For the third year, Lynn University’s Students For The Poor slept, ate and studied on the university’s lawn inside tents and a structure that portrays housing built by Food For The Poor in developing countries. By sleeping outside and limiting themselves to one meal of rice and beans a day the week of April 4-7, they brought attention to deplorable living conditions that exist in developing countries.
“While they are not going to starve, they will be hungry – while they will not be wet or cold, they will be inconvenienced by sleeping on the ground,” said Dan Hennessey, vice-president of Lynn University’s Students For The Poor, describing the state of the students mid-week. “The idea is by the end of the week students will be a little more cognizant of those who are less fortunate.”
Despite foul weather that drove Lynn University students from their tents Tuesday afternoon, the students persevered in their mission to spread awareness. The storm provided a glimpse at what Haiti and other developing countries face as the start of hurricane season looms in June.
“We want to get a better understanding of how people in a Third-World country live and eat,” said Tom Schloemer, a member of Students For The Poor, and survivor of the 2010 Haiti earthquake that took the lives of four Lynn students and two professors.
At the Thursday evening forum, five students shared videos created to pay tribute to their friends’ legacies and to the destitute. Students testified how traveling to countries like Jamaica, Haiti and Nicaragua with the nonprofit has positively changed their lives. Since 2008, the campus organization has partnered and traveled with the international relief and development agency Food For The Poor.
Sarina Peddy, 21, shared how her friend Stephanie Crispinelli inspired her and others to travel with Food For The Poor to Jamaica in June 2010 to retrace her steps and to experience what inspired Stephanie to travel the following year to Haiti. In less than three days, Stephanie’s family and friends, along with contractors and carpenters, built and dedicated a basic school called ‘Steph’s Place’ in Race Course, Clarendon, Jamaica.
Gwendoline Darguste, 20, transferred to Lynn University’s campus after her school in Haiti collapsed during the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. While in Haiti earlier this year, she observed that with the aid received things are a little better, but the “…country’s scars are deep and the screams were even louder.” She asked that the people of Haiti not be forgotten. She thanked Food For The Poor and Students For The Poor for “…fighting hard so her people can have a better life.”
International Relations major, Darguste, also translated the Haiti Consulate General, Greny Bicha Antoine’s message of thanks and remembrance. Consul Antoine told how one high school student realized he did not have the right to complain about not having the newest brand-name shoes to wear to a party, after he realized how blessed he was to have full mobility of both of his legs.
Lynn University’s professor of Criminal Justice, Sindee Kerker, attended the forum and beamed as her daughter, Sami, 15, presented how the mother-daughter humanitarian team tie-dyed their way to Nicaragua with Food For The Poor, to build a home for a family in dire need.
Proceeds from this year’s Students For The Poor week will be used to fund projects in the “Journey of Hope Memorial Village” in Anse à Veau, Haiti. Food For The Poor has dedicated this village to the 12 Lynn University students and two faculty members who were in Haiti on a mission trip when the devastating earthquake struck.
“We can’t forget the events that happened last year in Haiti, however a lot of the world and news has,” said Rebecca Block, acting president of Lynn University’s Students For The Poor.
Block, 22, remembers the students and faculty who traveled on Lynn University’s 2010 J-Term course to Haiti with Food For The Poor. The group arrived one day before the catastrophic earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, instantly claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. Block chose to travel on the 2010 J-Term course to Jamaica.
“Words can’t even begin to express how much of an impact the 2010 J-Term course to Jamaica had on me,” said Robin Bouricius, a Lynn University Student For The Poor member. “Jamaica was a memorable trip that brought change and motivation into my heart. It was truly sad to see these people who don’t have the opportunities we have – struggling to get things like food and shelter.”
The Journey of Hope Memorial Village includes housing, access to sanitation, clean drinking water, and the supplies and resources necessary to raise chickens. Additionally, village residents will benefit from the construction of a community center that will provide a place for a health clinic and vocational training classes; a fruit tree orchard consisting of mango, citrus, avocado and breadfruit trees; and a nine-classroom school.
“I hope that someday people will understand the kind of trouble that other countries are in, and it shouldn’t take something as tragic as an earthquake to make people want to start helping out,” said Bouricius.
For $3,200, Food For The Poor can build a single-unit home with sanitation and a kitchenette to replace a crumbling shack that leaks when it rains. Since 1982, Food For The Poor has constructed more than 72,650 new housing units in the countries served with concrete foundations, locking doors, windows, and a zinc roof with hurricane straps.
“Our goal is to keep awareness alive and educate people about what they can do to help,” said Block.
To support their effort, make checks out to Food For The Poor and include a special reference number “SC# 64619” so the money can be attributed to Lynn University’s Students For The Poor campaign.
You can learn more about Food For The Poor’s 2011 mission trips for college students by e-mailing email@example.com. You can also involve your school in Food For The Poor’s mission by calling 1-877-654-2960, ext. 6988 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054