COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Food For The Poor, following a year of back-to-back hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic, commemorates its 39th anniversary today by celebrating the inaugural Spirit of the Founders.
FFTP was founded by Ferdinand (Ferdy) Mahfood in 1982. He and his wife, Patti, traveled throughout the Caribbean working to bring relief to those suffering from poverty, disease and natural disasters. In 2000, Robin Mahfood assumed the role of President/CEO. But his involvement with the organization goes back to the inception of the charity as one of the original founders. In 2020, Ed Raine became President/CEO, when Robin Mahfood retired after leading the charity through a remarkable period of growth for nearly 20 years.
In honor of those who have devoted themselves to building the charity into a legacy for generations to come, the Spirit of the Founders Award has been established and will be presented every year on the anniversary of FFTP.
Today, the inaugural awards were presented to Grace Bonina, who served on the FFTP Board of Directors for 37 years before recently retiring, and to FFTP team member Sandra Caskey, who joined the organization in 2003 and was recently promoted to Vice President of Major Giving.
Both awards were presented by President/CEO Ed Raine. He expressed his gratitude for Bonina, who was unable to attend today’s ceremony, by remarking that the recipient of the first Spirt of the Founders Award has been a true friend of the charity.
Caskey’s dedication to the charity’s mission has attracted donors from across the country, and their support has helped to transform the lives of thousands of families in countries served by FFTP. After hearing that she was a recipient of this special honor, tears flowed as she expressed her appreciation.
“I thank you all so very much,” Caskey said. “I believe the one who calls us to serve is God, and he moves me to serve. I truly believe that serving the poor is serving God.”
In a ceremony filled with tributes, songs and moving images over the last 39 years, Raine expressed the meaning of today’s anniversary.
“It’s very important for an organization to remind itself of its roots, to give pause and to recognize the founders of that organization,” Raine said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate and to give thanks to God, who has made all things possible.”
FFTP is one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation that’s devoted to transforming the lives of those living in poverty in the Caribbean and Latin America. Milestones over the years include:
- In 1985, built its first home for an impoverished family in Jamaica.
- In 1992, drilled its first water well in Haiti.
- In 1995, built its first school, the Ti Aiyti School in Cite Soleil, Haiti.
- In 1996, began serving in Central America.
- In 2000, established the first fishing village in Old Pera, Jamaica.
- In 2009, established agriculture, aquaculture and education programs.
- In 2010, provided aid and began rebuilding Haiti after a devastating earthquake.
- In 2017, celebrated the building and renovation of 100 schools in Jamaica.
- In 2019, began serving in Colombia and Venezuela.
Over the past 39 years, FFTP through its dedicated donors, has built more than 88,500 homes, completed 2,916 water projects, and sent more than 93,000 containers filled with essential goods to countries it serves.
The charity has delivered more than $16.6 billion in aid since its inception.
“The compassionate spirit of our donors continues to shine, especially during the most difficult of times,” Raine said. “Because of their generosity, we were able to send more than 200 containers for COVID-19 relief last year and a total of 1,029 containers of aid to Central America, which includes disaster kits, food, cleaning and medical supplies to the countries affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
“It’s humbling, and a great responsibility to know that tens of thousands of people are being helped every day by efforts of Food For The Poor and its committed staff,” Raine said.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty 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 orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.