Like the luminous reflection from a shiny pearl, Food For The Poor has been for three decades a ray of hope for the hungry, the destitute, and the abandoned in the Caribbean and Latin America. The ministry may have started out as a feeding program in Jamaica 30 years ago, but has since grown exponentially to become the largest international relief organization in the United States, with associated charities in Canada, Haiti, Guyana and Jamaica.
The ministry, through its dedicated donors, has built more than 77,000 homes, sent more than 60,000 containers filled with essential goods to the 17 countries it serves, and has delivered more than $9 billion in aid since its inception. Optimistic about the challenges that lay ahead, Food For The Poor’s goal for 2012 is to build 12,000 homes, dig 1,200 water wells, and ship 1,200 containers of food to help the destitute.
“There are so many problems in the world, and during this time of economic chaos the truly poor are the ones who suffer the most; they’re often overlooked or simply forgotten,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “For 30 years, we have responded to the cries of the poor. I am humbled by the reality that tens of thousands of families are now being helped by this ministry. What a tremendous blessing.”
Food For The Poor was founded by Ferdinand (Ferdy) Mahfood in 1982. He and his wife, Patti, traveled throughout the Caribbean working to bring relief to victims of poverty, disease and natural disasters. Ferdy once told friends, “When I can be among Jesus’ poor, that is where I find the face of God.”
In 1985, the ministry built its first home for a family in Jamaica. In 1988, Food For The Poor responded to the needs of victims of Hurricane Gilbert on the island, drilled its first water well in Haiti in 1992, and three years later built its first school, the Ti Aiyti School in Cite Soleil. In 1996, Food For The Poor expanded to begin serving the poor in Central America, specifically El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In 2000, Robin Mahfood assumed the role of president. A year later, Food For The Poor’s first fishing village was built in Old Pera, Jamaica.
“The name of our organization has become somewhat of a misnomer because we do so much on behalf of the poor,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “Since the very beginning, the goal of this ministry has been to teach and to provide those we serve with the necessary tools to support themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Food For The Poor is building homes, hospitals, schools, and community centers that provide technical training. The ministry has also implemented animal husbandry, agricultural and aquaculture projects in the countries it serves to help the poor generate income.
Food For The Poor immediately responded to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti by shipping food, water, medicines, water-filtration systems, building supplies, tools and hygiene kits. Since the tragedy, Food For The Poor has built or replaced a dozen schools, installed 45 water filtration units, and built 2,681 homes. The organization is committed to long-term recovery efforts.
“Food For The Poor celebrated 25 years in Haiti in 2011. As we look toward the future, we will be there every step of the way providing gifts of hope, faith and love, in order to help our brothers and sisters to rebuild their homeland,” said Mahfood.
On Friday, Feb. 10 at 8:30 a.m., a celebration commemorating Food For The Poor’s 30th anniversary will take place at the Coconut Creek headquarters. There will be a procession representing the 17 countries Food For The Poor serves, songs of praise, video presentations, and poetry readings in tribute to three decades of service.
Food For The Poor, the 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 ministry 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
954-427-2222 x 6079