Orlando Residents Travel to Haiti in Preparation for Annual Gala

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2010) –Residents from the Orlando area are committed to rescuing Haitian families who were left homeless by the earthquake, and those who call garbage-filled swamps “home.” Central Florida residents interested in Haiti’s rebuilding process are encouraged to attend Food For The Poor’s 11th annual fundraising event, New Hope, New Beginnings, Oct. 23, at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa.


Event proceeds will be used to construct critically needed homes and water projects in Emmanuel Village V, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. The village will house those who have been displaced by the earthquake, and those who are living in the Prolongé swamp and the slums of Shada. Last year’s sold-out event raised enough funds to build more than 60 Food For The Poor homes in Haiti.

“Haiti’s recovery will take many years,” said Robin Mahfood, CEO/President of Food For The Poor. “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 reconstruction effort and to start rebuilding homes and schools.”

The evening will include live music, a silent auction, house rally, dancing, and a memorable dinner with friends. Bidding on silent auction prizes offers opportunities for guests to shop and donate to the cause at the same time. Prizes include exclusive art and collectibles from the Caribbean and Latin America, designer jewelry, vacations, golf and dining packages.

For additional information regarding the New Hope, New Beginnings event, sponsorship levels, and tickets, available at $150 per person, please call, 1-888-404-4248 or visit the event page.

In July, a handful of Orlando residents traveled to Haiti on a Food For The Poor-sponsored mission trip to witness first-hand the condition of the people and to see how the nonprofit continues to improve their lives and living conditions throughout the country. At the first stop, group members helped to serve hot meals at Food For The Poor’s office complex and distribution center in Port-au-Prince. After handing out lifesaving meals to the crowd – group members gained new appreciation for the charity’s in-country employees who distribute approximately 15,000 hot meals six days a week at this facility.

During the next several days they journeyed through swamps, inaugurated a village, visited a home for handicapped children, and learned how self-sustainable initiatives empower villages and increase in-country production of food. These initiatives include tilapia ponds, chicken rearing and animal husbandry projects.


At Emmanuel Village III, constructed with proceeds from the 2008 gala, villagers were established and eager to share their blessings with the visitors.

“The children at Emmanuel Village III greeted us and brought us into the community room which is used as a vocational school to teach sewing, cooking and gardening skills,” said Dr. Lynne Nasrallah. “They offered us the fruits of their labor – eggplant, corn, pumpkin, potatoes, bananas and sweet yucca – the poor really teach us a lot about generosity and sharing.”

Villagers said the visitors could give the fruits and vegetables to residents at Emmanuel Village IV as their welcoming gifts. In the future, Emmanuel Village IV residents will trade fish for fruits and vegetables grown in Emmanuel Village III.

As the bus approached Emmanuel Village IV, travelers were welcomed by banners that were strung-up between the vibrantly painted homes. One of the banners read, For those of you who traveled miles away to bring love and care to people in need, we will be very grateful to you. God bless you and your family.

“With your support, Food For The Poor can dig out more families from the slum in Shada and move them into a safe neighborhood – Emmanuel Village V,” said Dr. Lynne Nasrallah.

Delane Bailey-Herd, Food For The Poor’s project manager for Haiti, traveled with the Orlando residents. Since the catastrophic earthquake, she has observed families with young children living in makeshift tents on the median of a busy highway. National Public Radio (NPR) reported soon after her experience that approximately 1,000 people are living in shacks made only of bed sheets, sticks and tarps in an 8-foot-wide stretch of median in the middle of a six-lane road that is one of Haiti’s busiest. They all lost their homes in the earthquake, according to the report.

“Since Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake, some displaced Haitians have been forced to live under tarps, blankets, and tents,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “Their daily prayer is for a sturdy home where they can begin to heal with their family. These people, who live approximately two hours by plane from Florida, need our help to rebuild.”

New Hope, New Beginnings event sponsor, Winter Park Construction and their staff, will pick up their drills and hammers to build a prefabricated, 12-by-12 foot house in the ballroom. This allows guests to appreciate the significance a modest house makes in the lives of the truly destitute. Food For The Poor can build a safe, permanent house for $2,600; one with a latrine costs $3,100.


Committee members include: Anibal & Maritza Beltran, Linda Bonnewitz, Vendla Daverman, The del Campo Family, Cynthia Hawkins, Jackie Heaps, Dr. Aida Jimenez and Isabel Jimenez, Kathy Kinchla, Donna Larson, Tom Murphy, Paul Mylod, Desirae Nasrallah, Nicole Nasrallah, Nancy Padilla, Lisa Padilla, Amira Rivera, Diane Rogers, The Santana Family, Lee Sayago, Marie Schwarz, Gandy Thomas, Jean & Donna Wilson, Kelly Wilkes, and The Winger Family.

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
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054