Boca Residents Travel to Haiti with Food For The Poor

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((L to R) Gala committee members Kara Seeyle and Allison Venditti spoke to an expecting mom in her dirt-floor hut in Ganthier, Haiti.
(L to R) Gala committee members Kara Seeyle and Allison Venditti spoke to an expecting mom in her dirt-floor hut in Ganthier, Haiti.

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2013) – When Boca Raton resident Allison Venditti first arrived in the desert-like community of Ganthier, Haiti, she was appalled by the residents’ living conditions. The barefoot children that emerged from the crudely built huts were covered in dust and malnourished.

“It is the worst situation I have seen,” said Venditti, a Building Hope Gala committee member. “The houses are made of little sticks and mud, with thatched roofs. These families are just trying to survive.”

Building Hope Gala committee members Venditti and Kara Seelye journeyed to Ganthier with Food For The Poor in October to see firsthand the remote community’s needs. Both committee members have traveled before with the South Florida-based nonprofit to Haiti and Jamaica.

 The 19th annual Food For The Poor Building Hope Gala will be Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. Attendees will be encouraged to replace the dilapidated huts in Ganthier, by pledging to build safe, permanent houses during the charity’s live house-rally.

One mother the committee members visited was in the last few months of her pregnancy. As sweat streamed down her cheekbones and arms, she confided in them that she had not felt well in a while. Surrounded by her other children in their dirt-floor hut, she talked to the visitors about the life-changing difference a Food For The Poor home would make in her family’s life, while the older children vigilantly attempted to swat the bugs off the smaller children.

“No one in this world should be living in these conditions,” said Seelye. “This is a desperate situation.”

Seelye traveled to Ganthier with her niece, Angela, and 14-year-old son, Andrew.

“It is amazing that with the toss of a dice I could have been born here,” said Andrew Seelye, a student at Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, during his first trip to Haiti. “The basic necessities to support life are severely lacking. It is your duty as a human to give back what you have been gifted with – to people less fortunate. I think with the help of Food For The Poor we can provide that. ”

Tickets to the Caribbean Carnival-themed Building Hope Gala are available at $250 per person. Please call 888-404-4248 or visit for additional information and sponsorship opportunities.

Jason Martinez, co-anchor for WPLG-TV ABC Local 10 Morning News and Local 10 News at Noon, will serve as the gala’s master of ceremonies for a second consecutive year. The evening also features an extensive silent auction, cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, and dancing. Bidding on silent auction prizes such as electronics, jewelry, vacations, golf and dining packages will offer guests opportunities to support the cause.

This year’s committee and Gregory Fried, owner of Gregory’s Fine Jewelry in Delray Beach, have devised a unique way to inspire gala attendees to contribute toward making a difference in the lives of others. For a donation at the event, guests will enter for the chance to win a stunning piece of jewelry donated by Gregory’s Fine Jewelry.

The Building Hope Gala committee will host its third annual pre-event at Gregory’s Fine Jewelry in Delray Beach’s The Addison Shops on Dec. 12, in time for the holiday season. Join the committee for champagne and hors d’oeuvres, and to purchase a dazzling piece of jewelry. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated toward the gala’s home building efforts in Haiti.

Jay DiPietro, President/COO/General Manager of Boca West Country Club, will be honored at the gala as the 2014 Ambassador For The Poor.

Committee members include Carlos Bodden, Matthew Bryant, Becky Carlsson, Kim Fox, Ronda Ellis Ged, Susan Krassan, Rene Mahfood, Dan Overbey, Tashia Rahl, Lauren Roberts, Kara Seelye, Deborah Shapiro, Renee Stetler and Allison Venditti.

Gala sponsors include AKA Printing and Mailing, Akoya at Boca West, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Boca West Country Club, Dennis Charley & Associates, Inc., Dusco Doors,
Ellis, Ged & Bodden, PA, Gregory’s Fine Jewelry, Quadriga Art, LLC, Seaboard Marine, ShowTurf, TD Bank, United Healthcare, and VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.

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 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. 


Jennifer Leigh Oates

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