Hope Takes Root in Dominican Republic Greenhouses

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On Sept. 12, Operation Starfish inaugurated its first project in the Dominican Republic. The 3,000 square-foot greenhouse in Pedro Santana will produce 2,400 pounds of vegetables four times a year. Built by Food For The Poor and Caritas D.R., and operated by San Francisco de Asis parish, the business model calls for using a portion of the profits to replicate the greenhouse in more locations. Nativity's Operation Starfish provided the initial capital for this self-sustaining project.
On Sept. 12, Operation Starfish inaugurated its first project in the Dominican Republic. The 3,000 square-foot greenhouse in Pedro Santana will produce 2,400 pounds of vegetables four times a year. Built by Food For The Poor and Caritas D.R., and operated by San Francisco de Asis parish, the business model calls for using a portion of the profits to replicate the greenhouse in more locations. Nativity's Operation Starfish provided the initial capital for this self-sustaining project.

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 30, 2013) – Dozens of families living in the rural community of Pedro Santana, Dominican Republic, are learning how to plant, grow, and harvest the fruits of their labor thanks to greenhouse projects taking root in the Caribbean country.

On Sept. 12, the latest greenhouse project was inaugurated in a meadow near Pedro Santana, which is located about 165 miles west of the capital city of Santo Domingo, near the border of Haiti. This is the eighth greenhouse built in the Dominican Republic by Food For The Poor and its local partner, Caritas D.R. Funding for this greenhouse project was provided by Church of the Nativity in Burke, Va., through Food For The Poor’s Operation Starfish program.

“Pope Francis is urging us to give priority to the needs of the poor and this project will do just that,” said Fr. Richard Martin, Pastor of the Church of the Nativity.

The Church of the Nativity has been working with the relief and development organization Food For The Poor for 15 years, and has built more than 1,000 homes in eight Nativity Villages in neighboring Haiti, but this is Nativity’s first Operation Starfish project within the Dominican Republic.

“It is almost impossible to put into the words the love and gratitude Food For The Poor has for Fr. Martin and the Church of the Nativity’s parishioners. Because of their loving kindness thousands of families in Haiti have a secure home and are working on self-sustaining projects and receiving vocational training,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “We are equally excited about working with Nativity on the greenhouse projects in the Dominican Republic.”

Food For The Poor began working in the Dominican Republic 13 years ago, and has built 2,786 homes there. The two-room homes provide shelter, safety and brighter futures. Food For The Poor also has Community Development Projects that include elements necessary to break the cycle of poverty. Some of these projects include the construction of rural schools, clinics and community centers, self-sustaining agriculture and animal husbandry projects, and women’s vocational training.

The greenhouse in Pedro Santana is one of those self-sustaining projects and will provide 2,400 pounds of produce, four times a year, to feed families in this mountain community. The greenhouse will be operated by local farmers with oversight provided by Fr. Keith O’Hare, the pastor of San Francisco de Asís parish in nearby Bánica. Fr. O’Hare is a mission priest from the Diocese of Arlington, Va.

“We have good farmers here, this project allows them to be even better farmers,” said Fr. O’Hare.

The business model of this latest project requires a portion of the profits from sales of vegetables to be set aside and used to replicate the greenhouse in additional locations. The greenhouse facility also has a drip irrigation system fed by a water reservoir and underground supply lines, which were installed by Food For The Poor.

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.

                                                          

Wanda Wright

Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079
wandaw@foodforthepoor.com