A little girl needs your help to build homes in Haiti

During the past year, Rachel Wheeler, 10, has raised money to construct 12 concrete double-unit houses with access to sanitation and potable water in Leogane, Haiti. Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States will be building these homes in this very poor coastal community. The country’s dire housing needs were compounded by the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake that leveled most of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince.

Rachel’s house-building initiative started in April 2009, when she visited Food For The Poor’s South Florida-based office and heard President/CEO Robin Mahfood speak about the desperate living conditions in Haiti, where mothers sometimes feed their children mud cookies to quell their hunger pangs.

When Rachel left Food For The Poor, she told her mother she wanted to do something to help the people of Haiti. Initially, her goal was to build 13 homes – Rachel’s Baker’s Dozen. Thanks to generous supporters, Rachel has raised the money to accomplish the baker’s dozen, and has continued her efforts to build an entire village – Rachel’s Village.


“Rachel is dedicated to Food For The Poor and to doing God's work, and that is what you do here [at Food For The Poor],” said Julie Wheeler, Rachel’s mother, during the check presentation.

Mahfood personally thanked the family for their continued support. To Rachel he affectionately said, “I expect great things from you.”

Then, looking at Rachel’s mother, Mahfood said, “Who I really want to thank is Julie. If all moms in America raised kids the way you have raised Rachel, what a country we would be!”

Currently, Food For The Poor is waiting to receive permission from the Haitian government to start construction in Rachel’s Village. The village will be built near an existing Food For The Poor fishing village in Leogane. Fishing villages provide poor fishermen with the necessary tools and education to sustain the community economically.  

Food For The Poor has 30 operational fishing villages throughout Haiti. With seaworthy boats, reliable engines, fishing tackle, coolers, freezers, secure storage sheds and safety equipment fishermen are able to work in deeper, more bountiful waters with larger, more marketable fish. In return, the fishermen must agree to contribute a minimum of 5 percent of their catch to help feed others in their communities, and 5 percent to help maintain the equipment.

Recently, Rachel and her girlfriends spent the day manning a lemonade-stand, and selling handmade bracelets and potholders. Rachel knows every dollar counts at Food For The Poor as more than 96 percent of all donations received go to programs that benefit the poor.    

To support Rachel’s effort, please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the special source code “SC# 69603” so the money can be tracked to the house-building effort. Donations can be mailed to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. All gifts are tax-deductible. Online donations can also be made through the charity’s secure Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org/rachel.

At this time, Food For The Poor is able to build about 300 homes a month, but the agency has a goal of 5,000 houses in Haiti this year. Acknowledging it is an aggressive goal, the charity’s leaders point to the imminent hurricane season and the need to get people quickly into sturdy, safe shelter.

A donation of $2,600 can provide a single unit house to a destitute family. For $1,000, a latrine and shower stall will provide housing recipients with access to proper sanitation and privacy. Proper sanitation is essential to the health and welfare of a thriving family and helps prevent life-threatening illnesses.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Jennifer Leigh Oates
Public Relations
954.427.2222, ext. 6054