Delayed Not Deterred, Nativity Completes Community in Balan, Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 10, 2021) Today, Nativity Catholic Church Pastor Fr. Robert C. Cilinski presented Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine with the donation from this year's Operation Starfish® campaign that will complete Nativity Village at Balan, in Haiti.

Construction in Balan began in 2019. The multipurpose center for vocational training and events, and 70 two-bedroom homes have been built. Construction is under way for the primary school, playground area and income-producing projects, which were stalled over the past year due to the pandemic and political unrest in Haiti.

"The past year has been filled with challenge and change, but what has not changed is the continuing commitment of our parishioners to share with the poor, across the street and around the world," Fr. Cilinski said. "We offer our resources to help make life better for our brothers and sisters on the margins of life. And we accept the beautiful gifts they share with us – lessons in faith, hope and hospitality."

This year marks the 23rd anniversary of Nativity's Operation Starfish® campaign that started with the late Fr. Richard Martin, who died from complications of diabetes in 2014. Martin's commitment to love and service is being kept alive by Fr. Cilinski, who along with the sacrifices made by parishioners during the Lenten season, have transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people in the Caribbean nation through Food For The Poor.

"I am deeply grateful with what Fr. Martin has started and I am elated with what Fr. Bob has continued to build. This gift we received today from Nativity, on this day of all days, this one is a miracle and means more to us than ever due to the current COVID crisis the people of Haiti now are facing," said Raine. "Food For The Poor has to carry on, we must do the work that we are committed to do. This is a special day and I ask God's blessing on all of you for your generosity."

The people of Nativity parish are determined more than ever to help lift the truly destitute out of poverty. Nativity announced its commitment for a new community in Bas Fossé, Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, to improve the lives of approximately 700 people in a community where most are earning less than $1 per day.

With the help of FFTP, the Bas Fossé Community Development program will include safe housing with water and sanitation, two wells, a water treatment system, a community center and solar-powered street lighting.

"A rising tide raises all the boats, when people are generous with the poor, they are generous overall," Fr. Cilinski added. "We thank the entire Food For The Poor team for helping to build a bridge of love between the church of the first world and the church of the third world."

Since 1998, Nativity Catholic Church has built more than 1,470 homes and has established 12 thriving villages in various regions in Haiti. Each Nativity Village starts by addressing basic needs: shelter, sanitation and clean drinking water. Then education, health care, schools, clinics and vocational training programs follow.
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

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079