Food for the Poor (FFP) Jamaica will stage its annual 5K on May 12 this year and has set its sights on raising enough money to build 100 houses for needy Jamaicans, in addition to the 700 the charity constructs annually.

The event, now in its fourth year, will see participants gather at Emancipation Park in New Kingston for a 6:00 am start.

“Our staging will be at Emancipation Park where we’ll have our warm-up. We start on Oxford Road, proceed easterly to Old Hope Road, we go up Old Hope Road all the way up to Seaview Avenue, go across Seaview, turn left on Lady Musgrave Road, right on Trafalgar Road, left on Knutsford Boulevard and we end outside the park on Knutsford Boulevard,” race director and managing director of Running Events, Alfred “Franno” Francis explained.

“This year we’re trying to do something special where the run is concerned and our electronic timing by having electronic splits along the course… so you can see the difference in the time how you move between each stage,” Francis added.

Francis, as well as FFP Jamaica executives Andrew Mahfood, chairman; David Mair, executive director; Rosannie Hewitt, manager, Housing Investigation Unit; Marsha Burrell, development and marketing manager; and Catherine Goodall, project development manager, were guests at yesterday’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

The cost of a house is US$7,200, half of which FFP Florida will donate.

Burrell said that in addition to building the houses, the charity intends to use funds generated from this year’s 5K to develop other projects.

“This year we have incorporated our agriculture programme. We don’t just want to build a home, we also want to see how persons are able to generate income,” she said.

The programme, she explained, includes fish and chicken rearing, as well as the farming of traditional crops.

People wishing to help, she said, also have the option of donating to the income-generating project that would help beneficiaries get started with their chosen business.

“We don’t just want to help only individuals, we want to do it on a community basis,” Burrell said.

Mair said one of the reasons for staging the 5K was to generate more public awareness about FFP’s activities.

“The majority of our donors are people from the United States and Canada. Food for the Poor is a Jamaican company; Jamaican people need to understand the good we’re doing in our society,” he said.

People wishing to participate in the 5K can register on the company’s website Donations can also be made via the site and at FFP’s headquarters in Spanish Town.

In addition, every purchase of Rainforest Seafoods products with a ‘Make a Difference’ sticker on the package will result in $50 going to the pool of funds generated from the 5K.

Published in the Jamaica Observer