Food For The Poor Celebrates Good Shepherd Village
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2015) – When Fr. Richard B. Martin died unexpectedly in May 2014, at 74, plans already were in the works to build the Church of the Nativity’s tenth village in Haiti through Food For The Poor.
In 1998, the Burke, Va., church began its relationship with Food For The Poor. It all started with Fr. Martin’s Operation Starfish idea, where every family in his flock would donate 50 cents a day for the 40 days of Lent. Those funds would then be given to Food For The Poor for the building of villages in Haiti, so it was only fitting that their latest project in Dalon, Grand Boulage, inaugurated in October, was named Good Shepherd Village in memory of the beloved priest.
“Fr. Martin was a man who truly had a heart for the poor and lived the life that he preached. He had asked his parishioners to help build homes for the destitute, and for 16 years they have responded generously. He traveled to Haiti many times with us, helping thousands in the Caribbean country to have a better life,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “No doubt, Fr. Martin was greatly missed at the celebration, but the reins of Nativity’s mission have been picked up by Fr. Robert Cilinski, and we’re confident he also will be a blessing.”
No stranger to Haiti, Fr. Bob traveled for the first time with Food For The Poor for the inauguration of the village.
“I’ve seen firsthand the work of Food For The Poor… and I know that they’re going to take the money we contribute to them and really put it into action,” said Fr. Bob. “It was truly overwhelming the welcome we received from the people for their new village in honor of Fr. Martin. He fell in love with the people of Haiti.”
Dozens of the homes with sanitation have been built, and residents are receiving important life-skills training to help them to become self-reliant. The village in Grand Boulage is being constructed in stages and ultimately will contain 120 houses, solar lighting, a community center, a health clinic, agriculture projects, and a kindergarten.
Several of Fr. Martin’s relatives were also on the trip, including his nephew Paul John Dacey, who got to experience the passion behind the project.
“My uncle often told us, this was hope realized, when he would work with villages and the people of Haiti. This truly is what we’re witnessing here,” said Dacey.
Even though this visit was a mission of jubilation, Fr. Bob also witnessed the great need for safe and secure housing for families desperately trying to break the cycle of poverty.
“We want to continue to build new homes through Food For The Poor,” said Fr. Bob. “So I promise you that Nativity parish will continue to send resources so that other families can have the peace of a new home.”
To experience the inauguration of the Good Shepherd Village in Dalon, Grand Boulage, Haiti, please click www.FoodForThePoor.org/nativity.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry 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 andthe aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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