Hearts United: FFTP Seeks Volunteers, Donations to Pack Meal Kits for 1,000 Impoverished Families
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2022) Food For The Poor needs volunteers and food donations for its upcoming Hearts United Community Day event on Saturday, Dec. 3, when the charity will pack meal kits for 1,000 impoverished families in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The event will be at the FFTP warehouse at 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073.
“Christmas is a time when families gather around the dinner table to have a delicious meal and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior,” said Ed Raine, FFTP President/CEO. “Sadly, not everyone is able to enjoy a holiday dinner because of circumstances beyond their control. This is especially true for the people that Food For The Poor serves in the Caribbean and Latin America.”
The charity needs 120 volunteers to help sort and pack the donated food items. Volunteers will have a choice of two sessions, 9 to 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., said Pennie Stagnitta, FFTP’s Volunteer Program Coordinator. Holiday music and decor will add cheer to the festivities.
“All of the volunteers can expect to have a great time, and they’ll feel wonderful at the end of their shift, knowing that the food they packed is going to make the holidays a bit brighter for all the families that receive the kits,” Stagnitta said. “We truly appreciate our volunteers – we couldn’t do the work that we do without them.”
The charity will pack 1,000 kits, with each kit providing enough food to feed an average family of four for one week. The requested food donations to fill each kit, their quantities and sizes are as follows:
- Vegetable oil, one 48-ounce bottle
- Corn meal, one 24-ounce bag
- Parboiled rice, one 5-pound bag
- Elbow pasta, one 16-ounce bag
- Tuna, four 5-ounce cans
- Red beans, four 15.5-ounce cans
- Mixed vegetables, two 15-ounce cans
- Peaches, two 14- to 15-ounce cans
All items must be purchased new, with at least a one-year expiration date from Dec. 3, the day of the event.
The event is a pilot project to help FFTP develop a new program for churches, businesses, groups and organizations that wish to support the charity’s work by purchasing items and hosting packing events at their facilities.
Eventually, groups will be able to host their own packing event using boxes, marketing materials and packing instructions provided by FFTP. The charity will pick up the kits after they are packed and ship them to beneficiaries.
“We have had several groups indicate an interest in supporting Food For The Poor by hosting events at their locations,” said Mark Khouri, Executive Vice President/COO. “But because each case would have required a large investment to develop and support a customized project, we couldn’t accommodate them. This pilot program will help us develop a standardized food pack that can involve church parishioners, business employees or members of an organization who would purchase a set list of food items and assemble the kits in their own packing event.”
In preparation for the project, FFTP worked with its in-country partners in the Caribbean and Latin America to determine what foods would be most appropriate to include in the kits. From there, the charity developed a list of foods in specific sizes and quantities that will fit securely in the kits and clear customs without difficulty.
“Customs has specific requirements for overseas transport of various foods,” said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, Director of Programs and Operations. “Our volunteers will help sort the donated food items to make sure they meet specifications and are the correct size to fit in the kits.”
The charity provides an interactive shopping list on its website to make it easy for donors to keep track of their purchases. To learn more, register to be a volunteer, donate or schedule a donation drop-off, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/heartsunited.
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, 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.