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Miss Jamaica Diaspora Contestants Pay Courtesy Visit to Food For The Poor

COCONUT CREEK – Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2015 contestants paid a courtesy visit to Food For The Poor’s headquarters in Coconut Creek on Tuesday, June 9. In an effort to learn about the organization’s mission to serve the destitute in Jamaica.

During the visit, the contestants heard about the harsh realities of life in developing countries and firsthand accounts from the South Florida-based charity’s President/CEO, Robin Mahfood, who grew up in Jamaica.

“We applaud the Miss Jamaica Diaspora pageant for promoting volunteerism, and we are honored to be granted this opportunity to show pageant participants what Food For The Poor does in their homeland,” said Mahfood. “You have to think about poverty and what causes it.”

“There is a need all over the world and I feel it is up to us as individuals to change it,” said Shaneka “Nya” Miller, a native Jamaican, and a Miss Jamaica Diaspora contestant from Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Mahfood explained how destitute families do not enjoy the luxury of access to water in their homes with the simple twist of a faucet. As part of their daily chores, little girls in developing countries often have to carry heavy water buckets on their heads for miles to gather water for the family to drink, cook and clean.

“Her chore of fetching water perpetuates poverty,” said Mahfood. “If you are not educated, it is hard to rise above a life of poverty. You must teach people how to make a profit, so they can look after themselves.”

“Every child has the right to be a child,” said Shana Simpson, a Miss Jamaica Diaspora contestant from Longwood, Fla., who recalls Food For The Poor as a household name while growing up in Jamaica.

As the contestants toured Food For The Poor’s headquarters, they learned about housing, water and educational projects provided by the charity and its generous donors.

“Our mission is to try to help one person, one family at a time get out of poverty, and that’s what we are doing – giving people a chance. In 2014, we built 7,367 housing units that we gave to the poor. These are families that now have a home.”

The visit is especially meaningful, because both the contestants and the nonprofit’s legacies started in Jamaica. Being born in Jamaica, or having a Jamaican parent is required for entry into the beauty pageant. The winner and the first runner-up are automatically finalists in the Miss Universe Jamaica pageant. In 1982, Food For The Poor started out as a small feeding program in Jamaica, and since then has grown exponentially to become one of the largest international relief organizations in the world.

Robin Mafood sharing information about Food For The Poor to the Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2015 Contestants
Robin Mafood sharing information about Food For The Poor to the Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2015 Contestants

Contestants who visited included: Jodi Campbell, Clermont, Fla.; Mitsouki Garvey-Sanchez, Lilburn, Ga.; Shaneka “Nya” Miller, Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Taisha-Monet Smellie, Sunrise, Fla.; Rohannia Mooyin, Bridgeport, Conn.; Moya Morgan, Coral Springs, Fla.; Kerissa Nelson, Coral Springs, Fla.; Shana Simpson, Longwood, Fla.; and Ashlie Wright, Miami, Fla.

Miss JA Diapora at FFP 2Miss Universe Jamaica 2014 Kaci Fennell visited Food For The Poor’s headquarters with MISS UNIVERSE® contestants from select countries in January 2015.

The reigning Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2014 Kimar Muir, is also familiar with Food For The Poor’s mission. She has attended several of the charity’s events, including the 2015 Building Hope Gala in Boca Raton, Fla.

Miss JA Diapora at FFP 1
The coronation of Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2015 will take place Sunday, June 21 at 6 p.m. at the Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, Fla., 33025. The winner of the Miss Jamaica Diaspora 2015 competition becomes an advocate for the charity arm of the pageant, The Galleon Foundation, which provides financial scholarships to disadvantaged children in the USA and the Caribbean.

Click here to learn more about Food For The Poor’s work in Jamaica.

Click image below to watch video of contestants at Food For The Poor

Miss Jamaica Diaspora at Food For The Poor

South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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