Major Building Hope Gala Sponsor Knows What Giving Means

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2015) – Through hard work and perseverance, one of Food For The Poor’s major Building Hope Gala sponsors has been able to succeed in life, and generously bless other disadvantaged children.

Philanthropist Jay DiPietro, President/COO/General Manager of Boca West Country Club, deeply values the importance of helping others, because he knows firsthand what it means to be poor.

“When I was a kid I grew up in the slums; my brothers and I, we had it really rough,” said DiPietro, who delivered newspapers before and after school when he was just 10 and a half years old. “We were first generation, our parents were immigrants, and my father struggled to make enough money to support us.

“We knew what it was like to go to bed hungry; not as bad as the kids in Haiti, but compared to other Americans we were really in bad straits,” said DiPietro, who grew up in Boston. “You know, you wish and you pray, and you hope to God you will get out of it and my mother always said ‘work hard, just keep working hard, and you will get out.’ Thank God we live in America. We are the luckiest people in the world.” 

Last year, DiPietro was honored as the 2014 Ambassador For The Poor. DiPietro was recognized for more than 20 years of charity work throughout Palm Beach County. His fundraising efforts, along with fellow members of the Club Managers Association of America, helped build the first Food For The Poor school in Haiti following the massive 2010 earthquake.

Mary Wong, President of the Office Depot Foundation, whose philanthropic endeavors are also recognized throughout the community, will be recognized as Food For The Poor’s 2015 Ambassador For The Poor at the 20th annual Building Hope Gala on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton.

Food For The Poor remains committed to its building initiative in Haiti. From January 2010 to December 2014, the charity built or restored 35 schools in the Port-au-Prince region, and constructed 5,015 two-room homes in Haiti.

Attendees at the 20th annual Building Hope Gala will be invited to create a legacy by pledging to build Food For The Poor houses for people desperately in need of adequate shelter in the area surrounding Pon Batay, Haiti. A gift of $3,200 will move a destitute family from their dirt-floor makeshift shack, into a permanent home.

This year’s sponsor, J.R. Dunn Jewelers, in Lighthouse Point, Florida, will offer gala attendees an exclusive way to contribute to build critically needed houses for destitute families. For a $100 donation at the event, guests will enter a chance to win a $5,000 shopping spree at J.R. Dunn Jewelers.

Shaggy and The Hot Shot Band will perform at the gala, while chef Ron Duprat – who appeared on the reality TV show “Top Chef” – has offered to share his passion for cooking with attendees to help build homes in his homeland of Haiti. At the event, attendees can bid on a 12-course dinner prepared by the French-trained executive chef for 25 guests at the home of the winning bidder. Additional silent auction prizes will include electronics, jewelry, vacations, golf and dining packages. This year’s theme is old Hollywood glamor.

For additional information regarding the Building Hope Gala, sponsorship opportunities and tickets, available at $250 per person, please call 888-404-4248 or visit

The Building Hope Gala Chairwoman is Rene Turner-Mahfood, and additional committee members include Wedler Alexandre, Carlos Bodden, Matthew Bryant, Becky Carlsson, Ronda Ellis Ged, LaMae Klos, Susan Krassen, Julie Mahfood, Tashia Rahl, Kara Seelye, Deborah Shapiro and Renee Stetler.

Gala sponsors to date include Club Managers Association of America, Dennis Charley & Associates, DKB Trade Concepts Inc., Gregory's Fine Jewelry, Innovvaire, J.R. Dunn Jewelers, Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, McFFe Group, MOR Printing, Oceans 234, Office Depot Foundation, Premier Aircraft Sales, Seaboard Marine, TD Bank, Teemlink Ltd., The Calmark Group, The Levitetz Family Foundation, Trinity Direct, United Healthcare and The Boca Raton Observer.

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

Jennifer Leigh Oates

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