With each school they build, Lenny and Lin Crispinelli keep alive the spirit and the passion of the daughter they lost in the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Each nail, every piece of lumber, builds hope for students in Jamaica, and for their entire family that gathers each year to participate in the building trip with Food For The Poor.
The 28-member group traveled to Jamaica this summer to build a school in Williamsfield, Jamaica. Wearing T-shirts that read “Team Steph,” “Do Work,” and “Failure is not an option,” one of Stephanie Crispinelli’s favorite phrases, they also visited students at the two schools previously built in her honor in Clarendon, Jamaica. This couple from Katonah, N.Y., finds healing and renewed energy in the students’ gratitude and eagerness to welcome them.
“It is so heartwarming to see the kids are thriving - they are happy and the school looks fabulous,” said Lin, Stephanie’s mom, while at Steph’s Place I. “It’s filled with desks and learning materials. There is such enthusiasm – it just makes you feel so good.”
Three schools have been built since Stephanie’s passing two years ago in the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, while on a mission trip with Food For The Poor. Her parents, full of anguish, decided the best thing they could do was to pour out their hearts to serve children just like the ones who captured Stephanie’s spirit and energized her passion.
“It is almost better coming back than it was building the school,” said Mike Crispinelli, one of Stephanie’s two brothers. “You see how it maintains itself. It looks great, and the kids are thrilled to see you. When we first built the school, they did not know what to expect, and neither did we. Now it’s easier. It’s good to see the joy.”
The Crispinelli family plans to build a school every year for as long as they can, to try to change the lives of children who changed Stephanie’s life.
“I know the Crispinellis have lost a daughter, but they have gained a family, and we are thankful for that,” said Jennifer Bennett, Principal of Steph’s Place I.
Bennett said each school year brings new students to learn about Stephanie’s mission. A service is held to remember Stephanie and all those who perished in Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
To help continue Stephanie’s mission, tax-deductible donations can be made through the charity’s secure website at www.foodforthepoor.org/stephanie. Donations can also be mailed to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. Please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the special source code “SC# 85636” to accurately route your donation. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as 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.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054