Hearts United Community Day: FFTP Volunteers Pack 2,400 Women’s Care Kits for Disaster Response
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 18, 2023) Volunteers packed 2,400 women’s care kits Saturday at Food For The Poor’s first Hearts United Community Day event of 2023.
Buoyed by community spirit, 141 volunteers moved to music and cheered each other on in the charity’s Coconut Creek warehouse as they filled bags and boxes with essential items such as wash cloths, shampoo and feminine hygiene products to help the charity prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
Volunteers also wrote personal notes of encouragement that were tucked into the kits.
Aubrey McLean comes weekly to FFTP to volunteer with various activities and was excited to be part of a bigger hands-on event. He was joined by his wife, Robyn Jackson.
McLean, who is from Guyana, one of the countries helped by FFTP, said he has witnessed firsthand how families have been blessed with relief items provided by the charity’s donors in his home country.
“Being here, now I see where these items come from,” McLean said. “It’s paramount to give back. I like working with my hands and events like this are a perfect way to do that.”
Melisa Tchividjian, who attended the packing event with three other friends from New Covenant Church in Pompano Beach, said her church’s mission is to bring wholeness to the community in South Florida and beyond.
“It’s so important for women to feel cared for, to feel loved,” Tchividjian said. “This says we care for them. With these kits, we are saying, ‘We see you and we want to make sure that you feel loved and cared for’ and that’s what God wants for all of us. He sees our deepest needs. This reflects how God cares for us.”
Students from Florida Atlantic University’s Alpha Kappa Psi professional co-ed business fraternity, and Sigma Gamma Rho sorority were motivated to attend to give back.
“For me, there’s so much going on in the world right now, with people not having enough. I love to give back however I can,” said Lovencia Barthelus, of FAU’s Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.
Miramar City Commissioner Maxwell B. Chambers also was among Saturday’s volunteers.
“Helping to pack these kits is part of giving back,” said Chambers, who was born to a single mother in Jamaica and 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.
“We are so fortunate to have a community here where we have things abundantly,” Chambers added. “People all over the world need help and items in these kits. This is a small way to give back.”
FFTP prepositions relief kits every year to help countries and in-country partners rapidly respond to disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. This year, kits will be sent to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as kept on hand in case a disaster hits the United States.
“These women’s care kits will be a blessing to moms, aunts, anybody who has been affected by a disaster,” said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, FFTP’s Director of Programs and Operations.
“In addition to the countries we serve, we have prepositioned kits like these in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to assist families affected by the tornadoes in Mississippi,” Garcia-Pedroso added.
Cash donations, which will help replenish items for the kits, are still welcome. To donate, text HEARTS1 to 51555 or go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/heartsunited.
Hearts United Community Day kicked off FFTP’s celebration of National Volunteer Week, which runs this week from April 16 to 22. Now organized by the nonprofit Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and features thousands of volunteer projects and special events.
Throughout the year, FFTP invites volunteers to pack food and hygiene kits, sort donations and assist with clerical duties at the charity’s headquarters. Events such as Hearts United Community Day satisfy volunteers’ desire to do something hands-on on a much bigger scale.
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.