Hollywood, Fla., Donors Make Dreams Come True for Guatemalan Family

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2020) In Guatemala, Gloria and her four children live in a shack so rickety they fear it might collapse at any time.

But thanks to the generosity of a Hollywood, Fla., couple, Gloria and her family soon will have a sturdy new home that protects them from the rain and cold, and keeps out pests.

In early March, Mark and Donna Montgomery will travel with Food For The Poor to Guatemala to meet Gloria and her children and see them in their new home.

Donna Montgomery said she was struggling to find an appropriate way to remember her father, who died in August 2018. A visit to Food For The Poor's Coconut Creek headquarters last summer changed all that.

The Montgomerys were invited to a reception honoring the top fundraising teams at the charity's annual Join The Pack. More than 150,000 meals were assembled at the event for families in Guatemala. In addition to packing meals, volunteers also raised funds to build seven homes for families in need of safe shelter in Sansur, Guatemala, just two homes shy of the charity's goal of nine homes.

"It was in that instant that I felt a calling to honor my dad by providing housing for a family in desperate need," Donna Montgomery said. "My father was a mentor, a giver, a man of faith and love. I was so blessed to be raised by him in a nurturing and safe home. Mark and I want to give this gift to honor my dad to a family in true need."

A new home would be a dream come true for Gloria. The humble shack she shares with her four children, ages 19, 18, 12 and 4, has dirt floors.

Her husband suffered a nervous breakdown, was hospitalized and is receiving treatment.

All of this has worried Gloria because she has to find a way to feed her family on her own while worrying about their safety in their own home.

She earns money by doing domestic work. But she wants more for her children, including a good education so they can get jobs and have a better life.

Donna Montgomery said knowing that families are living in such poor conditions is heartbreaking for her.

"How can a child be expected to study and better themselves in these conditions?" she asked. "In our world of excess, it is desperately unimaginable to try and put ourselves in their shoes."

Mark Montgomery said he and his wife have supported charities in the past by collecting and donating food and clothing and adopting an orphanage in St. Maarten, where they sent supplies after a hurricane devastated the island. But the trip to Guatemala will put them face-to-face with the family who is benefiting from their generosity.

"We're thrilled with the opportunity to meet them, give them a hug and show them that there are people that care about them and to give them renewed hope for a better life," he said.

The Montgomerys said they are blessed to have family and friends that generously supported their efforts. "Without them, none of this would be possible," they said.

Gloria's new two-bedroom home will include concrete walls, windows and a door, clean water and sanitation.

The Montgomerys will be joined on the trip to Guatemala by Donna Cleveland, a friend to the couple and Food For The Poor. The trio was part of the top fundraising team at Join The Pack last spring.

During their four-day visit, the group is scheduled to see other homes in the Sansur community that were funded by Join The Pack as well as deliver MannaPack meals to families. The group also will plant trees at several of the homes as well as paint a new home.

Food For The Poor began working in Guatemala in 1996. Since then, the charity has built more than 2,600 homes in the country, thanks to compassionate donors like the Montgomerys.

Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said the Montgomerys are providing Gloria and her family the safety and security of their own home, a major cornerstone to helping the poor become self-sufficient.

"Our mission is to help the poor break the cycle of poverty through sustainable development," Raine said.

"But we also are committed to our core life-transforming strategies of building homes, providing clean water and building and restoring schools as well as giving people the opportunity to earn an income," he said. "We are grateful to donors like the Montgomerys who allow us to continue this important work."

To read more about the Montgomerys' story, go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/montgomery.

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 www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054