D.C. Reception Helps Build School in Jamaica

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Kate and Chris Davitt, President of Ruppert Landscape.
Kate and Chris Davitt, President of Ruppert Landscape.

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2013) – D.C. and Baltimore-area residents attended an exclusive rooftop cocktail reception on Thursday, Oct. 3, to raise money to construct a Food For The Poor basic school in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.

Many of the guests at the private reception high above Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., have journeyed to Jamaica with the charity, and recounted about their past building trips. John Gerold, Senior Vice President of RBC Wealth Management in Chevy Chase, Md., was inspired to host the reception after he traveled with the group earlier this year. Gerold and his daughter, Lyndsey, have traveled twice with Food For The Poor.

“Twelve years ago, I traveled to Jamaica with Chris Davitt and Craig Ruppert on their first building trip with Food For The Poor,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor’s Executive Director. “Their passion for the cause is evident in their continued commitment to return year after year, with more and more families and friends to participate in the construction of schools and homes built in partnership with the charity.”

“Even though I have traveled with Food For The Poor many times, I always return reminded of the vital importance of the charity’s work,” said Craig Ruppert, Founder and CEO of Ruppert Landscape. “The impoverished in Jamaica treat us like we are family, which is just one reason we want to continue to return.”

The next building mission trip is scheduled for Feb. 14-17. In addition to serving the poor, it offers opportunities for families to reconnect and strengthen their relationships. 

“I believe one unexpected benefit of these trips is that parents and children both learn that giving back is not a sacrifice at all, it’s fulfilling,” said Chris Davitt, President of Ruppert Landscape.

The annual trips also offer an opportunity to show young adults the importance and benefits of being good stewards and team players.

Annie Donatelli and Kathleen Greene spoke at the reception about their personal mission trip experiences, and how the trips have encouraged them to take a more active role to help the poor.

“Meeting the people who are going to live in the houses or schools we are building is a huge part of the experience because they are very willing to help and be a part of what you are doing,” said Donatelli, a student at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Md. “They are very happy with what they have and that to me, really shows how grateful we should be in our lives.”

“The thing that makes Jamaica so rewarding and unique is that you get to have face-to-face interaction with those you are helping; and you get to enjoy the pleasure of seeing their faces light up with happiness because of the work that we do,” said Donatelli, who has traveled the past three years with her mom, sister and brother. “This type of direct service makes you very mindful of the struggles people are going through in different parts of the world.”

“The Food For The Poor trip to Jamaica is an opportunity to help and be helped,” said Greene, a student at Georgetown Visitation in Washington, D.C., during her speech. She has traveled twice before with the group, and plans to return in 2014. “It’s a unique and moving experience that has made a huge impact on me and my dad. I even met a piece of me that I didn’t know – I really don’t mind hard work.”

Committee members included Teri Boragno, Lou Caceres, Chris Davitt, Mary Donatelli, John Gerold, Andrew Greene, Kim and Paul Griffith, Scott Livingston, Battista Orcino, and Craig Ruppert.

Event sponsors included Ruppert Landscape (Platinum Sponsor), Duke Realty (Gold Sponsor), RBC Wealth Management (Silver Sponsor), Sandy Spring Bank (Silver Sponsor), Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (Silver Sponsor), Calvert Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center (Silver Sponsor), and Connelly School of The Holy Child (Bronze Sponsor).

To make a donation to the school building fund please call 1-888-404-4248 or visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/dc.

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. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Jennifer Leigh Oates

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