Published On: Tue, Apr 16th, 2019

Mission Possible Luncheon Lifts Up Women in El Salvador

L to R: Members of Food For The Poor’s Mission Possible: Duchess Luncheon Committee include Susan Ricca, Gloria Bycher, Chair Cheryl Whitman-Bergen, Marla Richter, Sabina Fernandez, Ritzy Christensen, Regina Keating, Cindy Feldman and Diana Ricca Chitwood

Boca Raton, FL – Destitute women in El Salvador are closer to having a safe space for their children while they attend classes to learn valuable job skills, thanks to compassionate guests at Food For The Poor’s first Mission Possible: Duchess Luncheon on April 5 at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach.

More than 100 guests attended the event, which featured a talk by author and Palm Beach historian Richard René Silvin.

The luncheon began with a champagne reception poolside with entertainment by jazz musician Sherrine Mostin.

Committee Chair Cheryl Whitman-Bergen thanked guests for making the mission of the committee and Food For The Poor possible.

“Without you, nothing would be possible,” she said. “For me, it’s women empowering women. And that’s what I think we’re all about. I know every one of my friends and my friends’ friends and we all have the same passion. We all have the same vision in the world and that is to help other women and to help people.”

Proceeds from the Mission Possible luncheon will help Food For The Poor build a daycare center and a playing field at the Sirama Training Center, in Prussia, El Salvador. Both projects will give mothers peace of mind knowing their children are safe.

Since 1996, Food For The Poor has worked in El Salvador through several partners, including New Horizons For The Poor Foundation, Fundación Salvadoreña para la Salud (Salvadorian Foundation for Health) and Caritas.

The training center in Prussia is one of two in El Salvador established with the help of the charity’s generous donors.

Women at the centers learn vocational skills such as sewing, baking and cooking and how to market their products to earn an income for their families, both of which are key to breaking the cycle of poverty. As a result, their confidence builds and they become empowered.

But many mothers are afraid to leave their children to attend class because the surrounding communities are unsafe.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma commended Whitman-Bergen and the committee for making the luncheon a success and drawing attention to the plight of women in El Salvador.

“We realize we could not do anything at all if it wasn’t for the generosity, the compassion and the beauty of our donors,” Aloma said.

“I could tell right away when I met Cheryl that the spirit of passion and energy and goodness was in her,” Aloma said. “The reason why this room is so crowded because she has moved heaven and earth to get a lot of people here today.”

In his travels to El Salvador, Aloma has seen once-destitute women become so empowered he hardly recognizes them.

“These women have been battered in their lives and finally for the first time they feel the dignity and the empowerment of being able to make their own living, and being able to take care of their own children,” Aloma said.

To support the cause, the luncheon offered guests the opportunity to bid on unique items such as art, jewelry and travel packages at a silent auction.

Committee members included Chair Cheryl Whitman-Bergen, Gloria Bycher, Diane Ricca Chitwood, Ritzy Christensen, Cindy Feldman, Sabina Fernandez, Regina Keating, Diane LeBenger, Linda Marcus, Nydia Martinez, Susan Ricca, Marla Richter and Petrina Fisher Wells.

Sponsors included: Appleton Heathcare, Beautiful Forever, Drug and Alcohol Attorneys, Radiant Aesthetic, and Ten Spring Water.

For more information, call 954-427-2222 ext. 6634, or go to

Food For the Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit


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