We were delighted to have Tessie O’Dea, Relationship Development Manager for the Church, School and Community Department of Cross Catholic Outreach, as our speaker this week. She has over nineteen years of Parish Ministry work experience at St Joan of Arc Catholic Church and School in Boca Raton, Florida.

Ms. O’Dea was born in Cuba and lived there until she was thirteen years old. She and her family were able to migrate to the United States shortly after. After earning a BS in Medical Technology, she moved to Washington DC and worked in the Transplant Departments of both Georgetown University and the National Institutes of Health.

It is her vision that all persons around the world should and can unite to overcome material and spiritual poverty. Moreover, she holds that, as a woman of faith, she has the responsibility and ability to empower and mobilize other women of faith, as well as families, faith congregations and communities, to make this a reality.

Whenever she is not traveling internationally, she takes the opportunity to share her vision with schools, groups and individuals. She believes that, together, we can change the world for the better, to transform the lives of the poorest of the poor around the world.

Tessie O’Dea has been married to her husband Tom for 30 years and they have three grown sons, one of which serves as a United States Marine.

Youth vs Hunger

Tessie O’Dea is a local Manager at Cross Catholic Outreach in Boca Raton, where member Barbara Vega works. This program mobilizes groups/organizations to transform lives. It is a movement to feed the hungry. The program makes use of community volunteers to help pack nutrient rich Vitafood to feed poor communities around the world in the fight against world hunger. These “Vitafood packets” are scientifically designed to meet the dietary need of chronically malnourished children and adults. These are then shipped around the world to the poorest of the poor. Some are rice and beans, with vegetables and soy protein, and also include a vitamin rich packet; American palate style packets are a pasta product. It is exciting to see a united volunteers’ effort of community members come together to pack the food by hand, and then send it to the country with greatest needs. It also helps the volunteer members in your community become stronger leaders while doing positive, tangible things that bless the lives of the poor.

Notes from Tessie’s talk:

  • Five key factors cause would hunger:
    • 1. Lack of work
    • 2. Lack of education
    • 3. Corrupt government
    • 4. National disasters
    • 5. Lack of empathy
  • More stats
    • 1/3 of all food is wasted
    • One billion people will go to sleep hungry tonight
  • Mission
    • Mobilize the global resources to deal with hunger
    • Raised $325 million last year
    • Youth vs. Hunger – Mobilizing resource sand bringing awareness to this global crisis
    • Pack Vitafood which is then shipped to the areas in need
    • Packing events are a great opportunity to bring a community together, build bridges and make a change
    • A percentage of the meals packed can go to local food shelters, supporting the needs of your community
    • Each packing event packs 40,000 meals or more
    • They packed over 2 million meals last 3 years in over 30 events
    • They also interface with other programs like Anti-trafficking, microenterprise support, agricultural programs, education, housing, water, disaster relief, medical care and aid to orphans and the elderly
    • They also help build self-esteem in these communities, to accomplish integral community transformation