Building Hope Gala Raises Funds to Build 44 Homes in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2016) Food For The Poor welcomed a full house of nearly 400 guests to its 21st Annual Building Hope Gala on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

During the Building Hope Gala’s live house rally, homes for 44 destitute families were pledged to be built in Source Sable, Haiti.

Tony Pestritto, a resident of Pompano Beach and Sea Isle City, N.J., and a longtime donor committed to investing in Haiti’s future, was recognized as Food For The Poor’s 2016 Lifetime of Giving Honoree. Pestritto himself pledged to build seven homes.

Pestritto, 89, has helped raise awareness about the desperate need for permanent housing in Haiti. His passion over the years has risen from baking old-style, authentic, Sicilian bread in South Jersey at his family’s bakery, to building schools and investing in sustainable projects throughout Haiti.

“It just goes to show you what you can get accomplished in Haiti. My idea has always been if you give a man a fish, he eats today. If you teach him how to fish, he eats every day,” said Pestritto, who continues to travel to Haiti to see the results of his generosity.

Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor, presented Pestritto with the award, praising him for his contributions to the poor and his accomplishments.

“Tony has helped us build a kitchen to feed thousands. He has built schools. He has built homes. He has started to help us with agriculture which is producing some of the finest fruits and vegetables in Haiti,” Mahfood said.

A video was shown at the gala to help those who have never traveled to a developing country visualize the deplorable living conditions in Source Sable, where residents live in disintegrating mud huts that offer no protection from the elements.

“We are looking to build, with the funds that we raise tonight, in an area that is one of the poorest areas of the world. If you walk around the room and look at the pictures, you will understand what drives our passion,” said Mahfood, as he addressed the guests and thanked the committee members for their commitment to the poor.

Guests entered the doors to a beautiful secret garden theme at the historic Boca Raton Resort & Club, which was celebrating its 90th anniversary on the same date. The evening featured cocktails, a silent auction, fine dining and dancing. Attendees were given small bottles of honey from a bee farming project that Pestritto has invested in with Food For The Poor in Central Plateau, Haiti.

Gala guests included the Honorable Franz Hall, Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Miss Jamaica Diaspora Rohannia Mooyin and Bishop Ogé Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor’s Haiti office, and his wife Serette.

In time for Valentine’s Day, sponsor J.R. Dunn Jewelers offered attendees an exclusive way to contribute to build critically needed houses for destitute families in Haiti. For a $100 donation at the event, one guest won a $5,000 shopping spree at J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point.

Committee members include: Elena Del Alamo, Matthew Bryant, Mileyka Burgos, Becky Carlsson, Michelle Goldsmith, Kim Hylton, Wilnar Julmiste, Marlene Khouri, Ann Mahfood, Julie Mahfood, Rene Turner Mahfood, Nathalie Parchment, Courtney Robinson, Kara Seelye and Renee Stetler.

Sponsors include the Boca Raton Observer, J.R. Dunn Jewelers, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Antillean Marine Shipping Company, Convio/Blackbaud, Vicki Burrier, City Furniture, Dennis Charley & Associates, Dixie Clamp and Scaffold, DKB Trade Concepts Inc., Franklin Dodd Communications, Dusco Doors, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Hemmert, Infiniti of Coconut Creek, Innovairre, Kelley Bean Co. Inc., King Ocean, Lawless, Edwards & Warren Wealth Management, Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, McFFe Group, Metalco, MSP, Nand Persaud & Co. Ltd., Premier Aircraft Sales Inc., RepowerIT, Russ Reid, Seaboard Marine, Tank-Weld Metals, TD Bank, Teemlink LTD and United Healthcare.

For additional information regarding the Building Hope Gala, or to support the home-building initiative, please call 888-404-4248 or visit

Food For The Poor, one of 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

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054