Building Dreams: Food For The Poor Fundraiser Aims to Upgrade School in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2021) In Roseaux, Haiti, 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 into the dilapidated structure and students must be sent home.

Though it is still standing following the massive earthquake that rocked Haiti's southern peninsula on August 14, Food For The Poor remains committed to upgrading and expanding the school, with the help of a longtime devoted supporter, Fr. Medard Laz.

Fr. Laz is hosting the charity's annual Building Dreams Event on Thursday, September 16, to raise funds to improve the school, Ecole National ti Pousseline, in Roseaux.

National Baseball Hall of Famer Andre "The Hawk" Dawson, will be the special guest speaker for the virtual event at 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Thursday.

Dawson, the former Chicago Cubs player 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. He now runs a funeral home in South Florida.

Roseaux is located in Haiti's southern peninsula, about six hours by car from Port-au-Prince.

Fr. Laz said the existing school was damaged during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, only deteriorating further over the years.

Teachers don't have a place to meet or plan lessons. There's no water available for students and teachers to wash their hands, which puts them at risk for spreading infectious diseases.

"It's in such terrible shape," Fr. Laz said. "It's essential that we get a good school in there for the students. Education is the only way that children will be able to make their way."

Funds from the Building Dreams Virtual 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.

"There are so many people that are trying to help Haiti in different ways," Fr. Laz said. "That gives families hope."

For the past 16 years, Fr. Laz, founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Inverness, Ill., has helped to fund numerous projects in Haiti through FFTP. Past fundraisers took place in person in suburban Chicago until the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, like last year, the event will be virtual.

For 14 years, Andrew and Florette Sokulski, an Inverness couple, hosted Dreams, Past & Present, Julie's Legacy Dinner with Fr. Laz 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.

Click here to watch a video about this year's virtual event: https://youtu.be/ART1H2kwHOs

"Providing an education and giving students the tools to learn and succeed is an important step in breaking the cycle of poverty," FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. "The need in Haiti was great even before the earthquake and a subsequent tropical storm that inflicted even more suffering. It is especially difficult for the children. We're extremely grateful to Fr. Laz and the supporters of the Building Dreams Event for their passion and dedication to providing children a safe place to learn and a good education in Roseaux."

Register and donate online, and view a list of auction items at www.FoodForThePoor.org/buildingdreams, where the event will be livestreamed in addition to FFTP's Facebook page at 7 p.m. CDT on Thursday.

The auction will close on Thursday at 9 p.m. CDT.

For more information about Building Dreams, please call Event Manager Trichina Chue at 954-427-2222, ext. 4021, or email trichinac@foodforthepoor.org.
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 www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com