Oregon Boy Has Birthday Wish for Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (August 10, 2016)  When most 11-year-olds are asked what they want for their birthday, they might dream of a new toy or the latest electronic gadget. But Josiah Romito of Eugene, Ore., wants something you can't find at any store.

Josiah, who turns 11 on Thursday, wants to help destitute families in Haiti and is raising funds to do so.

In May, Josiah went on a cruise with his family that made a stop in Haiti and it was there that he saw devastating poverty up close. He could only imagine boys and girls his own age living in conditions much worse than what he saw not far from the cruise ship.

"I saw how desperate the people were there and felt that I should try to help them," Josiah said. "I saw people trying to sell things for money and I saw the desperation in their eyes. I realized how fortunate I am. I felt like I had too much."

After Josiah returned home and as his birthday approached, he decided to do something about it. He set up a Web page with Food For The Poor's We Pledge 100 campaign and a goal of raising $1,000. In a week's time, Josiah raised more than $900.

"We were looking for a place where we could give a donation directly to the people, not to the government, and we thought Food For The Poor was a very good organization," Josiah said.

Funds raised by Josiah will enable Food For The Poor to help provide clean water to residents in Ti Limbe, Haiti.

We Pledge 100 strives to cultivate the spirit of philanthropy in students from kindergarten to college, instilling in them that it doesn't take a lot to make a big difference, only one dollar. The goal of the campaign is to build 50 homes with water, sanitation and solar-powered lights, a community center, and agriculture and animal husbandry projects in Ti Limbe. A local school also will be expanded with 12 classrooms to accommodate 480 students. Construction of the first 10 homes has started.

Surrounded by stunning mountains and captivating lush terrain, the village of Ti Limbe is one of the most impoverished communities in Haiti. Many families live in homes made of sticks and mud, bathe in and drink contaminated water, and struggle to find sustainable income. Children lack adequate education - one of the only means to escape poverty.

Ten-year-old Hermide is a dedicated student like Josiah, but her opportunities are limited in Ti Limbe. She helps her mother prepare breakfast daily for their family of seven. Some days, they have coffee borrowed from a neighbor and four bread rolls to share.

"I love to study because I want to succeed in life, then I'll be able to help my mother. I would like to help her do what she cannot do for herself and for the other kids," Hermide said.

Go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/hermide to view a video of Hermide's story.

Josiah said he hopes to raise more money for Haiti in the future.

"Never underestimate the power of what one compassionate person like Josiah can do," said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. "Josiah has an extremely big heart. What he's doing for Ti Limbe, Haiti, is truly amazing, especially when you take into consideration that he is so young."

You can help grant Josiah's birthday wish by visiting his fundraising page at www.FoodForThePoor.org/josiah. For more information on We Pledge 100, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/wepledge100.

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 primarily 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