Orlando Residents Plant Seeds of Hope in Haiti By Replacing Shacks with Homes

ORLANDO (Oct. 29, 2009) – At the 10th annual Food For The Poor Orlando event, supporters planted Seeds of Hope for the people of Haiti at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa.Proceeds will be used to relocate families from the swamps of Prolongé to new Food For The Poor homes in Emmanuel Village IV in the city of Petit-Anse, Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

“Residents of the swamp in Prolongé suffer from grossly inhumane conditions of dilapidated shacks, no sanitation, toxic water and a very meager food supply,” said Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, Event Chairperson.

During the past nine years, the passion and commitment of the Orlando community has built more than 500 housing units in Haiti through the Emmanuel Village Home Building Project in Cap-Haitien, Thomazeau and Gonaives.

“You plant seeds of hope each time you lift one person from their dilapidated shacks and give them a home with a foundation,” said Nasrallah. “A home restores hope and human dignity and is a reflection of God’s mercy at work in our lives.”

Nasrallah has traveled extensively with Food For The Poor throughout Haiti, Jamaica and Central America and has a heartfelt concern for the poor. At the event, Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor’s CEO/President, presented Nasrallah with a Papal Blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.

“For years, Dr. Lynne Nasrallah has dedicated her life to serving the poor,” said Mahfood. “Her compassion not only provides physical shelter but also acts as a daily reminder of God’s powerful love. Through her genuine outpouring of love, she has excited and engaged others, and in the process changed their hearts and their way of life.”

The elegantly themed evening included a silent auction, a cocktail reception, and a four-course dinner followed by dancing. A special highlight of the evening was the live house rally, during which the guests were invited to build homes for their destitute neighbors in Haiti.

Winter Park Construction built a 12-by-12 foot replica of a Food For The Poor house in the ballroom at the hotel. This allowed guests the opportunity to appreciate the significance a modest house can make in the lives of the destitute. Food For The Poor has built more than 55,000 homes since 1982. 

At the gala, Nasrallah gave a detailed and compelling account of her recent journey to Haiti. This past July, several Orlando residents traveled with Nasrallah on a Food For The Poor mission trip to Haiti. They were: Justin Larson, Paul Mylod, Liliane Santana-Gabriel, Joanna Santana, Gandy Thomas, Harrison Winger, and Maureen Winger.

When the pilgrims arrived at Emmanuel Village III, they were greeted with smiles, prayers of thanksgiving to God, songs and applause. Colorful banners conveying gratitude and balloons were hung throughout the village. Residents consider the vibrantly painted blue and pink homes to be answered prayers.

Committee members for the gala included: Anibal and Maritza Beltran, Linda Bonnewitz, The Del Campo Family, Trevor and Freda Dieffenthaller, Dr. Jackie Flanigan, Ann Geagea, Cynthia Hawkins, Dr. Aida Jimenez, Isabel Jimenez, Kathy Kinchla, Donna Larson, Tom Murphy, Paul Mylod, Desirae Nasrallah, Nicole Nasrallah, Nancy Padilla, Lisa Padilla, Amira Rivera, The Santana Family, Marie Schwarz, Gandy Thomas, Jean and Donna Wilson, and the Winger Family.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, feeds millions of hungry poor in 17 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 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For additional information please visit our Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org/orlando.


Jennifer Leigh Oates
Public Relations Coordinator

(954)427-2222 x 6054