COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 14, 2017) Generous supporters of Food For The Poor gathered March 3 for The One Event at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach to raise funds toward building a school in Mason Hall, Jamaica.
More than 80 guests at The One Event enjoyed a cocktail reception, dinner, music and a silent auction featuring a variety of art, jewelry and musical instruments.
With proceeds from the gala, the charity will build a new Mason Hall Primary and Infant School by merging eight Food For The Poor single-unit houses into one 1,728-square-foot building with a corrugated metal roof, spacious classrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom with shower stalls and a playground — all to ensure an environment that fosters learning and achievement.
Other donors have pledged funds to complete the project and fundraising for the school will continue.
Rafe Cochran, one of Food For The Poor’s youngest donors, recognizes the importance of education and helping others.
Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma presented 12-year-old Rafe with the One For Change Award at the gala, recognizing his past commitment to build homes in Haiti and to help build a school in Jamaica.
“I am truly speechless and honored to be here receiving this fantastic and amazing award,” said Rafe, a sixth-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy.
“When I went to Food for The Poor headquarters in third grade, I was truly touched and needed to help the poor. I realized how fortunate I was and we all were and that I needed to help,” Rafe said.
Aloma described Rafe as “an exemplary young man who at the age of 12 has shown loyalty to the poor, commitment, determination, passion, love, caring and compassion.”
At 9, Rafe became one of Food For The Poor’s youngest donors when he gave a donation to the charity to build two homes for families in Ganthier, Haiti. He did it by asking his generous supporters to pledge money for shots he made at a golf tournament – $100 for pars, $200 for birdies and $250 for eagles.
In 2015, when Rafe was 10, he presented another check to the charity to benefit a family in Thomazeau, Haiti. In 2016, he organized his first full-fledged golf tournament. The inaugural Rafe Cochran Golf Classic at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, his home golf course, attracted more than 80 golfers and raised enough money to build six double-unit homes in Haiti.
His second annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic is set for Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach.
The new Mason Hall school built by the charity’s compassionate donors will benefit 60 children ages 3 to 6 currently enrolled at the school. Older primary students also will benefit from less overcrowding. Infant schools are the backbone of the educational system in Jamaica because it is where young children develop their social skills and get the educational foundation needed to advance to primary school, which is equivalent to an elementary school in the United States.
“Unfortunately, many of Jamaica’s school buildings are dilapidated and are in need of renovation,” said Aloma. “The physical improvements to Mason Hall school will have a positive impact on the students and their families as well as staff. Food For The Poor is extremely grateful to our donors for their generosity.”
The One Event committee chairwoman is Mary Frances Turner. Committee members include: Ryan and Amy Bridger, Jay and Diahann Cochran, Matt and Chrissie Ferguson, Malcolm and Lorrain Hall, Trip and Kate McCoy, Faith Morford, Ron and Dee Romeo, Russell Sherrill, and Tony and Lore Smith.
Sponsors of The One Event included Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and Club E11EVEN Miami.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily 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. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.