Celebrating Hope Out of Tragedy: The Two-year Anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake

The Journey of Hope Memorial Village is now home to 42 families, many of whom are earthquake survivors from Cite Soleil.

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2012) — Forty-two families in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, are waking up in new homes, in a new community, and with new hope this morning. The Journey of Hope Memorial Village, built by Food For The Poor to celebrate the lives, love and sacrifice of the Lynn University students and faculty, is being dedicated on the two-year anniversary of one of the most devastating earthquakes in the Caribbean nation’s history.  

The group of 12 college students and two faculty advisors were on a Journey of Hope mission trip with Food For The Poor when at 4:53 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince. More than 230,000 lives were lost that day, including the lives of students Stephanie Crispinelli, Britney Gengel, Christine Gianacaci, Courtney Hayes, and Professors Patrick Hartwick and Richard Bruno.

“There are no words to express the depth of despair we felt for the students, their advisors, and for the people of Haiti when the earthquake happened,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “These young people wanted to make a difference and the love of service was in their hearts when they went to Haiti. It was vital that we did something in harmony with that purpose – something that would make their legacy eternal.”

A family in Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti, enjoys their new Food For The Poor home in the Journey of Hope Memorial Village.

The Journey of Hope Memorial Village honors that legacy and was constructed to relocate families, many of whom are earthquake survivors that were living near the garbage dump in Cite Soleil. The secure and healthy environment in Croix-des-Bouquets, which is nine miles east of Port-au-Prince, will provide a lot more than a sturdy home.

The village has an eight-room primary school that was built with earthquake resistant materials, and has sturdy concrete columns to allow for the addition of a second floor in the future, and a 10-unit sanitation block.

There’s a two-room community center, which is equipped with a generator and can be used for meetings and prayer services. Dozens of fruit trees were also distributed to the homeowners and a well was also drilled to provide fresh clean drinking water for the village.

The Journey of Hope Memorial Village is one of many examples of the work Food For The Poor is doing in Haiti. Since the earthquake, 2,681 concrete block homes have been built, a total of 12 schools have been constructed, reconstructed or repaired, and 1,020 computers have been placed in 53 schools throughout Haiti. Projects also include the installation of 45 water filtration units, the planting of 150,000 fruit trees, and the implementation of many self-sustaining projects.      

Curtains blow gently in the breeze as two little girls walk across the living room of their new concrete block house.

“As we help to rebuild Haiti, it is imperative that we help to break the cycle of poverty,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor.  “Our goal is not to keep the Haitian people dependent on charitable help, but empower one family at a time to become self-sustaining, self-confident, and self-supporting. Thanks to the support of our wonderful donors, we have faith that Haiti can and will be rebuilt.”

The dedication of this village comes at a time when the charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary.  The   ministry is entering 2012 with renewed hope and commitment for helping those without the basic necessities in life – housing, food and water. 

“We are very optimistic about the challenges that lay ahead for Food For The Poor in 2012, not only in Haiti, but in all of the countries we serve. Our goal is to build 12,000 homes, dig 1,200 water wells, and ship 1,200 containers of food to help the destitute,” said Mahfood. “For three decades, Food For The Poor has been a servant of the poor, and with God’s blessing, we will be here as long as we are needed.”   

Rosena St. Fleur's family was one of 42 relocated from Cite Soleil.

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 www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Wanda Wright
Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079