Coral Reef Senior High School mobilizes food drive to benefit Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 8, 2008)– Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) joined Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor, at Coral Reef Senior High School May 19th to honor approximately 700 students for their initiative to help victims of the food shortage in Haiti. The Haitian Relief Project began in Ms. Ferguson’s U.S. History class at Coral Reef Senior High in response to the poverty crisis in Haiti. Stephany Giraldo-Henao, a junior at Coral Reef Senior High, decided to take it one step further and turned it into a school-wide event. Their mission is to generate awareness about the conditions in which people live in third-world countries.

“People are starving and dying every day because of malnutrition,” said Giraldo-Henao. “Many students believe that they cannot make a difference and that their voices will not be heard, but I am glad to say that we have proven them all wrong. When we set our minds and our hearts on a goal we can achieve it no matter how impossible it may seem. All we have to do is take a risk and chase our dreams.”

Giraldo-Henao contacted Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart’s office and was told that the Congressman supported the student-organized efforts and wanted to join The Haitian Relief Project initiative.

“We all know of the terrible food shortages people in Haiti are facing right now. Stephany wanted to do something to help them and took it upon herself to start this important project. I am impressed by her drive and initiative,” said Diaz-Balart. “I am very happy to help Stephany and applaud the help she has received from her classmates and teachers at Coral Reef Senior High. I thank Food For The Poor for offering to help in transporting and distributing the goods so that the people of Haiti can benefit from this relief as soon as possible.”

Florida-based Food For The Poor, one of the largest relief and development agencies working in Haiti for more than 24 years, will ship and distribute the student donated non-perishable food. Since Haiti’s food crisis began, Food For The Poor has more than tripled rice shipments to the island nation but it is still not enough.

“Food For The Poor feeds more than 20,000 destitute Haitians every day at our own feeding centers in Haiti,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “Food For The Poor’s distribution center regularly supplies food to hundreds of thousands of destitute Haitians through its partnerships with schools, orphanages, churches, hospitals and homes for the aged.”

“The terrible food shortages in Haiti desperately need the attention of the American public,” said Aloma. “Even before the current food crisis, many children in Haiti were extremely malnourished, and were forced to quell their hunger pains with mud cookies. Students at Coral Reef Senior High School, through their generosity and desire to learn have brought awareness of the on-going crisis to the South Florida community. Food For The Poor commends the efforts of the students, faculty, and the support they received from Congressman Diaz-Balart.”

Senator Larcenia Bullard (D-FL) attended the high school presentation and commended students for their enthusiasm and efforts. Senator Bullard also recommended Food For The Poor as a charity with which she is well acquainted and supports. Additional schools participating in the initiative include: Dania Beach Elementary School, Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School, Miami Dade College, New World School of the Arts and Perrine Elementary School.

The band, MaWoN, participated in the event commemorating Haitian Heritage Month. With songs in English, Kreyol and French, their music brought to light the diversity and multiculturalism of the Haitian community.

Donations are being collected to support the student’s initiative. For $12 a month a family can be fed for a month in Haiti. Checks should be made out to Food For The Poor and include a special code “SC# 064627” so the money can be tracked to The Haitian Relief Project campaign.

Food For The Poor, the second largest international relief and development organization in the nation and the largest charity headquartered in Florida, does much more than feed the millions of hungry poor in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 1982, we have provided clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and emergency relief, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information visit the Web site, www.foodforthepoor.org

Contact:
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Public Relations Coordinator
(954) 427-2222 x 6054
jennifero@foodforthepoor.com

Adriana Pereira
Press Secretary (Congressman Diaz-Balart)
(202) 225-2778
Adriana.Pereira@mail.house.gov