Food For The Poor and Operation Starfish®: Transforming the Lives of the Poor in the Time of Virtual Worship

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (May 1, 2020) Under normal circumstances, several Food For The Poor staff members would be in Burke, Va., this weekend preparing to celebrate the legacy of Operation Starfish® with the Church of the Nativity. But very little is normal now, including the way we worship.

Nonetheless, the two longtime partners will be together in spirit. The church will livestream the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass on Facebook and YouTube. As it always does on this special weekend, the church will take a second collection to help the poor in Haiti through Food For The Poor. For more than 20 years, the church has done this through Operation Starfish®.

"In this time, when the entire human family is suffering because of this terrible virus, I think we should remember Haiti, the other countries and Food For The Poor, because they are God's instrument in bringing relief and hope to thousands and thousands of people," Nativity Pastor Fr. Robert C. Cilinski said. "We will continue to give for the new homes and villages, but especially now we give for food, which is the most essential need at the moment."

For Fr. Bob's complete video message, click:

Since 1998, the Church of the Nativity has built more than 1,400 homes and has established 11 thriving villages in various regions of the Caribbean nation. The Nativity Villages include community centers that serve a variety of needs, including vocational training. The church is close to completing the development of its twelfth community, Nativity Village at Balan, which will include 70 homes, a community center and self-sustaining programs. The community center and 20 homes have been built.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Church of the Nativity's Operation Starfish® campaign. The sacrifices made by parishioners during the Lenten season, have transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people through Food For The Poor.

"We have deep love and respect for Fr. Cilinski, and sincere gratitude for our partnership and the parishioners of the Church of the Nativity," Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine said. "We are humbled by their determination to not let this virus hold them back from accomplishing their mission to help the poor."

Fr. Bob Cilinski traveled to Haiti with Food For The Poor to celebrate the strong relationship between the charity and his parish. See more here:

Those interested in starting an Operation Starfish® program at their parish, school or organization can visit Parishes nationwide also participate in Operation Starfish® programs during Lent, vacation Bible schools, Christmas in July celebrations, back-to-school fundraisers, and in preparation for Advent.

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 and abandoned 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