DaVita Employees Pack Hygiene Kits for Children in Guatemala

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Dec. 15, 2017) Hygiene kits with supplies for 800 girls in Guatemala were packed by DaVita Kidney Care employees who visited Food For The Poor's Coconut Creek headquarters on Tuesday.

The supplies will be a blessing to Villas de las Ninas, one of the charity's Angels Of Hope homes in Guatemala.

In addition to packing, the DaVita employees from across the southeastern United States also wrote holiday messages of encouragement to the girls ages 13 to 21 who will receive the kits.

Kenny Gardner, Group Vice President of DaVita Kidney Care, said one of DaVita's core principles is caring for patients and each other. Last December, DaVita employees visited Food For The Poor and filled 500 sackpacks with school supplies for children in Jamaica.

"Taking a small moment out of our day to have such a big impact on people who are less fortunate than us is really important," Gardner said. "That is consistent with the values of our team. We're a caregiving organization."

Gardner presented a check from DaVita to Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. The check will cover the cost of the supplies and bags, provide hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and sponsor the charity's Join The Pack event set for April 20 and 21 at Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton.

"What you are doing today to help these children is so important," Mahfood said. "You cannot imagine what it means to them. It's a real blessing."

Valerie Leyder, regional operations director for DaVita's Miramonte Division in South Carolina, said filling the packs was a meaningful team-building experience.

Giving back, she said, isn't a choice, but an obligation that she and her fellow employees are happy to fulfill. "It's a real gift," she said.

Tricia Lujambio, Director of Food For The Poor's Angels Of Hope program, said beyond covering the girls' basic needs, the hygiene kits will give them the dignity of having their own personal care items.

"Having something that is packed for you and having those kinds of individual items is really a sense of pride and feeling special," Lujambio said.

For the third year in a row, DaVita will have a team and be a sponsor for Join The Pack. At this year's event, businesses, community groups and others are invited to pack 150,000 meals for Guatemala and raise money to send an additional 3 million meals.

DaVita is a large healthcare organization that provides dialysis to kidney patients throughout the United States. The company was one of the top fundraising teams at Food For The Poor's first Join The Pack in 2016, where more than 100,000 lifesaving meals were packed by volunteers to help starving families in Haiti. The company returned as a presenting sponsor in 2017.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma thanked DaVita employees for their generous contribution and said the hygiene kits would bring joy to many lives.

"The poor are desperate for help. And when that help comes, they are filled with joy. They may never meet you all. But they pray for you all every single day," Aloma said. "They know that they have been helped and they are so grateful for that help."

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 www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054