Reggae Star Shakes up Building Hope Gala's House Rally, Sets New Record

(l to r) Shaggy with Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor's President/CEO

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2012) — Thanks to the compassion of 375 South Florida residents at Food For The Poor’s Building Hope Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4 at The Polo Club of Boca Raton, enough money was raised to construct 100 houses, a community center, and an animal husbandry project of 20 cows in Olivier, Deuxieme Plaine, Haiti. The gala coincided with  Food For The Poor’s 30th anniversary, which will be celebrated on Sunday, February 12.

“I would like to suggest we are the voice for the voiceless,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor, as he addressed the guests and thanked the committee members for their commitment to the poor. “Every person here is a human key that can unlock a brighter future.”

The 2012 Grammy nominee and award-winning reggae artist Shaggy also performed at the nonprofit’s charity gala to shine a light on Haiti’s desperate need for permanent housing. He treated the crowd to Boombastic, Angel, It Wasn’t Me, and Sugarcane. Shaggy is a 2012 Grammy nominee for his new album, Summer in Kingston.

A video that documents seven of the committee members’ November trip to Haiti was shown at the gala to help those who have never traveled to a developing country visualize the inhumane living conditions of Haiti’s destitute.

The Building Hope Gala committee.

“I witnessed firsthand the desperate struggle that hundreds of thousands of human beings face on a daily basis,” said Ronda Gluck, the Event’s Co-Chairperson as she shared her experience in Haiti with attendees. “Food, fresh water, toilets and shelter are things that are at a premium instead of in abundance. Food For The Poor, through housing projects like the one we are raising money for tonight, provides food for the hungry, homes for the homeless and hope for the hopeless.”

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, guests pledged enough funding to construct a record 100 houses – to restore hope and to shelter the destitute in Olivier.

“No matter how much money you think has already been raised for the people of Haiti, it is simply not enough. The need is unimaginable,” said Gluck.

According to the Associated Press, the Haitian government has said the 2010 earthquake killed 316,000 people and displaced 1.5 million. On January 12, 2012, the AP reported that more than 500,000 are still in temporary settlement camps.

“My fear is that they are not safe,” said Rene Mahfood, the event’s Honorary Chairperson while in Haiti. “They don’t have a house, and they don’t have a door to keep people out. That is what they need – they need a home. They need a place where they can feel safe, where they can go to school and where they can learn and grow.”

The winning raffle ticket for a Gucci Fiat 500C 2-door convertible will be pulled May 3 at Arrigo Fiat of West Palm Beach.

Food For The Poor can build a permanent houses with a latrine for just $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.

Additional committee members include Cathy and Abdol Moabery (Event Co-Chairpersons), David Gluck (Event Co-Chairperson), Francis Mahfood (Honorary Chairperson), Becky Carlsson, Ronda Ellis Ged, Michele Greene, Julie Mahfood, Pamela Matsil, Kara Seelye, Natasha Singh, Allison Venditti, Patricia Wallace, and Traci Wilson.

The Building Hope Gala committee members invite you to join them on May 3 at Arrigo Fiat of West Palm Beach at 7:30 p.m. as they pull the winning raffle ticket for a Gucci Fiat 500C 2-door black automatic convertible. Raffle tickets, starting at $50, can be purchased through the charity’s secure website. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the car is $28,200. The Gucci Fiat 500C raffle sales will be used to continue building in Haiti.

This year’s committee devised a unique way to inspire gala attendees to contribute toward making a difference in the lives of others. For a donation, 100 guests pulled a playing card to see what they would win. Each card 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 gift certificates for each bag.

Media master of ceremonies was Calvin Hughes, an Emmy Award-winning newscaster for WPLG-TV ABC Local 10 News. For years, he has reported how nonprofits such as Food For The Poor continue to improve lives and living conditions throughout the world.

Media master of ceremonies was Calvin Hughes, an Emmy Award-winning newscaster.

Event sponsors include Gregory’s Fine Jewelry, Arrigo Fiat of West Palm Beach, Allison and Peter Venditti, TD Bank, N.A., Regal Home Health, Premier Aircraft Sales, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Jeffrey and Agnes Stoops, Dennis Charley & Associates, Quadriga Art. Inc, Haiti Shipping Lines, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami, Seaboard Marine Ltd., Dusco Doors, The Pereira Family, Bernuth Agencies, Inc., United Healthcare, Boca Home Care Services, Comerica Bank, The Ross Group of UBS, Mailing Service of Pittsburg, and Jox Sox.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry 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
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054