Caribbean-themed Event Opens Hearts and Doors for Haiti

ROCKFORD, Ill. (Oct. 11, 2011) — The 10-year involvement and steadfast support from northern Illinois residents ensured The Hope for Haitians Committee and Food For The Poor’s fundraising event, An Evening in the Tropics, was a well-attended event with more than 320 guests.

l-r: Tom Lorden, Reverend Duken Augustin, Pat Bachrodt and Pete Roche.

Residents from the Rockford/Chicago communities showed their commitment to Haiti by funding the final phase of construction for the Hope Friendship Village in Chastenoye, Haiti, and the first phase of a self-sustaining village in Mazere, Haiti. Donors also provided school sponsorships for 200 children from the Rockford Friendship Village and the Hope Friendship Village.

Rhythmic sounds of a steel drummer started the Caribbean-themed event’s cocktail reception and exclusive silent auction. Bidding on auction prizes offered opportunities for guests to donate to the cause at the same time. Prizes included art and collectibles from the Caribbean and Latin America, designer jewelry, luxury vacations, and golf and dining packages. An Evening in the Tropics offered a full night of exceptional dining, dancing and inspirational moments.

During the cocktail reception, guests for the first time had an opportunity to walk inside a pre-fabricated structure that portrays a 12-by-12-foot yellow Food For The Poor house. For $3,200, Food For The Poor can build a single-unit home with sanitation to replace a crumbling shack that leaks when it rains. The simple structure had a tremendous impact on the guests. Since 1982, Food For The Poor has constructed more than 76,013 new housing units with concrete foundations, locking doors, windows, and zinc roofs with hurricane straps in the countries it serves.

An Evening in the Tropics was a well-attended event with more than 320 guests.

The event co-chairpersons and committee members devised a unique way to inspire attendees to contribute toward making a difference in the lives of others. For a $25 donation, more than 100 guests purchased a starfish for the chance to win either a Tiffany gold and silver cross necklace or a men’s Polo watch.

Five-year-old Riley Kegley’s fundraising campaign started even earlier. In July, to prepare for his birthday, he decided to donate his birthday savings to benefit the people of Haiti. With the help of his mom, who is a committee member, Riley created a YouTube video to share his birthday goal with family and friends. To his surprise he not only raised enough money to buy a cow – he raised enough money to buy two cows and three goats.

The master of ceremonies for this year’s event was veteran broadcast journalist Mike Robinson. Co-chairmen Tom Lorden, Pat Bachrodt and Peter Roche and members of the surrounding communities have traveled multiple times to Haiti to meet the people who directly benefit from this annual event’s proceeds.

Event committee members included Joseph Altenhoff, Patrick Bachrodt, Rev. David Beauvais, Virginia Canavan, William Clancy, Michael Delany, Brian & Missy Hand, Frank Haney, Msgr. Robert Hoffman, Theresa Kegley, Danny Lorden, Tom & Nancy Lorden, Bob McLaughlin, Philip Nicolosi, Patti Rangel, Peter Roche, Andy Schultheis and Jerry Weber.

l-r: The Most Reverend Bishop Thomas G. Doran, D.D., J.C.D., Bishop of Rockford, Father Beauvais and Reverend Duken Augustin.

An Evening in the Tropics sponsors included: AAA Quality Limo, Aurora Central Catholic, Bachrodt Motors on State, Dick & Marg Bachrodt, Lou Bachrodt Auto Group, Lou Bachrodt Foundation, Barrick Switzer Long Balsley & Van Evera, Ralph J. Baudhuin Foundation, Boylan Catholic High School, William & Catherine Clancy, Comerica Bank, Mike & Donna Cristoforo, Crowe Horwath, LLP, Mike & Colleen Delany, Diamond Envelope, Tony & Jean Domino, Focus Financial Advisors Inc., Joe Geraghty, Giovanni's Restaurant, Brian & Missy Hand and Family, Joe Hansberry – NAPA, Holy Family Church, Kelley Williamson Company, Thomas & Lesley Killoren, Jeffrey & Sally Krogh, Lorden Charitable Foundation, Robert and Mary Lou McLaughlin, Rebecca Newton, Nicolosi & Associates, OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Rhonda & RC Pottinger, Resource Dealer Group, Inc, Risch Family Foundation, Riverside Community Bank, Peter & Sandy Roche Family, Savant Capital Management, Fern Shore, St. James Catholic Church, St. John Neumann Church, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Thomas More, Warner Specialized Petroleum Services, and WIPFLi HEWINS.

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.

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*NOTE TO REPORTERS: Interviews are available with Tom Lorden, Pat Bachrodt, Peter Roche (Event Co-Chairmen), and Angel Aloma (Food For The Poor's Executive Director).

Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054

Tom Lorden
Event Co-Chairman