Raising Hope for Haitian Families: Palm Beach Donors Fish for a Cause, Support Food For The Poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 26, 2016) Thanks to generous donors, desperate families in Haiti are closer to realizing their dream of living in a safe, secure shelter.

More than 300 people attended Food For The Poor's inaugural Hope Floats Kids' Dock Fishing Tournament & Family Night at the Sailfish Club of Florida in Palm Beach to raise money to build homes in Alpha Village, Haiti.

The village, located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, is a community situated between the sea and a garbage dump. The area is overcrowded with families who are living in shacks with no access to clean water or sanitation. The stench of rotting garbage makes day-to-day living very difficult.

Committee members Chrissie and Matt Ferguson traveled with Food For The Poor to Haiti in August. It was Chrissie's second mission trip and Matt's first. Together, they saw firsthand the hope that Food For The Poor brings to families in Haiti.

"I told them I would not rest until they were all in homes," said Chrissie Ferguson. "We're helping to get them out of their tents, out of these horrible conditions and into homes. We're going to keep our promise because Food For The Poor keeps their promise. I've seen it. We've celebrated in two villages that were transformed because of the work of Food For The Poor."

Sunday's event reunited Ferguson with four other Palm Beach County women, including Amy Royster Bridger, Erin Callow, Susie Dwinell and Kate McCoy, who all traveled to Haiti with the charity in November 2015.

To watch a video of the group's trip, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/journeytohaiti.

Bridger, a member of the committee, told attendees they have reason to celebrate every day, even more so because Hurricane Matthew spared South Florida.

"We know that was not the case in Haiti," she said. "I want you all to celebrate today knowing that by attending this event you have changed the lives of Haitian families forever. You're giving your children the gift of perspective, to share with them the plight of our neighbors around the world and to include them in your philanthropy and in your efforts to change the world."

Delane Bailey-Herd, a Senior Field Representative for Food For The Poor, said the needs in Haiti have only grown because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 4.

"Many people in Haiti didn't even know that a hurricane was coming. They had no radios, no televisions, no weather station. They thought it was just going to be a regular rainy night," Herd said. "Unfortunately, it was 12 hours of wind at 148 miles an hour which totally devastated their villages and their homes that were already stressed."

Herd introduced Christopher Evans, a third-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy, as an example of someone making a difference in Haiti. Evans raised money to build homes in Haiti by hosting lemonade stands and a 5K walk. His interest in Haiti was sparked after his mother, Sarah Evans, traveled there with Food For The Poor in March 2015.

Evans said homes built before Hurricane Matthew saved lives during the storm and he wants to raise money to build more.

"I know the money we donate goes to the people that need it," he said.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma said, "It's humbling and heartwarming when a child, who is only 8 years old, has genuine compassion about the less fortunate in the world. What Christopher is doing and what other children who participated in Hope Floats are doing will make lasting impact on these families in Haiti, for the next generation to come."

Sunday's event included a fishing tournament with children fishing alongside parents. Prizes awarded include Anibelle Bennemann, Biggest Fish; Amelia Bowers, Most Exotic Species; Kenna Mulroy, Funniest Fish; Mason Lazarra, Most Inches of Fish Caught; Edward Falcone, Smallest Fish.

Sponsors for Hope Floats included: Hedrick Brothers Construction, Big Time Restaurant Group, AB Drilling, and Mr. and Mrs. John C. Randolph.

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