Three Countries, Three Anniversaries All in One Month
A girl at an orphanage in Guyana holds one of the chickens used in a self-sustaining development program.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 18, 2014) – Food For The Poor is celebrating decades of dedicated service in the countries of Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana in the month of June. The organization, which was founded in 1982, now includes more than 5,000 churches and institutions as partners in the distribution of food, medicine, educational supplies and other needed items.
Thirty-two years ago today, Jamaica became the first country to receive assistance from the relief and development organization. The Food For The Poor-Jamaica office and warehouse complex are located in Spanish Town at the intersection of five highways, which lead to all parts of the island. Food For The Poor has completed more than 250 projects in Jamaica over the past five years, and continues to replace dilapidated shacks with permanent housing. In 2013, Food For The Poor, through the generosity of donors, constructed 2,456 housing units throughout the country. Since inception, the charity has built 37,340 housing units island-wide.
“Thousands of people remain on a waiting list to receive Food For The Poor housing across Jamaica. This organization will continue to help as many people as possible by focusing on one family at a time. This is the only way to approach the situation, if not, then it would become overwhelming,” said Robin Mahfood, President and CEO of Food For The Poor. “Housing, education and self-sustaining projects are major areas of focus, with the goal of meeting the immediate needs of the truly destitute, and ultimately helping the poor to rise out of poverty.”
It was the plea for help from the poorest of the poor living in inhumane conditions in Cite Soleil, located in the capital of Port-au-Prince, which turned Food For The Poor’s heart toward Haiti in 1986. This long-established presence allowed the organization to respond immediately when the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake devastated the country. The same rapid response the charity mobilized during the earthquake crisis was activated when news of the October 2010 cholera outbreak reached Food For The Poor. Now the organization has once again stepped in to help on the heels of another potential outbreak – the Chikungunya virus.
“This virus or ‘the fever’ that’s being transmitted by mosquitoes is spreading fast, and now that the rainy season is here, it is on the verge of becoming an epidemic,” said Mahfood. “The Food For The Poor-Haiti office made an urgent request for medicine in May, and more than 8,000 boxes and bottles making up seven pallets have been shipped. Food For The Poor will continue to monitor the situation and will work on securing more medicines as needed.”
There also are dozens of ongoing Food For The Poor supported projects in Haiti. These projects include: aquaculture, animal husbandry, agricultural, orphan-support, housing and sanitation, community development, water improvement, school construction and support, feeding programs, fishing villages, alternative energy, and medical initiatives.
Since the 2010 earthquake a total of 4,605 two-room homes have been constructed in Haiti. Clean water also is a critical need in the Caribbean country. Food For The Poor installed 121 water wells in 2013, and with the help of Water Missions International, has installed a total of 78 water filtration units, plus three chlorinators since 2010. Each unit purifies and chlorinates up to 10,000 gallons of water a day.
Twenty-three years ago this month, Food For The Poor began working in Guyana, delivering food and other basic items to Guyana’s poor. Since then, the South Florida-based nonprofit has expanded its services to meet the growing needs of the country’s impoverished residents. It is now the leading organization providing relief to the people of Guyana.
In 2012, the organization constructed the Hosanna Village in the community of Mashabo, Essequibo Coast, and started the construction of 40 homes and a water project for the Swan Village located close to the Soesdyke Highway. Last year, work continued on the development of the Swan Village, with 25 additional homes and a community center.
This year, an ambitious project has stretched to build a village in an extremely remote area in the northwestern part of the country. When completed, the village will have 40 homes, a community center and a renovated and expanded primary school. Food For The Poor has delivered more than 900 computer workstations to the South American country, and built 3,134 housing units in Guyana to date.
“When you add it all up, there’s a total of more than 82 years of combined dedicated service between these three countries. Words cannot express the gratitude we have toward the Food For The Poor staff, the donors and most importantly for our heavenly Father, who has opened up the floodgates of heaven onto this organization so that we can help others,” said Mahfood.
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 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.