During her trip, she volunteered at an orphanage and hospice founded by Mother Teresa. She was touched by the faith and dedication of the sisters, and having a young son of her own, she was particularly drawn to be with the children.
It was during this visit that Margaret met Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest who served the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. He shared his vision of a children’s food program. Despite all the challenges, he held a powerful hope for the future. Inspired to help bring his vision to reality, Margaret returned home and shared her experience with family and friends.
Seed money arrived and within three months, the food program was launched. It started out serving 500 children one meal per week on Sundays at the St. Clare’s rectory. Father Jean-Juste organized the cooking and serving team. Margaret focused on fundraising. Shortly after the program began, Margaret created the What If? Foundation. Click here to read more about the food program’s history.
Over the years, as What If grew, the food program grew. Then school scholarships were added and other educational opportunities for the children. Today, the What If? Foundation provides funding for 6,000 meals each week, 163 school scholarships/year, an after-school program, and a summer camp. Since the beginning, it’s been crucial that the programs be run by members of the Ti Plas Kazo community. This is the crux of the program’s effectiveness, and why so many children — year after year — can find support and nourishment, as well as opportunities to receive an education.
“Piti piti na rive” is Margaret’s favorite Creole saying. Fr. Jean-Juste taught it to her. It means “little by little, we will arrive.” The What If? Foundation believes that every act of love makes a difference. Every prayer. Every gift. We are built in trust that all things are possible and that step by step, caring people can make a difference.
We invite you to join us in this heart-centered outreach. Together we can make a difference in the lives of some of our hemisphere’s most vulnerable children.
The What If? Foundation Board of Directors