Food For The Poor Virtual Event Raises Funds to Feed Families Affected by Pandemic
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2020) Food For The Poor's generous donors heard the call to action during the charity's first-ever livestream event, raising enough funds so far to provide more than 5.7 million meals for hungry families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The one-night virtual event, National Celebration — We Are One, was livestreamed last Thursday by Boca Raton Community Church.
"The impact of unemployment in the countries we serve in the Caribbean and Latin America as a result of the coronavirus has pushed tens of thousands of people into food lines to beg for help," Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said. "The generosity of our compassionate donors is allowing us to continue to provide critical aid and feed these starving families."
Raine said that since mid-March the charity has shipped 360 containers of food and other critical relief supplies as well as purchased additional food from businesses in the countries where it serves.
Pastor Bill Mitchell, senior pastor at Boca Raton Community Church, said Food For The Poor has been on the frontlines during the pandemic, helping both internationally while also assisting dire local needs.
In April, the church was among five in South Florida assisting South Florida residents with essential goods provided by FFTP and partner Matthew 25: Ministries.
"Our church has been a partner with Food For The Poor for over 10 years," Mitchell said. "We are strong advocates and supporters for what Food For The Poor is doing around the Caribbean and Latin America."
Nine-time Grammy nominee Matt Maher performed two songs for the event and shared his heart for families in need.
"Prayer is like breathing for the soul," Maher said, talking about the inspiration for his song, Alive & Breathing. "We have an opportunity to use the breath we have to give praise to God and one of the ways we can do that is to leverage our breath for the marginalized, for the least of these. It makes sense why I would partner with Food For The Poor."
The program also included testimonials from donors, videos from the countries and details on the charity's pandemic response.
FFTP staff in Haiti has had to find new ways to provide food to hungry families while the charity's feeding center in Port-au-Prince is closed due to the pandemic.
"Many families in Haiti have no means to feed themselves," said Bishop Ogé Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor-Haiti. "The food shortage and COVID-19 is a deadly combination. People were starving before COVID-19 arrived. Things are getting worse and worse."
In Nicaragua, families face the agonizing decision whether to stay confined at home or go to work.
"It's a real predicament," said Nicolas Arguello, Executive Director of the American Nicaraguan Foundation, one of the charity's partners in Nicaragua. "If you don't go out to work, you can't put food on the table. If you do go out to work, then you risk your family getting sick."
Arguello said Nicaragua was just emerging from a crisis in 2018 fueled by protests and civil unrest with the government when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
"It's just one blow after another for the Nicaraguan people," Arguello said. "We're doing our best to see how many of those families we can reach. It's a never-ending battle."
BANDED, a fashion-accessory company that provides three meals to a child in need for every headband sold, was a presenting sponsor for the event.
"As a mother, I cannot imagine being unable to feed my child," said Lisa Struble, owner and CEO of BANDED. "I've rarely seen poverty on a scale like I witnessed in Haiti and it has forever changed my heart. It's due to the compassion and loyal patronage of our customers that BANDED is able to support Food For The Poor. Thank you to our BANDED customers and Food For The Poor for feeding the world's children."
Bravo Supermarkets also was a presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors include Salem Media Group, Boca Raton Community Church, Calmark Group, Hormel Foods, Seaboard Marine, Pioneer Direct Marketing, Florida Aquastore, McFFE Group and Sandals Foundation.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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