South Florida Businesses, Churches, Community Groups to Pack Meals for Haiti: Join The Pack to Raise Funds to Send 3 Million Meals

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 5, 2017) South Floridians young and old came together last June for a fun day focused on helping starving children and desperate families in Haiti. This April, they'll have the chance to do so again at Food For The Poor's second annual Join The Pack.

Churches, businesses, community groups and philanthropic-minded individuals are heading up teams for the exciting two-day event at Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton.

Volunteers will pack 100,000 specially formulated meals for starving children in Haiti. Food For The Poor also hopes to raise enough funds to send 3 million meals to families in Caribbean and Latin America countries served by the charity.

The situation is especially dire in Haiti. Since Hurricane Matthew hit in October, much of its livestock, crops and seeding for next year has been wiped out, leaving as many as 400,000 Haitians in the Grand'Anse region facing a severe food shortage.

Sponsors and participants share one universal message about Join The Pack: the importance of giving back.

Wells Fargo is one of the businesses both sponsoring the event and bringing a team to pack meals.

"Our team members understand that small efforts can make a huge difference," said Ed Angelbello, Wells Fargo's Vice President – Southeast Region Operations Manager. "Participating in events like Join The Pack allows them to give back. The feeling that one takes away knowing they have spent time improving someone else's life is immeasurable."

VITAS Healthcare, Granite Telecommunications, Nova Singers and Miss Jamaica Florida also will have packing teams. VITAS Healthcare participated in last year's event and is excited about returning this year.

"As the nation's leading provider of end-of-life care, some of VITAS' core values are 'We Take Care of Each Other' and 'I am Proud to Make a Difference.' These inspiring values allow us to look for ways we can make a difference both in our neighborhoods and abroad," said Donna Borland, General Manager for VITAS Healthcare of Broward County. "That's why I'm proud to represent VITAS Healthcare toward this mission of helping the poorest of the poor and providing those families in Haiti with the MannaPacks that our volunteers will carefully pack up for them."

Helping others is, and has always been part of Granite Telecommunications' mission, said Tracy Miranda Teixeira, Brand Recruiter.

"Since its inception, Granite has cultivated a culture of giving in many ways, including by personally and generously supporting certain charitable causes," said Teixeira. "By volunteering to help Food For The Poor's mission, we are not just providing food for the hungry, but helping to strengthen the community and the families that live and work in the community."

Individual volunteers can join an existing team or create their own team to raise funds to purchase the dehydrated foods used to complete the meal packs.

Each team will consist of at least 10 volunteers committed to raising a total of $500. Businesses, community organizations, churches, youth groups, students and families are encouraged to form teams.

Packing sessions will be from to 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, April 28, and from 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

Food For The Poor is teaming up with longtime partner Feed My Starving Children to host the event. The two organizations worked together for the first time in 2009. That partnership added up to almost 83 million meals a year in 2016.

At the inaugural Join The Pack last year, more than 500 volunteers participated, packing 101,088 lifesaving meals to feed nearly 300 starving children in Haiti three times a day every day for a year. Enough money was raised by generous donors to provide an additional 1.9 million meals that were sent to needy families in countries served by Food For The Poor.

The easy-to-make, easy-to-transport meals put together by Join The Pack volunteers are an answer to countless prayers. These meals, stacked in sealed plastic bags in cardboard boxes, are labeled "MannaPack," after the Biblical food that fell from heaven.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma said Join The Pack is a meaningful way for South Florida residents to get involved with Food For the Poor and do something on a large scale with local volunteers to change lives in Haiti.

"Participants in Join The Pack are not just transforming lives, they're saving lives. Every meal is going to go to someone who is starving, to someone who may not have eaten for three days," Aloma said.

Sponsors include; DaVita Healthcare, Bravo Supermarkets, Payments For Change, Hormel Foods, Wells Fargo Bank, HopeGel, Advent School, VITAS Healthcare, Sonitrol of Fort Lauderdale, and Goya Foods.

For more information on Join The Pack or sponsorship opportunities, please call Cassandra Celestin at 954-427-2222, ext. 4020. Or, to register for the event, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/jointhepack.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily 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. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com