FFTP Hearts United Community Day: Volunteers Pack More Than 4,000 Kits to Help Most Vulnerable
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 2, 2022) Volunteers packed 2,016 hygiene kits and 2,080 women’s care kits Saturday at Food For The Poor’s first Hearts United Community Day.
Energized by music and motivated by a desire to give back, nearly 140 volunteers gathered in FFTP’s Coconut Creek warehouse to pack the kits and sort donations to help the charity prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
Some held their own collection drives and dropped off goods, such as Gina Stathakis from L3Harris Technologies.
Miramar City Commissioner Maxwell B. Chambers was among the volunteers.
Born to a single mother in Jamaica, Chambers said he learned the meaning of hard work and giving back from his grandparents. He also credits his mother, who made sacrifices to secure a better life for him and his siblings in the United States.
“It’s always good to give back. My grandparents were very poor but when they got to where they could give back, they did,” Chambers said. “They fed a lot of people. My grandfather was in agriculture and they started from nothing. Volunteering makes a difference.”
Janet Rosado, president of Ebenezer For The Nations, said she believes people are called to serve each other.
“We love to serve,” she said. “That is in my heart. When we give of ourselves to those most in need, it’s the best feeling. A simple act of love means the world to those in need.”
The kits packed Saturday were filled with basic necessities – soap, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste – items that most people take for granted every day but are desperately needed by children and families in the countries served by the charity, especially in times of crisis.
Volunteers also wrote personal notes of encouragement that were tucked into some of the kits.
Each spring, the charity pre-positions relief kits to help countries and in-country partners rapidly respond to disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. This year, kits will be sent to Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as kept on hand locally at FFTP in case a disaster hits the United States.
Karel Young, of PopUp SOFLO, a networking organization based in Broward County, said she was excited about doing something meaningful with friends and community members.
“Anything we can do to give back, we support,” Young said.
Neil Adams, of Hollywood, said when he was invited to participate in Hearts United, he didn’t hesitate to join.
“It’s fun and it’s a great way to give back,” he said.
Cash donations also are needed to furnish the items for the kits. To donate, text HEARTS1 to 51555 or go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/heartsunited.
“These kits allow all our in-country partners to respond quickly to survivors, getting them the hygiene kits that they need and getting women the feminine care kits that they need,” said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, FFTP’s Director of Programs and Operations.
Saturday’s event was the official launch for FFTP’s Volunteer Program. Three more Hearts United Community Day events are scheduled for August, November and December.
“We love the name because it’s what we do,” said Pennie Stagnitta, FFTP’s Volunteer Program Coordinator. “We’re united in God’s work. Our hearts are in everything that we do. Our hearts are with the people that we serve. People who volunteer have the largest hearts of all. We can’t thank them enough for being so generous with their time.”
Learn more about FFTP’s volunteer program:
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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