Thanks to a last-minute push by generous anonymous donors, the Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee has surpassed its 2015 fundraising goal to build 30 Food For The Poor homes in Gressier, Haiti.
“We typically meet the goal in June or July,” said Ben Scott, chairman of the Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee. “We hit our goal earlier than expected, thanks to these people who offered to anonymously match funds.”
With hurricane season looming, the committee has announced it pledges to build an additional 30 homes with sanitation and a water component in Gressier, with proceeds from the 2016 Boca Grande event.
“Currently there are two outhouses in Gressier for 60 families to share, and residents walk a quarter-mile to carry home water daily,” said Scott. “It’s been five years now since the earthquake, and their tents are worn out, and living conditions continue to deteriorate. This is a great opportunity to complete the second phase of this project and to help alleviate the terrible living conditions these people endure.”
To support the Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee, Food For The Poor has committed to provide clean drinking water for the residents in Gressier.
“I would like to thank the philanthropists who have worked to answer the prayers of the families in Gressier, Haiti,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “Since Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, these resilient families have struggled to survive in deplorable conditions.”
The Hope for Haitians Committee has raised money to build a total of 197 Food For The Poor homes for destitute families since 2009, in Pierre Payen, Michaud, Manneville, Pon Batay, and Gressier, Haiti.
Reid Carpenter, a Naples resident, and Colvin McCrady, Scott, and Peter Soderberg of Boca Grande, traveled to Haiti from April 13-17 to visit the villages of Gressier, Michaud, and Pon Batay.
In Pon Batay, approximately 40 residents welcomed the travelers, singing ‘How Great Thou Art’ before praying a blessing of thanksgiving over the donors, and eagerly ushering them into their new Food For The Poor homes.
“The love and appreciation we received was so wonderful,” said Scott, who was especially moved by the children’s warm welcome.
“Hundreds of children anticipated our arrival and chased the bus into town, waving,” said Scott. “The children then surrounded us as we stepped off the bus – it was quite spectacular.”
The delighted homeowners in Pon Batay filled the travelers’ arms with gifts of fruit, coconuts and sugarcane.
“They are so appreciative to receive their safe, permanent Food For The Poor homes with access to water and sanitation. They describe their new homes as castles,” said Scott.
The group also visited the village in Michaud. This village received recent upgrades, which include a clinic, and two dormitories for 20 boys and 20 girls who have aged out of the orphan-care programs in Boca Grande Friendship Village II located in Michaud.
For additional information regarding the February 2016 Boca Grande event, and travel opportunities to Haiti, January 11-16, please call 1-888-404-4248 or visit FoodForThePoor.org/bocagrande.
Committee members for 2015 included: Chairmen Ben and Louise Scott, the Rev. Gary Beatty, the Rev. Brian Brightly, the Rev. Jerome Carosella, the Rev. Michelle Robertshaw, Randy and Ginny Bell, Henry and Ginny Bryant, George and Lois Castrucci, Patricia Chapman, Randy and Sue Eddy, Charlie and Florita Field, Evelyn Finnegan, Lou and Corie Fusz, Stephen and Susan Jansen, Mick and Susan Johnson, Tom and Nancy Lorden, Colvin and Madelaine McCrady, Peter and Elsa Soderberg.
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 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.