Building Dreams: Food For The Poor Donors Raise Funds to Improve School in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2021) Teachers, students and their families in Haiti's earthquake-stricken southern peninsula are closer to realizing their dream of having an expanded and upgraded school, thanks to Food For The Poor's generous donors.

The charity hosted its annual Building Dreams Event last Thursday to raise funds for the school, Ecole National Ti Pousseline, in Roseaux, and the campaign is continuing.

Event chairman Fr. Medard Laz, a FFTP supporter for nearly two decades, called the event's supporters "true heroes."

"What a difference you have made, both prayerfully and financially," Fr. Laz said. "You have built so much and made the dreams of the Haitian people come true these past 16 years."

The area's only school isn't big enough to hold all the students, forcing many to study outside in the hot sun. When it rains, water pours inside and students must be sent home.

Although the school survived the August 14 earthquake, it hasn't recovered from damage sustained after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Funds from the Building Dreams event will be used to expand and upgrade the school with a new administrative building, two new indoor classroom blocks, sanitation facilities, and a 6,500-gallon reservoir for clean water. The foundations of the school also will be reinforced.

FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said the children who attend the school will have the opportunity for a much brighter future.

"This year it's more important than ever to rally together to do what we can," Raine said. "Haiti seems to have always had many challenges to overcome but this year especially with the assassination of the president, the political disruptions that have occurred and then of course, the earthquake followed by the tropical storm. But thanks to our donors, children at this school will be able to take a confident step forward as they have the ability to use their education for a much greater purpose."

The virtual event, which was livestreamed from the charity's Coconut Creek headquarters, featured an interview with Fr. Laz and National Baseball Hall of Famer and former Chicago Cubs player Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, who talked about his career transition from Major League Baseball to running a funeral home in Miami.

Fr. Laz said Dawson has throughout his life shown the importance of community and his commitment to the service to others.

Dawson, who was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1987, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. His baseball career also included a stint with the Florida Marlins.

"I said if this is where God has placed me at this point and time in my life, then this is my calling," Dawson said. "It's not about me. It's about the people in this community. It's a service that is needed."

Delane Bailey-Herd, FFTP's Church Alliances Development Manager, was the host for the event, which included a video of the various projects built by supporters of the event over the last 16 years.

Bailey-Herd thanked Andrew and Florette Sokulski, who for 14 years hosted Dreams, Past & Present, Julie's Legacy Dinner with Fr. Laz and members of the Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness, Ill., to build homes, community centers, clinics and schools throughout Haiti. All of this was to honor the memory of their daughter who died at the age of 32.

"You have turned a tragic situation into a triumph for so many," Bailey-Herd said. "You have exemplified works of mercy and an affinity to helping those who are in need out of a desire to honor your daughter and her legacy."

For more information about Building Dreams or to donate to the school project, go to
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 vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054