Volunteer Teams Join The Pack to Help Starving Children in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 15, 2016)  Fourteen teams of volunteers have committed to joining Food For The Poor in June to pack 100,000 life saving meals for hungry children in Haiti. Even more businesses, church groups and individuals are expected to build on that momentum and participate in Join The Pack, a mobile food-packing event.

This hands-on event will be Saturday, June 4, 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.

On the day of the event, the church will be transformed into a giant assembly line with a fun, high energy environment. Volunteers donning hairnets and gloves will 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. Once prepared with boiling water, each MannaPack provides six generous servings of nutritious food.

Madonna Letourneau, a member of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach, attended a kickoff reception Tuesday night at Food For The Poor's Coconut Creek headquarters to learn more about Join The Pack. She said the event offers people an opportunity to help Haiti locally.

"Not everyone is able to go on a mission trip," Letourneau said. "I think it's great we can do something on a large scale in our own community that will have such a positive impact."

With roots that go back more than 50 years in Boca Raton, Advent Lutheran Church has played an important role in being of service to those in need, and hosting Join The Pack is just the latest example of fulfilling that mission.

"Part of what we do is outreach into the community. We like to take church out of the church and into the community," said Vicki Randle, coordinator of marketing and admissions for Advent Life Ministries.

Florida Community Bank, Tijuana Flats, All County Pavement Management Solutions, Sonitrol Verified Electronic Security, Duffy's Sports Grill, and Chick-Fil-A have already agreed to be sponsors. More sponsorship opportunities are still available.

"At Florida Community Bank, community service is a commitment we share at all levels within the bank. It is our goal to be good corporate citizens and do our part to strengthen the communities we serve, just as it is Food For The Poor's mission to do the same. We applaud their efforts and look forward to our participation on June 4th," said Nancy Merolla, the bank's Vice President/CRA Officer.

The easy-to-make, easy-to-transport meals put together by Join The Pack volunteers are an answer to countless prayers. For children in danger of starvation, these meals are like manna from heaven.

"Can you imagine the horror of having to face a child, and know they are hungry and say, 'I cannot feed you today,'" said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "In packing this food, we are going to be feeding those children. This is a matter of life and death. This is a matter of saving lives."

This relief comes at a critical time as Haiti is facing its worst food crisis in more than 15 years, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Drought conditions brought on by the El Niño weather phenomenon have left Haitian farmers facing massive crop losses and doubled the number of food-insecure people since September, according to the U.N. agency.

June also marks Food For The Poor's 30th anniversary in Haiti. Since the charity began working in Haiti in the 1980s, it has provided almost 24,000 double-unit homes, clean water and sustainable projects that offer the people of Haiti hope for the future.

There are additional opportunities to show support for Join The Pack and help the destitute in Haiti. Duffy's Sports Grill, 4800 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Coconut Creek, will donate 10 percent of proceeds to the event from all customers who show a Joint The Pack flyer or mention Food For The Poor from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 10. The charity also will have a table outside Duffy's to register anyone who would like to create a team for Join The Pack or to join an existing team.

Food For The Poor is looking for businesses or individuals to form Join The Pack teams of 20 to raise $1,000 for the event. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on Join The Pack, 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