Building Hope Gala Donors Provide Homes for Boen, Haiti: Adam Stewart Honored with Charity’s Ambassador For The Poor Award

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2018) A crowd of 350 compassionate guests came together at Food For The Poor's 23rd Annual Building Hope Gala on Feb. 3, united with a goal of making a difference in the lives of destitute families in Boen, Haiti.

By the end of the evening, they had pledged to build 50 sturdy homes each with water, sanitation and solar-powered light kits.

The new homes are only the beginning of the transformation ahead for families in Boen. Thanks to generous donors, those families also will benefit from a chicken coop with 1,000 layer hens and four fish ponds plus fishing equipment that will help provide food and a way to earn an income to lift them out of poverty and strengthen the community.

Adam Stewart, CD, Deputy Chairman and CEO of Sandals Resorts International and the ATL Group, was honored by the charity with the Ambassador For The Poor Award, for his efforts to help the poor in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean through many educational and community initiatives.

Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood presented Stewart with the award, praising him and his foundation's contributions to the poor.

"Adam, you have proven to be a pragmatic, humble and hardworking CEO," Mahfood said. "You are a passionate supporter of Food For The Poor and dedicated to helping the poor. Because of your generosity, children at Seville Golden Pre-School in Jamaica are learning in new classrooms in a building with bathrooms, a kitchen and a resource center."

In 2009, Stewart founded the Sandals Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at fulfilling the promise of the Caribbean community by improving lives and preserving its natural surroundings through investments in sustainable regional projects and programs in education, community and the environment. He is President of the Foundation's Board of Directors.

Stewart credited his upbringing and the values instilled in him by his parents in remembering to serve the poor.

"Those of us that sit in privileged positions feel it is our duty to do better by the people living in the Caribbean and those that weren't given the opportunities that we were given," Stewart said.

"We operate the Sandals Foundation with the mindset that there are a lot of amazing people in the world, and if you make it easy for them to contribute, they will," Stewart said. "We don't need a lot from a little. But we need a little from a lot."

The gala reunited high school friends Stewart and Paige Kornblue, who was the gala's emcee for the second consecutive year. Both Stewart and Kornblue attended St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton.

"Adam has always had a huge heart that has grown in time," Kornblue said. "You and your family have made St. Andrews School and South Florida very proud."

Guests at the gala watched a video that visualized the miserable living conditions in 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.

"Haiti needs our help," Mahfood said as he spoke to the crowd about the importance of building safe, sturdy homes for poor families in Haiti. "We cannot solve all of Haiti's problems but we can help one family at a time."

The Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton was the setting for this year's travel-themed gala, which featured cocktails, silent and live auctions, fine dining, and dancing. Auction items included exotic vacations such as an African safari, designer jewelry, artwork and a ride on the Goodyear Blimp.

Guests included Stewart's wife, Jill, his parents, Gordon "Butch" Stewart and P.J. Stewart, his sister, Jaime Stewart-McConnell, and brothers Bobby Stewart and Brian Jardim; the Honorable Franz Hall, Jamaica's Consul General in Miami, and Miss Jamaica Diaspora Racquel Service.

In time for Valentine's Day, sponsor J.R. Dunn Jewelers offered attendees an exclusive way to contribute to build critically needed homes 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: Noelle Kahan, chairwoman; Rene Mahfood and Anastasia Taglienti, executive committee; and Elena Del Alamo, Dawn DeMarco-Book, Marlene Ross Khouri, Ann Mahfood, Julie Mahfood, Kara Seelye, Renee Stetler, Joan Marie Veesaert and Patricia Wallace, host committee.

The Boca Raton Observer is the exclusive magazine sponsor.

Other Gala sponsors include: Aetna, American Nicaraguan Foundation, ARC Jamaica, Big Green Egg, CBIZ MHM, LLC, Club E11EVEN, Coral Springs Auto Mall, Crowley Liner Services, Dennis Charley & Associates, Dixie Clamp & Scaffold, Downtown Photo, Goodyear Blimp, Carosa Furniture-Heleng International Co. Ltd., Infogroup Nonprofit Solutions, J. McLaughlin, J.R. Dunn Jewelers, Kelly Bean, Kendra Scott, MCFFE Group, LLC, Pinnacle Housing Group, Regal Products International Inc., RepowerIT, Russ Reid, Salem Media Group, The Sandals Foundation, Sandals Resorts International, Seaboard Marine, Signature Flight, The Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation, Tank Weld Metals, TD Bank, TeemLink, Two Brothers, The Calmark Group, Valerie Tyson Band, Victoria L. Burrier and WATA.

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, including donated goods, went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054