Mission Possible: Volunteers Join The Pack to Help Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 25, 2016)  – Nearly 500 volunteers of all ages from various churches, businesses and organizations will become friendly rivals for a day on June 4 in Boca Raton to raise money and package 100,000 lifesaving meals for starving families in Haiti.

The Join The Pack event will be at Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton in partnership with Feed My Starving Children, a Christian nonprofit organization that sends prepackaged meals to more than 70 countries.

The daylong event is being presented by Payments For Change, a division of Persolvent, a leading provider of payment solutions and award-winning technology. The Minnesota-based company donates half of its profits to charity.

"We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Food For The Poor because their mission is near and dear to our hearts and we share the same values. We're thrilled to be part of this wonderful event," said Ashley Bruber, General Manager of Payments For Change.

The relationship between Food For The Poor and the Advent Lutheran congregation goes back many years. The church was a founding member of a Lutheran mission effort in Haiti called the Lazarus Project, which Food For The Poor has helped support.

When Food For The Poor needed a place big enough to host the event, Pastor Andy Hagen said the church did not hesitate to open its doors to help make a difference for Haiti.

"Once you realize how blessed you are here, and notice the needs of others, it starts to tug on your heart," Hagen said. "God has given us enough. It's up to us to find ways to share it."

Bruber's father and Persolvent owner Jay Bruber was challenged by his father at an early age to give back and help those who are struggling. His father asked him, "How much are you giving to charity?" When Bruber replied nothing, his father told him he might want to reconsider before God decided for him with an answer he might not like. A business he was running at the time was ruined when an explosion destroyed the building. No one was killed or injured, but insurance didn't cover the damage and so he lost everything. From that point on, charity has been a core value of the Bruber family.

"We have always been taught that life is about what you do for others and if you put God and serving others first, you will be forever blessed," said Ashley Bruber.

Donna Cleveland and Fawn Mikel of Christ Church in Fort Lauderdale are heading the top fundraising team to help Food For The Poor fight hunger in Haiti. Already they've raised more than $3,000.

"I love the community aspect of it. It's something families can do together," said Cleveland, who saw firsthand the need in Haiti when she traveled with Food For The Poor on a mission trip three years ago. "It's an opportunity for us to put our faith and love into action."

Close behind in fundraising is Vicki Burrier's team from DaVita Healthcare Partners, a large healthcare organization that provides dialysis to kidney patients throughout the country. Her team also has raised more than $2,000.

"Several co-workers and patients are from Haiti. Many have families there that they struggle to support," said Burrier, who volunteered as a nurse in a tent hospital in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. "The experience really opened my eyes to the horrific hardship endured by people who were still able to show compassion, fortitude and love."

Like assembly lines in a factory, Join The Pack volunteers will enter Advent Lutheran Church's gymnasium on June 4 and fill plastic bags with cups of white rice and soy pellets, scoops of freeze-dried vegetables and chicken flavoring that contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients a malnourished child needs to survive. The fast-paced environment, music and friendly competition between teams will keep the event fun for everyone.

Once prepared with boiling water, each MannaPack provides six generous servings of nutritious food. The easy-to-make, easy-to-transport meals are an answer to countless prayers. For children in danger of starvation, these meals are like manna from heaven.

"When they receive food like this, mothers will be so happy to see their children get to a normal size and weight for their age. They will be able to go to bed at night thanking God instead of crying and praying to God to let their children see the light of day," said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor's Executive Director.

Follow this link to watch how the meals like those volunteers will pack on June 4 helped a malnourished, underweight child from Guatemala come to normal weight, www.FoodForThePoor.com/jointhepack2016

Other Join The Pack sponsors include Hormel, Vitas Healthcare, Florida Community Bank, Tijuana Flats, All County Pavement Management Solutions, Sonitrol Verified Electronic Security, Goya Foods, Duffy's Sport's Grill and Chick-Fil-A. American Express, Wells Fargo Bank, QuestingHound Technology Partners and DaVita Healthcare Partners Sunsational Division also are sponsoring company teams for the event.

For more information on Join The Pack, including sponsorship opportunities, please call Cassandra Celestin at 954-427-2222, ext. 4020. Or, to register for the event, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/jointhepack.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations 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.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054