His movement may be slowed, but the fire still burns in Ferdinand Mahfood.
The diminutive gentleman proudly accepted being made a member of the Order of Jamaica at yesterday's Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards. He was bestowed with the honour for his philanthropy and establishing Food For The Poor (FFP). A jovial Mahfood was taking in the whole ceremony, down to the finest detail.
"I am amazed at the effort that went into the event. The beauty and the pageantry of the place is astounding," he said. Focusing on the conferment, Mahfood admitted that when FFP was established in 1982, there was no way he could have foretold its success.
"I never dreamt it would have become what it is today. We are the largest international relief organisation in the United States. We help 16 countries. We've built over 50,000 houses and we've given away over US$9 billion to the poor of these countries," he said.
FFP is an interdenominational Christian ministry. And thanks to faithful donors, its programmes provide various services including health care, fresh water, emergency relief and micro-enterprise assistance in addition to feeding hundreds of thousands of people each day.
FFP started small
Mahfood noted that when FFP was started, it was to help 600 people at the Eventide Home and from that small venture, it has truly blossomed.
"Not in my wildest imagination would I have believed that it would come to this ... culminating in today," he said with a smile, looking down at the insignia. But showing true humility, he quickly cleared up any possible misconception that it was a one-man show.
"The organisation was started by four brothers Sam, Joe, Robin and myself," he said. "So it's not just Ferdinand Mahfood's efforts, it's the efforts of the four brothers and all their children, and that is what has built it, and kept it together."