Boca Snowbird Invests in Sustainable Projects to Grow Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2015) – A longtime Food For The Poor donor, committed to investing in Haiti’s future, recognizes he is alive by the grace of God and feels compelled to give back to others. “I could have died many times during my life,” said Anthony ‘Tony’ Pestritto, 88, a resident of Sea Isle, New Jersey and Boca Raton, Florida. “Life is finite – you never know.”

Pestritto’s passion over the years has risen from baking old-style, authentic, Sicilian bread in South Jersey at the family’s bakery, to building schools, and investing in sustainable projects throughout Haiti.

Pestritto traveled to Grand Boulage, Haiti, with Food For The Poor representatives in the fall to dedicate a school he built to give more than 540 students the best possible education. Before his generous donation, classes were conducted in a dilapidated building that lacked furniture and only had one latrine.

“Tony Pestritto is a man of action,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor's Executive Director. “By investing in the education and training of people in Haiti, he has equipped them with the knowledge necessary to escape a life of poverty. There are future doctors, lawyers, teachers, and architects at Grand Boulage School, that without Mr. Pestritto’s vision and generosity would never realize their full potential.”

“Our heart’s desire is to take Haiti’s meager education system beyond its standing prior to the earthquake, to a system that grants every child a life-changing opportunity to receive a quality education,” said Delane Bailey-Herd, Haiti Project Manager for Food For The Poor.

During the school dedication ceremony, Pestritto emphasized that the keys to achieving your dreams are the desire, strength, courage and determination to realize your goals.

“Your treasure is this building,” said Pestritto, to the hundreds of students wearing blue and white uniforms in the open-air auditorium. “You must use the treasure inside of you, the magical keys of will, effort, and determination in learning. Then what you want to be in life will be unlocked. It is here, given to you by people who care and love you.”

These same life lessons permitted Pestritto’s relatives to successfully emigrate from Italy and, with hard work, steadily grow a business. The American way of life, and the way the bakery did business dramatically changed in 1942 with the start of World War II.  

Like other Americans, his brothers were drafted to fight, and Pestritto served in the Navy for a year before he was discharged.

“During World War II, because we were feeding the world with 16 million troops overseas, cities allowed victory gardens,” said Pestritto. “We always had fresh produce. I want to see that in Haiti.”

In September 2014, Pestritto invested in an agricultural project in the community of La Rochiquite, in Hinche, Haiti, to improve the productivity of small-scale farmers. The farmers have been provided oxen, plows, and agricultural irrigation pumps to help produce fields of corn, tomato, green pepper, and eggplant. The community’s proximity to the Guayamouc River helps with the irrigation of the gardens.

Pestritto and his late second wife, Agnes, also chose to invest in the training of 130 bee farmers with Food For The Poor in Central Plateau, Haiti. The farmers received training and supplies to start their operation.

“I am elated about this project,” said Pestritto. “I want milk and honey to flow all over the island. I want to see it happen one day. I want to see it grow.”

Pestritto and his first wife, Rose, were first inspired to donate to Food For The Poor after they heard a speaker at a church in Margate, Fla., who was from their parish in New Jersey. Intent on honoring her memory, Pestritto built Rosie’s Kitchen in 1999 with Food For The Poor to provide low-cost meals to factory workers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Jennifer Leigh Oates

Food For The Poor
Public Relations Associate
954-427-2222 x 6054
jennifero@foodforthepoor.com