FFTP Orlando Gala Reaches Goal to Build 25 Homes for Families in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2022) Twenty-five families in Maché Mango, Haiti, soon will realize their dream of living in safe, sturdy homes, thanks to donors who heeded the call for help during Food For The Poor’s 23rd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala on Oct. 29.
It means life-transforming change for a young mother with two children living in a small hut covered with hay and walls made of tarps.
“In this home, I feel everything,” the struggling mother said in a video shown to viewers. “Sometimes, my body is just cold.”
For the third year in a row, the program was livestreamed, taking viewers on a journey of prayer, transformation and hope.
Donors generously provided funds for the homes, water well and a community center, which will serve as integral place for families to gather for prayer, for children to do homework and to unify the community.
FFTP Board Member Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, who has chaired the gala for 23 years, told the gala’s supporters the story of how she began to see the Stations of the Cross reflected in the people of Haiti she’s met and with whom she has walked during her many mission trips with the charity.
“Families in Maché Mango right now are praying that we will fulfill their dream, a dream of a home, of a water well or a community,” Nasrallah said. “Thank you for blessing our Haitian brothers and sisters with your compassion and generosity. Seeing their pain and sorrows, we cannot look the other way.”
The mother waiting for a home in Maché Mango prayed to God to restore her vision so she can find work and provide for her children.
“Because I have nothing, I say thank you for every little thing I get,” she said. “One day, maybe I’ll do something in return for someone.”
Last year, the gala’s supporters built 40 homes for families in Kitis, Haiti, exceeding the goal of funding 25 homes. The construction has been completed and some of the families have moved into the homes.
A mother who received one of the homes in Kitis thanked God that she now has the gift of a safe, sturdy home that protects her and her children from the rain.
“After God, this is the best thing in my life,” she said. “Because I never had this. I’d first love to thank God because he blessed others to allow them to bless me. I would ask that you keep doing this work because this is God’s will.”
The Celebration of Hope program featured a performance by BélO, hailed as Haiti’s musical ambassador to the world, as well as testimonies of those who’ve witnessed firsthand how the charity’s donors are changing lives.
Committee member Cynthia Hawkins, who has traveled with Nasrallah to Haiti on three FFTP mission trips, recalled questioning why she decided to go to Haiti on her first trip.
“By the end of the first day, I did know,” Hawkins said. “I knew I was there to be a witness to what I was seeing and feeling and experiencing and that I needed to share that information with other people.”
Hawkins said her time in Haiti is something she’ll never forget.
“What I saw in Haiti is something you really can’t believe,” she said. “You wonder, ‘What can I do to help? There’s too much.’ You realize you can do what you can do – one child at a time, one person at a time.”
FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine thanked Orlando-area philanthropists and supporters of the Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala for their continued generous support.
“As we mark the 23rd year of this event, we celebrate the commitment of all of you who have returned each year to help the people of Haiti,” Raine said. “You are truly bringing hope to the families of Maché Mango, Haiti, and being an answer to their prayers, for a safe, well-built home and access to potable water.”
Committee members include: Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Ben and Nicole del Campo, Josh and Katie del Campo, Marie Deluis, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Liliane Santana, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, and Holly Wilson.
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.
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