Students Build Tiny Houses that Make A Big Difference in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 29, 2010) – Since the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, students across the United States have used art’s creative power to deliver sturdy, safe shelter to those who have lost their homes. They have crafted colorful, small house-shaped pins and necklaces with inspirational handwritten messages to boost moral and raise money to build homes in Haiti through Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the U.S.

“The compassion and generosity students and teachers in the United States have shown the people of Haiti after this catastrophic event is inspiring,” said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor’s President/CEO. “Having traveled to Haiti since the earthquake, I can tell you the devastation is unimaginable. Although no single person, church, school or organization can heal the wounds completely, when we join together, we have the power to change lives and restore hope.”

Approximately 100 schools in the United States have registered to participate in the “Haiti Houses” project. Deerfield Beach Elementary school’s 800 students donated almost $1,500 to Food For The Poor through the project.

“These tiny houses have helped students make a big difference in the lives of others,” said SuzAnne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary. “This is a great community service project because it helps the students develop good character and engages them in current events. In school we teach character education – how to be kind, good citizens and tolerant of others. During this project, it warmed my heart to hear students say they didn’t buy ice cream today because they wanted to help rebuild Haiti.” 

Food For The Poor can build a simple house for $2,600; one with a latrine costs $3,100. The concrete block homes that Food For The Poor has built in the past will be further improved with structural reinforcements. Food For The Poor’s goal is to build 5,000 houses in Haiti this year – an aggressive goal of more than 400 housing units a month.

Register to participate in Haiti Houses by calling 1-877-654-2960, ext. 6988 or by e-mailing

Clark initially learned about the Haiti Houses project via the Internet. In 2008, after four storms ravaged Haiti within 25 days, two art teachers at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek created the Haiti Houses project. They wanted a way for students in the United States to improve Haiti’s horrendous living conditions and to remind the children of Haiti that they were remembered and cherished.

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,


Jennifer Leigh Oates

Public Relations

954.427.2222, ext. 6054