MSD Community Commemoration: Homes for Honduran Families Honor Lives Lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2022) Twenty families in Villanueva, Honduras, soon will receive the gift of a new home, thanks to a generous Food For The Poor donor and supporters of an initiative to honor the victims of the tragedy four years ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The homes are an answer to prayers for families who lost their homes and jobs after back-to-back hurricanes pummeled Honduras in November 2020.
Many had to pitch tents under bridges or live in shelters for months, while others were barely able to afford renting a house unless they ate only once a day or didn’t buy medicines their loved ones needed.
With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing large gatherings, FFTP and the City of Parkland conceived the housing campaign last year as a good fit with the third-year community commemoration of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy. The fundraiser took the place of an in-person food-packing event that had been held the previous two years.
“It’s amazing how our community always finds a way,” Parkland Mayor Rich Walker said. “Even when COVID prevented us from having an in-person service project, our community still sought to do something to help others. We’re grateful to Food For The Poor and everyone who provided donations for leading the way in building much-needed homes for those in need.”
Initially, the charity considered building the homes in Dulce Nombre, a rural area located in hilly terrain about 100 miles southwest of San Pedro Sula. The charity later decided to build the homes in Villanueva, which is close to other communities already developed by in-country partner CEPUDO, with access to water and electricity, and schools and a clinic nearby.
A longtime FFTP donor generously stepped in to provide funds to complete the project. As of late January, five of 20 homes were completed with the remaining 15 set to be finished by Valentine’s Day.
The new homes will include water and sanitation. Household furnishings such as beds, sheets, dining table and chairs, and an electric fan also are being provided in addition to an eco-stove and a water purification unit.
The homes will be a blessing for mothers such as Sandra, 51, who lost everything after Hurricanes Eta and Iota. She cares for seven children and has struggled to find a job in the wake of both natural disasters and the pandemic.
Sandra said she prays for a sturdy home where her children can grow up without worrying about insect bites or that the house will flood during heavy rains.
“I only have a one-person mattress in poor condition and an armchair in which we settle for the night,” she said. “Most of the time I sleep on the floor so my children can sleep comfortably.”
In 2020, before the pandemic, FFTP partnered with Feed My Starving Children to incorporate a food-packing event into the MSD Community Commemoration Event to honor the lives lost. More than 600 volunteers packed 116,640 meals for starving families in Haiti.
In 2019, a team from the charity was among dozens that packed more than 700,000 meals over two days on the first anniversary.
FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas deeply affected many employees of the charity who have children who attended the school or know someone who was personally affected. Parkland is just a few miles from the charity’s Coconut Creek headquarters.
“The anniversary of the shooting is always a very personal remembrance for us,” Raine said. “For the past several years, we have been honored to work with the City of Parkland to help the community come together in a way that reminds us about the lives we lost, first through the food-packing events and now by building homes for families in Honduras who desperately need safe shelter. We are especially grateful to a special donor for making sure these families’ dreams are being fulfilled.”
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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