Good Morning America to honor Food For The Poor donor for house-building efforts in Jamaica

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 1, 2009) – Former waitress Barbara Gilbert who raised money to build Food For The Poor villages in Jamaica, with the help of many Jacksonville residents, has been named a semifinalist in “For All the Ways You Care” contest. She will appear Monday, May 4, on "Good Morning America" as one of 10 semifinalists in the national contest sponsored by CVS Pharmacy.

Gilbert traveled to Jamaica in 2005 where she witnessed the critical housing crisis firsthand. Then and there, Gilbert vowed to give a Jamaican family a house each year for the rest of her life. True to her word, Gilbert has built Barbara’s Village in St. Catherine, Jamaica, providing homes for 14 destitute families. Through her fundraising efforts, an additional 70 houses have been built by Food For The Poor throughout Jamaica.

Gilbert pledged a chunk of her tip money every month to build homes for poor people in Jamaica, even though at the time she was a financially struggling single mother of four who worked three jobs, attended college part-time and didn't own her home.

As a semifinalist, Gilbert won $10,000, a luxury weekend excursion in New York City this weekend, and the "Good Morning America" appearance. She will be interviewed live between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. along with the other semifinalists. One of the group will be announced as the grand prize winner on the show, and that person will win $25,000.

"I always say, if we could all find something we could get passionate about, we could change the world,” said Gilbert. “I hope my story will plant a seed of possibilities."

Gilbert and her son will travel on a Food For The Poor mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica, in June. They will visit residents of Barbara’s Village in St. Catherine.

Housing has been a top priority for Food For The Poor, with more than 55,000 housing units given to the poor since Food For The Poor’s inception. By providing simple, sturdy homes to the poorest of the poor, the charity can change the lives of entire families by giving them the security of a safe, dry place to live.

Food For The Poor is the largest international relief and development organization in the nation. With more than 97 percent of all donations in 2008 going directly to programs that help those in need. Food For The Poor provides nourishing food, safe shelter, necessary medical care, educational materials, support for orphans and the aged, and much more to the poorest of the poor in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. For more information, log on to

Jennifer Oates
Public Relations Coordinator
(954) 427-2222 x 6054