Hearts United Community Day: FFTP Volunteers Pack Toys, Write Cards to Vulnerable Children in Jamaica
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (August 22, 2022) Christmas will be brighter for 450 vulnerable children in Jamaica, thanks to Food For The Poor’s generous donors and the volunteers who packed dozens of toys and school supplies on Saturday.
FFTP hosted its second Hearts United Community Day, with nearly 20 volunteers working together in the charity’s Coconut Creek warehouse to pack these special gifts.
The toys and school supplies will be sent to the charity’s Angels Of Hope children’s homes in Jamaica.
Leann Chong, FFTP’s Director of Angels Of Hope Child Sponsorship Program, said the children will receive the gifts just in time for Christmas.
“We believe every child should have a gift of their own to open at Christmas,” Chong said. “The kids get super excited, many of whom have never received a gift of their own, and they can’t believe it belongs to them. Thank you to our donors and our volunteers for making this happen.”
With Christmas music playing in the background and holiday decorations to set the scene, it wasn’t hard for the volunteers to get in the spirit.
Chris Campbell, a retired teacher from Margate, said she loves doing something meaningful for children.
“I’m surrounded by good, happy, caring people. There’s nothing like it,” Campbell said. “I was raised to believe that you are your brother’s keeper. Anything you can do to help others, you must do.”
In addition to packing, volunteers also wrote cards to the children with personal messages of love and encouragement.
Hank Bleier, a retired CPA and certified life coach, said charity is a way to give thanks for his blessings.
“I wish I could be there at Christmas time to see them opening their presents,” Bleier said. “There’s nothing better than watching somebody receive a gift – that big smile is worth a trillion dollars.”
Bleier and his wife, Sonia, a retired physical therapist, became regular volunteers at FFTP soon after Join The Pack Ukraine, a food-packing event the charity hosted at Florida Atlantic University in July to support families in Ukraine.
“It’s a beautiful feeling inside that you’ve reached out,” Bleier said. “We are so blessed to have what we have. If you can touch somebody’s life in a little way, what better thing is there?”
Varad Gharat enjoyed his first experience volunteering for FFTP. “It’s very gratifying to know that this is touching the lives of young children,” Gharat said.
It’s not too late to provide a gift for FFTP’s toy drive. In addition to Jamaica, the charity is sending toys and school supplies to children in the charity’s Angels Of Hope homes in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Donors can choose a toy or school supplies from the charity’s AmazonSmile list, and the items will be shipped directly to FFTP. Go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/toydrive and click on the AmazonSmile button to shop.
Donors also can drop off items at the warehouse or contact FFTP to arrange for pick up.
Items needed include soccer balls, drawstring bags, backpacks, coloring puzzle sets, kites, magnetic tile toys, bracelet-making kits, building blocks, Snap-n-Learn Dinos, tissue paper, gift bags, loose leaf paper, spiral-bound notebooks, composition books, blue pens, pencils, sharpeners, large erasers, geometry sets, 12-inch rulers and scientific calculators.
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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