: “Our family, while we mourn the passing of Ferdy, we rejoice in his life and his founding of Food For The Poor, which has benefitted hundreds of thousands of recipients in the Caribbean and Latin America. Ferdy is now right where he always wanted to be, with our Lord God in Heaven.”
Food For The Poor will announce in the near future how the charity will honor his memory.
Please watch this tribute: https://youtu.be/ZwOxVW_ikT0.
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 in 19 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.