Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands will present their first International Festival of Food on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with support from Cheryl Francis, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of the Virgin Islands.
Francis, founder of the Stop the Bleeding Foundation Inc., said, “I wanted to support this event because the mission of our two organizations to empower communities, improve family life and reduce poverty is quite similar.”
The theme of the festival, being held at St. Croix’s Agricultural Fair Grounds, is “Reaffirming faith in the dignity and worth of the human person.”
It is a fundraiser to support the homeless programs of Catholic Charities including rehabilitation of the Bethlehem House Shelter for the Homeless at Kingshill. The Catholic Charities soup kitchen in Christiansted will also benefit.
Francis said in a press release that the event will celebrate the cultural diversity of the Virgin Islands. A unique aspect of the festival, according to the release, will be the opportunity for other groups to partner with Catholic Charities and raise funds for their own organizations by selling the traditional foods and items that are distinctive to the country they wish to represent.
Daisy LaFond, district manager for Bethlehem House and Catholic Charities, said they will have food from Trinidad, Mexico, St. Kitts, Nevis, New Orleans, Africa and other places.
The planned day of food, fun and fellowship at the fairgrounds will feature music, children’s games,
storytelling, fashion, and arts and crafts from around the world.
“Catholic Charities really needs our help,” Francis said. “For 40 years, its members have worked to eliminate economic oppression and to build a just and compassionate society. We could not want for more laudable goals.”
“We know that investing our time and other resources in the work of CCVI and the other organizations struggling through these rough times will reap great returns if we strive to get through this together,” she said.
LaFond said that when the downturn in the local economy hit, they decided to go with a new venture.
“Instead of the usual letter-writing campaign and begging, we decided to try the festival,” she said, adding that they have been working on the festival since January and that it was coming together nicely.
“The entertainers, like Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, and volunteers are all very willing to give of their time,” LaFond said. She said there is going to be a flea market with brand new donated clothing selling for 50 cents to $5. Admission for the festival is $1.
For more information about participating in the International Festival of Food, call LaFond at 773-0132.
To find out more about CCVI and the STB Foundation, visit www.catholiccharitiesusvi.org and www.stopthebleedingusvi.org.