When representatives of the Florida Marlins and Waste Management walked into Inspiration Village in Malfety, Haiti, last week, the residents greeted them with marching bands, dancers and words of deep gratitude. Hundreds of men, women, and children gathered in front of the community center to thank the team that raised funds and awareness to build much-needed housing.
In addition to the opening of the village, the group also visited the poor in an area called Shada, near Cap-Haitien. The garbage-filled landscape there is peppered with crude shacks, unclothed children dirty from the mud, and mothers whose eyes have been robbed of any hope. Shada literally means misery in Creole, and it was a stark contrast to the new village.
“Inspiration Village has a truly perfect name. For those fortunate enough to escape the inhuman conditions of Shadda, this village is a life saver,” said Sean Flynn, Marlins Senior Vice President of Marketing. “By just looking into the faces of those in Inspiration Village, you can see the wide-eyed look of hope, happiness and comfort; feelings that were absent in the despair of the Shadda community.”
In addition to Flynn, Marlins representatives P.J. Loyello, Senior Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting; Angela Smith, Director of Community Outreach, Billy The Marlin and Marlins front office staff made the trip to Haiti. Dawn McCormick, Community Affairs Manager for Waste Management, also traveled to Haiti to see the houses that company helped to build.
Donations to the Homes for Haiti campaign led to the construction of Inspiration Village, which consists of 41 two-room houses with personal sanitation units. The community has a water well, a solar powered water purification unit, and a community center to offer the opportunity for further education including vocational skills and training in agriculture and animal husbandry. These services will help the farmers achieve better results, and enable them to support their families and make the community sustainable.
"The Florida Marlins were extremely proud to team up with Food for the Poor on this extraordinary project,” Loyello said. “Inspiration Village has provided 41 families a home, as well as safety and dignity, as they get their lives back together after the natural disasters over the last couple of years. This project has certainly been an inspiration for all of us who've been involved."
A little girl who now lives in Inspiration Village summed it up for residents and visitors when she stood on the porch of the community center, and with the help of a translator, expressed her feelings.
“Today, we can say with the help of Food For The Poor and the Marlins, that there is no more sleeping in the rain, no more living in the sun. We have clean sanitation, where before we had to go in the bushes. Now, we say down with cholera, down with malaria, down with other diseases, because of you.”
The need for housing in this area exceeds the homes Inspiration Village already provides. If you are interested in assisting with additional housing projects, please visit www.foodforthepoor.org/homesforhaiti to make your donation today.
To view additional photos from the inauguration ceremony, please visit Food For The Poor's Facebook page.
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.
Food For The Poor
Director of Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6614
Director, Business Communications