COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Everyone needs a safe place to call home. For families in Kitis, Haiti, home is held together by rocks, mud and sticks.
Roofs are thatched together or covered with rusted metal sheets or old tarps, offering no protection when it rains.
But supporters of Food For The Poor’s 22nd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala hope to change that for 25 families by raising funds to put them in safe, well-built homes.
The event will be livestreamed on the charity’s Facebook and YouTube channels at 8 p.m. Saturday, October 2. Award-winning singer Glacia Robinson, who will debut new music from her upcoming FFTP album, is the featured performer.
Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, who has served as the gala’s Committee Chair for more than two decades, has witnessed firsthand on many occasions the transformation that can occur when someone living in extreme poverty receives the gift of a home.
“This is a God-given opportunity for us to show our love through service to families living in poverty,” Nasrallah said. “It doesn’t matter what we have in life, what title or how much money we have in the bank. If we don’t serve with love, then we’re not serving at all.”
Nasrallah shared the story of Filiana, a young woman with leprosy whom she first met almost 20 years ago on a trip with the charity to Haiti.
For her whole adult life, Filiana had lived with her brother and sister-in-law but never had a home for herself and her three children. Thanks to the charity’s donors, Filiana received a new home.
While Filiana had to undergo several surgeries over the years that led to removal of her fingers, her toes, her foot and eventually her leg, she never lost her faith in God or her love for her family. Last Palm Sunday, Filiana succumbed to her illness and died in a hospital.
“The last time I saw her alive, she was so happy and vibrant. That memory rests on my heart in a special way,” Nasrallah said.
“We have honored the memory of Filiana and her motherly commitment to leave her children her only earthly possession, her Food For The Poor home,” Nasrallah added. “I believe if Filiana could send me a message from heaven, she would encourage me to build more homes in Haiti because just one home for one needy family becomes a never-ending miracle.”
Over the last 20 years, more than 1,000 homes in Haiti have been funded directly by the generosity of Orlando-area donors, the Celebration of Hope gala and matching gifts from the charity.
This year’s virtual event is dedicated to raising funds to build 25 homes in Kitis, located in Petit-Goâves, Haiti. More than 10 years after the 2010 earthquake, many poverty-stricken families continue to live in makeshift homes built from scraps.
The new two-room homes will include sanitation, a rain harvesting system for collecting water, furnishings and solar-powered light kits.
FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said Haiti has suffered a devastating year with the earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace occurring within days of each other. Even before both disasters, he added, many families were already in crisis, in need of safe shelter.
“We are so blessed to have the support of generous donors from the Celebration of Hope that continue to help us provide homes and long-lasting positive transformation,” Raine added. “It is our desire to bring the true message of hope to these vulnerable children and families.”
The event committee includes Chair Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Ben and Nicole del Campo, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Dr. Anis Khalaf, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Liliane Santana, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, Holly Wilson and Liz Zeitler.
Register for the free virtual event and participate in the silent auction at www.FoodForThePoor.org/celebration.
The silent auction opens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 29, and closes on the night of the event at 9 p.m. Saturday, October 2.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.