Building Hope Gala Raises Funds to Build 50 Homes in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2017)  Food For The Poor welcomed a full house of nearly 400 guests to its 22nd Annual Building Hope Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

During the evening, compassionate donors pledged to build 50 homes for destitute families in Boen, Haiti.

David and Patricia Wallace of Boca Raton, longtime Food For The Poor donors, were honored by the charity with the Lifetime of Giving Award.

Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor, presented the Wallaces with the award, praising them for their contributions to the poor.

"They have supported us for over 18 years and anything we have asked, they have said yes," Mahfood said. "We're so thankful for their help over the years. We look forward to many more years of support and friendship and compassion for the poor we serve."

Boca Raton native Paige Kornblue, a former anchor and reporter at WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, was emcee for the event, which featured cocktails, a silent auction, fine dining and dancing.

Kornblue recalled speaking with her brother, Brandon, and his wife and their two young boys after they returned from a recent mission trip to Haiti.

"They talked about the people and the beautiful hope the people there have to see their nation redeemed and rebuilt. At the same time, they expressed how helpless they feel," Kornblue said. "Tonight, we have the opportunity to change the lives of families in desperate need."

In a recent interview before the event, the Wallaces spoke about how humbled they were to be honored by the charity.

"It has been an honor for us to be donors to Food For The Poor over the years, and we are certainly humbled to receive the Lifetime of Giving Award," said David Wallace.

"It is so humbling and satisfying to see pictures of families who have endured so much moving into nice, clean houses provided by Food For The Poor," said Patricia Wallace.

Guests at the gala watched a video commemorating Food For The Poor's 35th anniversary. The video visualized the deplorable living conditions in places like Boen, Haiti, where residents live in disintegrating mud huts that offer no protection from the elements. It also showed how Food For The Poor is helping to transform their lives.

"If you walk around the room and look at the before and after 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. "When we give, we receive so many blessings and joy because we know we have made a difference. Every home we build together gives a family a brighter future."

Gala guests included the Honorable Franz Hall, Jamaica's Consul General to Miami; Salem Media nationally syndicated talk radio hosts Mark Davis, Larry Elder and Mike Gallagher, who just returned from a mission with Food For The Poor to Guatemala, one of the 17 countries served by the charity; and Miss Jamaica Florida Shanique Brown.

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, Dawn DeMarco-Book, Keren Gee, Trina Holmstead, Noelle Kahan, Marlene Ross Khouri, Ann Mahfood, Julie Mahfood, Rene Mahfood, Nathalie Parchment, Beth Rosenstein, Natasha Singh, Renee Stetler, Anastasia Taglienti and Patricia Wallace.

Gala sponsors include: Aetna, American Nicaraguan Foundation, Bloomingdales, The Calmark Group, CBIZ MHM LLC, Coral Springs Automall, Crowley, Dennis Charley & Associates, Dixie Clamp, Downtown Photo, Dusco Doors, Excell Auto Group, Flor de Caña, The Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Fund, J.R. Dunn Jewelers, The Leslie L. Alexander Foundation Inc., MCFFE Group LLC, Private Stock, Russ Reid, Salem Media Group, Schmidt Family Foundation, Seaboard Marine, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Tank Weld Metals, TD Bank, Teemlink, U.R. Floored Today, Victoria L. Burrier and Vitas Healthcare. The Boca Raton Observer is the exclusive magazine sponsor.

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. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054