Building Hope Gala Provides Voice for Haiti’s Voiceless: Gala Committee Aims to Build 50 Homes for Desperate Families in Ti Maché

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2019)  Food For The Poor supporters will raise hope for families in desperate need of homes in Haiti at the charity's 24th annual Building Hope Gala on Feb. 2.

The event will be at the historic Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Attendees are invited to create a legacy by pledging to build 50 critically needed homes in Ti Maché, a rural community outside Ganthier where families live in rusted metal and tarp-covered shacks, providing them little protection from storms.

The charity will honor Grammy Award-winning artist Shaggy and his wife, Rebecca Packer Burrell. They will receive the Ambassadors For The Poor Award for helping the poor of Jamaica through the Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation, which supports the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

In addition to pledging to buy homes during the gala's live house rally, guests can contribute in other meaningful ways.

Silent auction prizes include golf and dining packages, electronics, jewelry, vacations to Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Panama and Cancun and a Game of Thrones Journey with a six-night stay in Dublin and Northern Ireland.

World-renowned speed artist Michael Israel will entertain guests with his high-octane style of painting. Israel, who paints one-of-a-kind pieces in a matter of minutes, will create two paintings that will be auctioned at the gala.

Other live auction prizes include a seven-night stay at a private beachfront estate in the village of Bucerias, north of Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, to a seven-day cruise to Alaska aboard Holland America Cruise Line.

Just as Shaggy and his wife Rebecca have answered the call to help children's lives in Jamaica, the Building Hope Gala committee also seeks to improve the lives of Haiti's destitute poor.

In November, past and present gala committee members and their supporters left the comfort of their South Florida homes and traveled with Food For The Poor to witness firsthand the poverty of Ti Maché and learn how best to address families' needs there.

"It's dark, definitely not a place fit for a family," said Rene Turner Mahfood, while visiting one of the shacks in Ti Maché. "There are holes in the ceiling, dirt floors. There is one bed for a mom and three children."

"We've seen the conditions in Haiti and how many people are in need of so much help," said Elizabeth Murzyn-Macey. "One little thing from you can change the lives of all these people."

Also making the trip to Haiti were Mahfood's son Ashton, Laurie Braden and her daughter Piper, Noelle Kahan, Karolina Kanner, Melissa Roig and her daughter Ava, Margarita Stegmann and Joan Marie Veesaert.

The group saw how lives have been transformed in Boen, Haiti, where families received new homes built by supporters of past Building Hope Galas.

"A new home gives them the opportunity to go to school, to get an education to learn new skills, so they're able to be more self-sufficient," Veesaert said.

Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood said supporters of the gala are "providing a voice to the voiceless in Haiti and the key to unlocking a brighter future for families in need of a safe place to call home."

The gala committee includes Dr. Geneen Graber-Maxwell and Charles Maxwell, chairs; Siobhan Carty, Katherine Cathcart, Patricia de Siqueira Castro, Elena Del Alamo, Karen Foreman, Karolina Kanner, Marlene Ross Khouri, Julie Mahfood, Ivana Montague, Rene Turner Mahfood, Dr. Marnee Schneider, Renee Stetler and Patricia Wallace.

Sponsors include Aetna, American Nicaraguan Foundation, ARC Manufacturing Limited, Butters Construction, Dennis Charley and Associates, Crowley, Diligent Services, Dixie Clamp & Scaffold, Dr. G's Pharmacy, Downtown Photo, Heleng International, InfoGroup Nonprofit Solutions, McFFE Group, One & All (Russ Reid), PSAV, Salem Media, Schmidt Family Foundation, Tank Weld, TD Bank, Teemlink, Tito's Handmade Vodka and WISYNCO for WATA.

The Boca Raton Observer is the exclusive media sponsor.

For additional information on the Building Hope Gala, sponsorship opportunities and tickets, available at $400 per person, please contact event managers Marni Wyman or Shanny Tozzi at 954-427-2222 ext. 6854 or by email at

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, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned 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