BY MARCY SHORTUSE - The Boca Grande Hope For Haitians Committee is at 75% of their fundraising goal in the construction of their third village in Haiti. Thanks to generous donors, more than 30 families in the town of Manneville will receive a two-room concrete block home of their own built by Food For The Poor.
To date, the island group has raised $226,090. They still have four houses up for donation, and are just shy of completing their 33-home goal.
“We are so blessed to have some extremely generous people in our community, even through our fourth year,” said Ben Scott, committee chairman.
Recently, the Boca Grande Child Care Center has added its touch to the project as well. According to Kimi Harms, the director of the child care center, the kids there have gotten together to donate colored pencils and coloring books to send to the Haitian children.
“At the Boca Grande Child Care Center the children are continuing to learn how to be responsible members of their community,” she said. “The teachers are encouraging the children to be helpful and caring people by writing personal notes and collecting coloring books and colored pencils to send as gifts to children who live in Haiti and attend the Boca Grande Village I School. This small project allows our preschool children to be a part of a large project supported by our Boca Grande Community. We plan to continue our sharing project this summer by sending beach balls to the children of the Boca Grande Village in Haiti.”
During the week of Jan. 14-17, Hope For Haitians Chairmen Scott and his wife, and Louise, and eight other Boca Grande Committee members traveled with Food For The Poor to Haiti. During the three-day trip, the group attended the inauguration of the Boca Grande Friendship Village II in Michaud, and they also toured the location of the future site of Boca Grande Friendship Village III in Manneville.
“Haiti is a very endearing and complex country; until you experience it for yourself it’s hard to explain to others what life is really like there,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “We are extremely thankful for the partnership we have with the Boca Grande Hope For Haitians Committee. Because of their dedication, we are helping to make life better for hundreds of families today and for many tomorrows to come.”
On February 21, at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club in Boca Grande, nearly 150 people attended the Boca Grande Friendship Celebration to learn more about the project and to hear the first-hand experiences of those who visited the Caribbean nation for the first time.
“The committee members were both overwhelmed and encouraged by what they had experienced during our time in Haiti. It has definitely drawn us closer together as a group and has made us more determined than ever to help the people of Haiti,” said Chairmen Ben Scott. “We also are extremely thankful to have received enough donations to put us halfway to our target, but the fundraising effort is far from over.”
Committee members include: Ben and Louise Scott, the Rev. Gary Beatty, the Rev. Brian Brightly, the Rev. Jerome Carosella, the Rev. Michelle Robertshaw, George and Lois Castrucci, Patricia Chapman, Ray and Iliene Corcoran, Randy and Sue Eddy, Charlie and Florita Field, Evelyn Finnegan, Lou and Corie Fusz, Stephen and Susan Jansen, Tom and Nancy Lorden, Colvin and Madelaine McCrady, and 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 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 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
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