Friday, 5 October 2018

Food For The Poor Canada Launches Campaign to Build Village in Haiti

By Neil Armstrong

Photo credit: John-Paul Lue   Back row: left to right - Andre Bastian, Michael Searle, Philippe Garneau, Anton Garneau, Michael Mahavolich, Sean Shannon, Robert Ready
Middle row: left to right - Brett Miller, Maria Hunt, Julia Clements, Terri Venkataramaiah, Pierre Dupuis, Parminder Sarna, Sarah Musa, Andrew Chang
  Front row: left to right - Samantha Mahfood, Brigette Chang-Addorisio, Marianna Myklestu

Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) has launched its “It Takes a Village to Build a Village” campaign to reach out to “our village of Canadian donors to help us raise funds to build a village in Haiti over the next 9 months, breaking ground in June 2019.”

The goal is to raise $1-million to build sixty houses with water, sanitation and solar lights, two community wells, solar street lights and four agricultural projects for sustainable livelihoods. 

These projects include animal husbandry such as a chicken farm, raising cows for milk, and vegetables so that the community has food and income generating projects.

“The only way that Food For The Poor Canada accomplishes any work is through the engagement of Canadian donors. Without Canadian donors we can’t do anything so our village of Canadian donors is raising money to build a village,” says Samantha Mahfood, executive director of Food For The Poor Canada.

She said there are two pieces to every act of sharing -- giving and receiving – “and in the act of giving we are using our village in Canada to build a village so that the recipients in Haiti can receive the gift of a safe place to live, clean water, food and jobs.”

The process involves Food For The Poor Haiti identifying the village for its counterpart in Canada who will then take a look, identify the needs and pledge its support.

This year, the Canadian organization finished a village in Bezin, Haiti consisting of thirty homes, a chicken farm, community water and light and they have started another one in Tierra Muscady.

These became possible because of a donation by philanthropist, Laura McCain. 

Throughout the year, the organization will be hosting various fundraising events in support of the campaign.

Its new campaign advertisements were published in The Globe and Mail on two consecutive weekends and will be on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway system in the fall, as well as on different websites and social media sites. 

Food For The Poor Canada says it is raising greater awareness and funds with this important campaign to continue to change lives and communities.  

At a celebration of the official launch of the campaign on September 24 at Chubby’s restaurant in Toronto, the organization introduced its new 360 virtual reality video and information about the village it will build in Haiti.

“Everybody can give at a different level. There is a handful of Canadians that can write a cheque and build a village, but if you call on a $20 donor and a $100 donor and a monthly donor – they can build a village too. And that’s what we’re trying to say, just because you can’t write a cheque for $1-million doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in giving back,” says Mahfood.

It costs $10,000 CAD to build a home and the organization is hoping to get individuals, corporations, other charities and other not-for-profits collaborating among themselves to raise the money to build the homes.

This is the third such build in Haiti for Food For The Poor Canada said Mahfood but Food For The Poor US donors been building villages in Haiti for many years.

“It’s just that we, as Canadians, have the opportunity to also work with Haiti to do this great work.”

The organization notes that each of these villages raises a community out of poverty, in a sustainable way, creating strong and prosperous communities. 

Photo contributed  Left to right: - Samantha Mahfood, Marianne Myklestu, Sarah Musa, and Terri Venkataramaiah (Food For The Poor Canada staff)

On October 14, FFPC will hold its annual thanksgiving and fundraising luncheon to celebrate its 10th anniversary and to launch the ''It Takes a Village To Build a Village'' campaign at the Toronto Hunt Club in Scarborough.

Joining the celebration will be the executive director of Food For The Poor Haiti, Bishop Oge Beauvoir; executive director of Food For The Poor Jamaica, David Mair; and executive director of Food For The Poor US, Mark Khouri.

On the previous day, Food For The Poor will be honored by Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit during a gala in Toronto for its role in assisting the country after Hurricane Maria.

 The “Dominica Rising Benefit Gala” will mark the island’s 40th anniversary of independence.

FFPC is part of the Food For The Poor family of charities; the founding organization in the USA is Food For The Poor, an interdenominational Christian organization that works in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

[This story has been published in the North American Weekly Gleaner, Oct. 4-10, 2018.]

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