Race to the Rainy Season in Haiti -- Students For The Poor live on campus for a week as a tribute to the poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 12, 2010) – Today members of Lynn University’s Students For The Poor braved the rain as they prepared to sleep outside on campus this week to call attention to the deplorable living conditions of the destitute. With the start of the rainy season in Haiti compounded by hundreds of thousands left homeless by the earthquake, there is a critical need for waterproof shelter and decent sanitation. The campus group’s goal is to raise donations to build desperately needed housing in Haiti with the international relief and development agency, Food For The Poor.

“Since Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake, some displaced Haitians have been forced to live under tarps and blankets, with only a fortunate few having received tents,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “These people, who live less than two hours by plane from Boca Raton, need our help to rebuild.”
Students For The Poor Week started with students picking up hammers and nails to help build a pre-fabricated, 12-by-12-foot yellow Food For The Poor house on the university’s lawn near the student center. Students have also pledged to eat one meal a day of rice and beans by the Food For The Poor house on campus, as a tribute to the poor who often survive on just a handful of these two staples.

“Destitute families who receive Food For The Poor homes for free have told us that they feel like they are in heaven when they walk into the sturdy, safe shelter,” said Robin Mahfood, CEO/President of Food For The Poor. “Many were forced to sleep huddled together in the stifling heat while insects and rodents scampered about, with leaky roofs on mud floors in their former homes. A Food For The Poor house can be described as paradise.”

During the week of April 12-16, about 20 students will sleep inside the house and in adjacent tents. The house resembles the homes that Lynn students have fundraised money for and erected in Jamaica and Haiti during the past several years. Last year, Students For The Poor week raised enough to build a school in Jamaica, a water well, and to purchase 1,000 pounds of rice and beans.

“We want to demonstrate how Haitians live every day,” said Dan Hennessey, president of Students For The Poor, “and show students how they can get involved and help the poor.”

On Thursday, April 15, at 7:00 p.m., Students For The Poor members will host an on-campus fundraiser to encourage others to help the poor and travel to developing countries with the humanitarian organization, Food For The Poor. The public is welcome to attend the forum and listen as students share their personal testimonials and explain there is no substitute for the firsthand experience of traveling on a mission trip. Food For The Poor representatives will be available to answer questions.

For three years, students from Lynn University have traveled on Food For The Poor mission trips to Haiti and Jamaica. Sophomore Lindsay Doran traveled to Jamaica the first year with the group before later deciding to travel to Haiti. She said the experience helped her chose her major, human services, and develop lifelong friendships with other students.

“I saw and experienced things I never thought were possible,” said Doran when she returned from Jamaica in January 2009. “I felt poverty and interacted with the homeless and the poor, both young and old. I interacted with children and adults who were severely disabled. Every student has the right to experience a journey like this. I am so happy I took the chance.”

To support their effort, make checks out to Food For The Poor and include a special source code “SC# 64619” so the money can be attributed to Lynn University’s Students For The Poor campaign. A donation of $5,200 can provide a destitute family with a double-housing unit.

You can learn more about Food For The Poor’s 2010 mission trips for college students by e-mailing missions@foodforthepoor.com. You can also involve your school in Food For The Poor’s mission by calling 1-877-654-2960, ext. 6988 or e-mailing churchschool@foodforthepoor.org.

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