Jamaican farmers donate part of bean crop to Food For The Poor

(Coconut Creek, FL – June 9, 2009) – Bean fields and bean stalks have graced both great literature and children's fables, and now a simple red bean plays a starring role in a miracle story in Jamaica.

The story features small bean seeds, a gift to grateful farmers who planted them in rich soil and watched them grow into a 500-pound treasure to feed the hungry. The bean seeds provided by Food For The Poor were planted in the Thetford Farms area of St. Catherine, Jamaica, by a cooperative of 12 farmers. The farmers received seeds, tools, fertilizer and training to grow the protein-rich red kidney bean, a staple in the Jamaican diet that, paired with rice, makes a nutritionally balanced meal. The harvest was good, and the farmers were inspired to thank Food For The Poor by donating back 20 percent of their crop. 

"Food For The Poor is so proud to be standing beside Jamaican farmers in this way," said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. "This is the most meaningful gift they could have given to thank us for the seeds. Now, hungry children and others will benefit from their gift from the heart. This is the principle on which our ministry was founded -- the gift of the widow's mite."

While the group of 12 already was farming, they had not grown the red kidney bean. Equipped with free seeds and the necessary training, they just harvested their first crop. After the summer heat subsides, farmers will plant another crop in the fall.

“The reciprocal donation to Food For The Poor started with one farmer’s suggestion. The farmers recognized that Food For The Poor is really reaching out to people in need,” said Beth Carroll, Director of Projects for Food For The Poor/Jamaica. “As people who have received, they saw it as their commitment and responsibility to give back.”

The bean project is one of Food For The Poor’s strategies to implement sustainable projects that will break the cycle of hunger and poverty. These donated beans will go to feed the hungry at Salvation Army Street Feeding Project in Kingston, children at Mustard Seed communities, and Missionaries of the Poor.

“This illustrates a beautiful cycle of giving,” Mahfood said.

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, visit  www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Kathy Skipper
Marketing, Public Relations Manager
(954) 427-2222 x 6614