As Food for the Poor (FFP) prepares to launch its 40th anniversary celebrations, longtime donors National Baking Company Foundation and Wisynco helped kick things off by handing over two houses to FFP recipients.
The units, officially handed over on March 29, are the first to be donated under the new FFP campaign, ‘Build Back the Love for Jamaica’, as the organisation prepares to galvanise others to support its ongoing outreach.
The houses, which feature a more prominent structure and additional features, were received amid a torrent of emotion and much fanfare. The foundation’s beneficiary, Lovette Blair, was overwrought as she repeatedly expressed gratitude for finally having a space to call her own.
Blair and her son previously lived with two other relatives in a single-bedroom dwelling heavily infested with termites and plagued with leaks. To make matters worse, the 52-year-old has been living with bipolar disorder for more than 18 years. She explained that, despite being medicated, her living conditions made managing difficult.
Without steady work coming in as a seamstress, she had to supplement her income by raising chickens or doing odd jobs once per week to make ends meet. But, seemingly none of it was enough to strike out on her own, and it was in 2018 that she applied for the FFP’s housing assistance.
“For 18 years, me and my child in one room, and sometimes we even had to share the same bed,” said a tearful Blair.
“So, when I lay down in the night and it’s quiet and I feel good, I say ‘thank you, Jesus ‘for my donors and Food for the Poor because they make me feel comfortable. I could not do it without them.”
In a similar expression of gratitude, Marsha Burrell Rose, marketing and development manager at FFP, thanked the donors as she highlighted how their continued support enabled FFP to improve the lives of others.
As she and Blair led a tour of the house, Burrell Rose shared that the new and improved house structure – as well as the additional amenities such as water harvesting supplies, a stove, gas cylinder and a small solar unit which were donated with each house – was made possible due to the consistent contributions of donors over the years.
“At Food for the Poor, we don’t consider this a job, it’s our mission. And our mission is to impact and you know we lost our founder this year and when you hear the stories… it renewed our strength and our hopes to make sure that we are seeing his vision and God is using us to make these changes in their lives and again I will continuously say thank you so much,” added Burrell Rose.
Meanwhile, Craig Hendrickson, director of marketing and sales at National Baking Company, announced that the foundation would increase its annual donation to FFP to 12 houses, up from 11 and 10 in previous years.
Wisynco, through its brand, Boom, also handed over a house to their beneficiary, Kensworth Witter, at the same time.
More details on the new FFP campaign and how others can join will be forthcoming at the campaign’s official launch in April.