Food For The Poor Canada seeking CDN$1m to cope with COVID-19

April 30, 2020

Food For The Poor (FFP) Canada is asking for CDN$1 million to feed 50,000 people over the next six months, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

This money will feed children and their families in Haiti and Jamaica, and, if they raise more, will extend to Honduras, according to Executive Director of FFP Canada Samantha Mahfood.

She was speaking to donors on April 27 during a virtual annual general meeting reception.

Mahfood and her international teams have had to pivot their focus from development to aid for 2020 in response to COVID-19.

"We need your help. We need the help of your networks," pleaded Robert Ready, chair, board of directors, FFP. "Right now, it's a question of survival."

Normally, FFP would serve the 17 countries, located in the Caribbean and Latin America, by providing food, housing and emergency relief to the poor after a natural disaster - the organisation's area of expertise.


But COVID-19 has thrown the organisation, like the rest of the world, a curveball of uncertainty in terms of being able to quantify the amount of aid needed, and how long it will be needed.

"People are worried in Haiti and Jamaica about the security issues because, all of a sudden, you have people who used to have a way to feed their family ... And desperate times will find desperate people," explained Mahfood.

Bishop Oge, executive director for FFP Haiti, told donors that the situation there is dire, as persons face death from either COVID-19 or hunger.

"The food that they would get from the Dominican Republic is no more, because the border is closed. The exchange rate is too high, 105 gourde (Haiti's currency) for US$1. People cannot buy from outside," explained Oge, noting that persons line up at his doors, asking for whatever food he can provide through FFP Haiti.

"It's heartbreaking to see those children, those mothers begging for food everywhere," said Oge.

FFP Haiti serves families, churches, prisons, homes for the elderly and orphanages, amounting to between 250,000 and 500,000 people.

According to Ed Raine, head of FFP in the US, "I think 'unprecedented' becomes an inadequate word to describe 26 million people losing their jobs."

"This is only the tip of the iceberg. It's only going to get much worse. There is nobody who's forecasting anything that is pleasant, unfortunately," said Raine. "We don't get to do anything without the generosity of the donors. And again, we call upon that generosity."

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