Building Hope Gala's House Rally Sets Record of 60 Housing Units

(L to R) Abdol and Cathy Moabery, Rene and Francis Mahfood, event co-chairpersons

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2011) – More than 350 compassionate South Florida residents attended Food For The Poor’s sold-out Building Hope Gala on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Boca West Country Club.

As the gala’s name implies, attendees gathered to create a legacy by pledging to build critically needed houses during the charity’s live house-rally. This year, the energized crowd pledged to construct a record 60 housing units – to restore hope and to shelter the destitute in the Caribbean and Latin America.

"Imagine being afraid of the very structure that serves as your home," said Robin Mahfood, CEO/President of Food For The Poor. "No one can fight poverty alone. Together, we can continue to improve the conditions of endangered communities, one family at a time."

(L to R) Natasha Singh, Patricia Wallace, Ronda Gluck, Cathy Moabery, Rene Mahfood, Julie Mahfood, Pamela Matsil, Traci Wilson

Food For The Poor can build a simple housing unit with a latrine for $3,200. Food For The Poor homes are built with a strong corrugated zinc roof, a solid concrete foundation, cement block walls, windows for ventilation and a front door that can be locked.

At the helm, event co-chairpersons, Cathy and Abdol Moabery and Rene and Francis Mahfood, steered a new course for Food For The Poor’s 16th annual Building Hope Gala. Committee members included Ronda Gluck, Julie Mahfood, Pamela Matsil, Natasha Singh, Patricia Wallace and Traci Wilson.

The event’s elegant cocktail reception and exclusive silent auction began with the sounds of saxophonist, Leo Casino. Bidding on silent auction prizes offered opportunities for guests to donate to the cause at the same time. Prizes included exclusive art and collectibles from the Caribbean and Latin America, designer jewelry, luxury vacations, and golf and dining packages. The Building Hope Gala offered a full night of exceptional dining, dancing and inspirational moments.

(L to R) Gregory and Maryann Fried, Pamela Matsil, Barbara and Andy Kallen

"We are blessed to live in this country while in other parts of the world a Food For The Poor home provides a secure, dry and potentially warm place to sleep at night," said Cathy Moabery. "It is our hope that receiving a Food For The Poor home will give them the will and determination to build stronger family units, while also building on their dreams."

The event co-chairpersons and committee members devised a unique way to inspire gala attendees to contribute toward making a difference in the lives of others. For a donation, 50 guests purchased a starfish to see what they would win. Each starfish represented a unique gift. The grand prize was a pair of beautiful diamond earrings donated by Gregory’s Fine Jewelry in Boca Raton. Gregory’s Fine jewelry also donated necklaces and gift certificates for prizes.

Master of ceremonies, Calvin Hughes

Master of ceremonies, Calvin Hughes, an Emmy Award-winning newscaster for WPLG-TV ABC Local 10 News, shared stories from his personal journeys to Haiti where he reported how nonprofits such as Food For The Poor continue to strive to improve lives and living conditions throughout the country.

"What a small price to pay, to give someone the joy of having a place to call home; a place where they can have hope and, most importantly, a place where families can dream," said Rene Mahfood.

Event sponsors included Aljoma Lumber, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Bernuth Agencies, Inc., Dennis Charley & Associates, Inc., Dusco Doors, Gregory’s Fine Jewelry, Haiti Shipping Lines, Japs-Olson Company, McFFe Group, MSP, The Pereira Family, Quadriga Art, Inc., SEACOR Holdings Inc., Seaboard Marine Ltd., Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami (Taiwan), TD Bank, N.A., United Healthcare, and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.

(L to R) Ray Mou and Robin Mahfood

For information regarding next year’s Building Hope Gala please call 1-888-404-4248.

Food For The Poor, the third-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
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054