Chicago Couple Lovingly Sustains Daughter’s Legacy by Helping Others

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 26, 2017) In May, Chicago couple Andy and Florette Sokulski returned to Haiti with Food For The Poor, along with Father Medard Laz, to see how their gifts over the last decade have been used to save and transform lives in the Caribbean country.

The Sokulskis were pleased with what they saw at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where they have funded multiple projects over the years to honor the memory of their daughter, Julie Sokulski Hesser, who died 11 years ago at the age of 32. The hospital has been modernized and even has an Intensive Care Unit, which was made possible by the Sokulskis' generosity and the kindness of dedicated supporters.

"It's truly amazing! This was an open-air hospital two years ago with drapes blowing in the wind, and people waiting for hours to be seen by a doctor. Now we have a three-story building you all have helped us with," said Florette Sokulski. "It's because of you that lives are being saved every single day."

Inspired by their daughter's faith and courage during her final days, the Sokulskis began fundraising in 2006 with Father Laz and members of the Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness, Ill., to create a living legacy for Julie through Food For The Poor.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma traveled with the Sokulskis on their recent visit to Haiti. They met with families in the developing community in Gressier and toured the proposed site of the new school the Sokulskis are raising money to build.

"The Sokulskis have a genuine heart for the poor and their love for their daughter Julie has only deepened their desire to help to improve the lives of the destitute," said Aloma. "A new school will be a beautiful gift for the children in the Gressier community for many generations to come."

The new school is a part of the Alpha Village Relocation Project in Gressier. The construction of the Institution Star Academy is a two-phased project, which is expected to be completed in the fall. The Sokulskis also will give the school a new name that will be revealed at their annual fundraising dinner on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.

"To come here and physically see what's happening helps to build on the desire to keep it going for as long as possible," said Andy Sokulski.

The 12th annual Dreams, Past & Present event will feature a cocktail reception, a silent auction, dinner and the opportunity to help children to achieve an education. Live entertainment and dancing will follow the dinner. For additional information and tickets visit

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 percent of our expenses; more than 95 percent of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079