By Amanda Gordon
Founded and operated by members of the Jamaican Mahfood family in 1982, Food for the Poor has become a giant in the world of charitable organizations. Each year the nonprofit moves millions of dollars in food, medicine and relief supplies for the benefit of almost 20 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. Their mission is greater than simply providing material goods for the here and now. They mean to systematically improve the lives of poor families and communities by teaching them how to become self sufficient.
As a Christian organization, their outreach is effective because they work directly with leaders of every faith throughout the region to provide life saving benefits for the people they serve. President and CEO Robin Mahfood (pictured above) once shared with us that he saw Jesus in the faces of the less fortunate, and is humbled by the team of people at Food for the Poor who drive the organization’s engine of transformation.
One of the group’s clear missions is educating women in rural areas to live off the land. Women are typically responsible for sustaining families and communities, and the theory goes that when women are properly equipped, the needs of their entire community are mitigated. Take a look at the image of a fish on Food for the Poor’s universally recognizable logo, and you might envision from biblical reference that they’re providing means for the poor to feed their own 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21)
Children are their other primary focus. They believe that by educating and supporting the next generation of adults, there’s a better chance of breaking the poverty cycle.
Angels of Hope is one of the organizations supported by Food for the Poor. The program allows benefactors to sponsor, write letters to, and even visit with one of the 510 participating children in Jamaica. As young as they are, these children have faced challenges that would devastate even the strongest adults. An encouraging word, and a bond with a stranger thousands of miles away who has committed to continuing support, can help change these children’s lives for the better.
Over 40,000 homes have been built in Jamaica, and hundreds of children are educated each year, because of Food for the Poor initiatives. Since they began work in Haiti in 1986, they have built almost 27,000 double unit homes and installed hundreds of wells for providing water, a surprisingly scarce commodity in rural communities across the Caribbean region. They have also stepped up their emergency response activities because of catastrophic events in recent years, like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Matthew.
Their mission continues, and they need the support of every person and agency willing to help. To learn more about how you can contribute to Food For The Poor, please visit foodforthepoor.org.