Food For The Poor Expands Jamaica 50/50 School-Building Campaign

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 26, 2015) – Food For The Poor’s campaign to construct or structurally improve 50 basic schools throughout Jamaica in 50 months has been completed, 18 months ahead of schedule. Thanks to strong corporate and individual support, the “Jamaica 50/50” school-building initiative has been expanded to an additional 25 schools.

New Testament Early Childhood Development Center in St. Catherine, Jamaica, was the 50th basic school in the charity’s Jamaica 50/50 campaign to be completed.

“Food For The Poor’s school-building campaign was a gift from our donors to the people of Jamaica to commemorate the nation's 50th anniversary of independence,” said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor President/CEO.  “In developing countries, poverty-stricken parents often cannot afford to send their children to school. Food For The Poor’s school-building program works to improve literacy and ensure that the poorest children receive nutritious meals island-wide.”

Food For The Poor donors from Hope Lutheran Church in Bonita Springs, Florida, rallied to raise money to complete New Testament Early Childhood Development Center after they learned about the critical need for schools in Jamaica from Food For The Poor speaker Pastor John Buuck.

Students at Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, in addition to building a Food For The Poor home, also raised money to assist the students in Jamaica after they heard Pastor Buuck speak.

“Once we learned of Pastor Buuck's goal to build a school, it was determined that if Faith Lutheran surpassed their goal of building a house, the additional funds would be added to his congregation’s goal to build the school,” said Julie Buuck, Director of Student Life at Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School, and also Pastor Buuck’s daughter-in-law. “What a great idea – a school helping to build a school.”

Pastor Buuck attended the school’s dedication ceremony on March 3, and said the new school has made a remarkable difference in the community. He was impressed at how drastically improved the learning conditions were in comparison to those he saw in July 2014 when he helped to select the school.

Others attending the ceremony included Bishop of Montego Bay and Board Member of Food For The Poor, The Very Rev. Burchell McPherson; Jamaica’s Minister of Education, The Honourable Reverend Ronald Thwaites; and Food For The Poor-Jamaica Chairman Andrew Mahfood.

"I want to begin by expressing, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Food For The Poor for its continued support for education,” said Minister Thwaites during the dedication ceremony. “Specifically, we commend the organization for sticking to its commitment to build and upgrade 50 basic schools in 50 months as a gift to Jamaica and Jamaicans for the island's Golden Jubilee.
"You not only said it, you did it. This is in line with the government's overall policy to lift up the weakest in the society," said Minister Thwaites.

"We are so thrilled and happy to have received the 50th school building from Food For The Poor as part of their Jamaica 50/50 Campaign," said Veronica Baker, Principal of New Testament Early Childhood Development Center. "We had no school building in the past. We were behind the church in a space that was not suitable for teaching young children. Now, we have a wonderful building."

For information regarding Food For The Poor’s school-building initiative, or to support the program, please call 954-427-2222 or visit

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