California Woman Answers Call to Save Young Girl's Vision

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2012) — Tammy Hamilton knows what a blessing it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need. After praying to God for guidance, Hamilton answered a call from the nonprofit Food For The Poor to save a young girl’s eyesight and to end her suffering.

“It was all about God,” said Hamilton, who was thankful God had her path in Trabuco Canyon, California, cross with Vanessa Lewis, 16, from St. Ann, Jamaica.

In excruciating pain and at risk of losing eyesight in her right eye, Vanessa said she prayed to God before she made the heart wrenching decision to have her left eye removed. Strengthened by her faith and family in Jamaica, Vanessa and her mother traveled to the United States for a second surgery at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami on July 30.

“The doctors in Jamaica could not find a cure so I had to go overseas,” said Vanessa who has endured years of bullying and taunting as a result of her eye problems. “Sometimes I feel like to give up...”

Mother and daughter have overcome many challenges, including traveling to the United States each year since 2002, with the exception of two years when they just could not afford it. Eight years ago, Vanessa was diagnosed with tractional retinal detachment at Bascom Palmer, after her first eye surgery was not successful. As a result, she permanently lost vision in her left eye.

During the charity’s Thankful Thursday prayer service on Sept. 6, a grateful and emotional Vanessa stood in front of the crowded room to share her testimonial.

“I am finally pain free,” said Vanessa, who received a standing ovation from Food For The Poor staff members.

Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor’s President/CEO, challenged Vanessa to pursue her dream and become a doctor.

“The hardships we face provide us with opportunities to learn how we can share our talents to benefit others,” said Mahfood, as he embraced Vanessa and congratulated her for overcoming years of adversity. 

“God has done so much for me,” said Vanessa. “God, Himself would have to explain it to you. Thank you for helping to make my tomorrow a better tomorrow and my future a pain free future.”

Thanks to the generosity of Food For The Poor’s donor Hamilton who covered the cost of Vanessa’s recent eye surgery, Vanessa will receive her custom-made, artificial eye on Sept. 25.

“I always say I am not lucky, I am blessed,” said Vanessa. “Thank you all, God bless you always.”

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 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