■ STAFF REPORT
Life for dozens of families in Savann Kabrit, Haiti, is looking brighter after they received homes and an opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty, thanks to the generosity of Ben and Louise Scott, Boca Grande Hope For Haitians and Food For The Poor.
“I am feeling joy. I feel like blessings are coming down on me,” said Savann Kabrit resident Marie. “My children feel like they are living, they feel alive, and my husband is much better now.”
Last year, when Scott met Marie and her five children, their living condition was dire. Her husband was ill and had to lie on the damp mud floor because they had no bed. The fragile structure that was their home collapsed shortly after Scott met with them. The family had to live with others within the community until their home was built.
The group funded 50 homes for the first phase in Savann Kabrit, 30 of which have been completed, and the rest of the homes will be built later.
Eager to see the progress made possible by the support of last year’s fundraisers, Scott returned to Savann Kabrit with Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma this month. They were greeted with expressions of deep gratitude from Marie and others. Many within the community had helped by taking materials to construction sites.
“We are truly making a difference in so many lives,” Scott said. “We visited the village in Haiti and witnessed the transformation of families, each going from deplorable living conditions into a home that became a castle to each family. These Haitian families now have security, clean water and sanitation.”
Scott’s friends and supporters from Piqua, Ohio, Frank and Julie Gilardi, also were on the mission trip and experienced the Caribbean nation for the first time.
“We got involved about five years ago,” Frank said. “It took us a while to get here, but we’re glad to be here. The people are so happy to receive whatever they can to improve their lives, and it is an amazing thing to see. I am happy to be a part of it.”
Located east of Port-au-Prince near the border of the Dominican Republic, wood and mud huts in Savann Kabrit that have no toilets or ability to lock their doors are being replaced with colorful concrete block homes. As Scott prepares to celebrate 10 years with Food For The Poor, his goal for 2019 is to build an additional 50 homes within the Savann Kabrit community.
“Ben, Louise and Boca Grande Hope For Haitians have built more than 400 homes in various parts of Haiti through Food For The Poor over almost a decade,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “Thanks to their determination to make a positive impact, they have transformed the lives of thousands. Families have the opportunity to live in a secure home with solar light and access to clean drinking water. With God’s continued blessings, their loving legacy will live on for future generations in both Haiti and the United States.”
Scott and Boca Grande Hope For Haitians began building homes in Haiti with the international relief and development organization in 2009.
Scott and the Gilardis also visited Alpha Village in Gressier, where Boca Grande Hope For Haitians has built 138 homes. The homes have been maintained and are surrounded with fruit trees, plants and other personal touches.
The group received a warm reception from the residents who gathered inside the community center to welcome back a friend.
“I am happy to be here again,” Scott said. “I am one of hundreds of people who made this possible, and none of this could have happened without Food For The Poor. It takes a lot of people to make this happen. I wish every one of their names could be posted on the signs outside of this village.”
Fundraising for an additional 50 homes in Savann Kabrit will continue with the Boca Grande Hope For Haitians annual cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception at The Gasparilla Inn Beach Club in Boca Grande on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. The party will feature a silent auction.
Guests attending the event will hear from keynote speaker Delane Bailey-Herd, senior field manager of Food For The Poor, who will share how lives are being transformed in Haiti thanks to the passion and generosity of Boca Grande supporters.
Committee members include Chairpersons Ben and Louise Scott, the Rev. Gary Beatty, the Rev. Jerome Carosella, the Rev. Michelle Robertshaw, the Rev. Matthew M. Williams, Henry and Ginny Bryant, George and Lois Castrucci, Patricia Chapman, John Denneen, Charlie and Florita Field, Lou and Corie Fusz, Jim and Linda Grant, Stephen and Susan Jansen, Tom and Nancy Lorden, and Sue Sligar.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor, 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 orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit FoodForThePoor.org.