Boca Raton Gala to Rebuild Haiti with New Hope, New Beginnings

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2010) – Thanks to the generosity and unwavering support of the South Florida community, Food For The Poor’s New Hope, New Beginnings gala on Saturday, Feb. 6, raised funds to build more than 150 concrete housing-units for Haiti’s earthquake victims.

“Less than a month ago Haiti suffered the worst possible devastation in a nation frequently plagued by disasters,” said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor’s President/CEO. “Tonight is a very special night because we are honoring individuals who throughout the years have become Ambassadors for the Poor.”

Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director, and Calvin Hughes, an Emmy Award-winning newscaster for WPLG-TV Local 10 News,shared stories from their personal journeys to Haiti where they witnessed the earthquake’s aftermath.

“Food For The Poor served the first hot meal in Port-au-Prince,” said Aloma. “I personally went down with a team from Food For The Poor and we took water, fuel and 1,500 bags of cement across the Dominican Republic border into Haiti. Of all the supplies, the bags of cement evoked a lot of emotion in me, as I saw this as a symbol of the very beginning of the rebuilding of Haiti.”

During the charity’s live house-rally, Delane Bailey-Herd, Food For The Poor’s Haiti Projects Manager, challenged guests to leave a legacy, and pledge to build 50 housing-units. Food For The Poor can build a simple house for $2,600; one with a latrine costs $3,100.

“The recovery of Haiti will take many years,” said Mahfood. “A solid, safe home is the cornerstone of a poor family’s life in Haiti. It is important for the community to support Haiti’s recovery needs and to start rebuilding homes and schools.”

The crowd, energized by the challenge, pledged to build more than 50 housing-units in response to Haiti’s dire housing needs. The crowd cheered as Bailey-Herd and Hughes, master of ceremonies, announced the goal had been surpassed. At which point, Mahfood stood and said a foundation in Nicaragua would match funds raised during the night’s live house rally.

Additionally, South Florida residents whose generosity and dedication to the organization have been inspirational were honored at Food For The Poor’s 15th-annual Boca Raton gala. Food For The Poor’s 2010 Ambassadors for the Poor honorees included Louis C. Bachrodt III, Coleman and Anna Gorham, Ron and Mary Jasco, David and Eileen Price, and Lynn University’s President, Dr. Kevin Ross.

Ross asked guests to remember the students and faculty members who traveled with Food For The Poor to Haiti on a "Journey of Hope." Ross asked for prayers to continue for the eight students who returned safely to the United States, and for the four students and two faculty members who are still missing – Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci, Courtney Hayes, Dr. Patrick Hartwick and Dr. Richard Bruno.

“These young people and their advisors who traveled with us went to Haiti to serve the poor,” said Mahfood. “All of them went with hearts full of love, and spirits full of energy and service. That is the way that we will remember them.”

Event chairs for New Hope, New Beginnings were Robin and Gail Mahfood. The gala featured an elegant cocktail reception, an exclusive silent auction, gourmet dinner and dancing.

Event sponsors included Aljoma Lumber, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Dennis Charley & Associates, Inc., DKB Trade Concepts, Dusco Doors, McFFe Group, National Cancer Coalition, Quadriga Art, Inc., Seaboard Marine, Strategic Fundraising, and TD Bank N.A., along with special partners Royal Caribbean International.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States, 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
jennifero@foodforthepoor.org