Help Haiti: South Florida Donates More Than 16,000 Pounds of Aid

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2021) United by a common goal to help Haiti, 80 volunteers from South Florida's pro sports teams, businesses and community groups joined Food For The Poor on Friday to pack more than 14,500 pounds of food to help families devastated by the earthquake one month ago.

More than 1,700 pounds of hygiene items and 384 newborn kits also were packed by the group as they moved to lively music and had fun with the Florida Panthers' mascot, Stanley C. Panther.

FFTP hosted a Help Haiti Community Collection Event at its warehouse, inviting the public to bring items collected from their own drives and to help the charity organize and sort the items.

Miami Dolphins alum Nat Moore, the team's Senior Vice President of Special Projects and Alumni Relations, and Jason Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs, packed newborn kits for families in great need.

"My parents always taught me that you treat people and you do for others as you would hope they would do for you in their situation," Moore said.

"There is a dire need in Haiti," he added. "This is the right thing to do to get as much help as humanly possible to the folks in Haiti. We haven't been through an earthquake in South Florida, but I have been through many, many hurricanes and realize if people don't pitch in and help out, you don't survive."

The Florida Panthers brought 10 staff members, along with Stanley C. Panther, to sort goods.

Since the quake, FFTP has secured or delivered 128 truckloads of aid to help families in Haiti, including food, medical supplies, building materials and other supplies.

The charity is consistently sending aid to Haiti as soon as items are dropped off and sorted, said Jisabelle Garcia-Pedroso, FFTP's Senior Programs Manager for Operations. On average, three 40-foot containers a week are shipped to the charity's operations in Port-au-Prince, she said.

Representatives from the Miami Marlins delivered about 250 disaster bags with hygiene and first aid items that were packed at a Marlins Day of Service event last Thursday to commemorate 9/11. And volunteers came to FFTP on Friday to help sort items dropped off by other groups.

Evans Adonis, the Marlins' Director of Sales, said giving back to the community and helping families in Haiti, many of whom have friends and relatives in South Florida, are part of what the Marlins do.

"With Haiti going through so much, it's important that we do something to give back as much as possible," Adonis said.

John Buschman, a lecturer at the Chaplin School at Florida International University who leads the school's Food Rescue Initiatives, led a team of students who helped sort goods.

"What we normally do in my class is we go to a global food pantry and work on channeling that food within South Florida. The earthquake in Haiti is something much bigger than anything we've dealt with before," Buschman said. "It's global. It's an emergency. It's urgent. It's a very special thing as part of our class to be able to participate in something like this."

Mark Khouri, FFTP's Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, thanked the South Florida community for continuing to support Haiti.

"It is heartening to see so many coming together to help Haiti in its time of need," Khouri said. "The food, hygiene items and baby kits will go a long way to alleviate suffering as families recover and as Food For The Poor executes on a strategy to build new homes for families who were displaced."

Even groups that ordinarily work locally extended their arms to help their destitute brothers and sisters in Haiti. Boca Helping Hands delivered four pallets of food and two pallets of hand sanitizer and hygiene items.

The organization heard about FFTP's event through Pastor Evens Jules, of Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church in Delray Beach. Pastor Jules was one of the speakers during a FFTP prayer service for Haiti in late August.

"Knowing that he has a Haitian congregation and brothers and sisters that he knows in Haiti, when the disaster happened, we wanted to partner with him to see what we could do to help," said Bill Harper, Boca Helping Hands' Director of Food and Warehouse Operations. "Pastor Jules told us we could do a food collection and work with Food For The Poor to get it into a container and shipped to Haiti."

Rev. Ellis C. McKenzie, the Florida General Baptist Convention's Ambassador for Haiti and Jamaica, delivers food and other relief items to the charity on a regular basis. On Friday, he and his wife, Barbara, just happened to be making another stop with a truck filled with goods including food, water, medical supplies, tarps and a generator.

"We wanted to make sure that the goods are sent to where the greatest needs are and that's why we felt Food For The Poor was the best organization to see that done," Rev. McKenzie said.

Other businesses, organizations and groups that dropped off goods Friday included Bravo Supermarkets, which hosted a collection drive with FFTP-branded boxes at 14 Bravo, Key Foods and La Ideal supermarkets in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, and Feeding South Florida and United Way, King Suzuki of Deerfield Beach, and Coconut Creek Subaru.

Donors can continue helping FFTP deliver aid to Haiti in two more ways:
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