Food For The Poor Canada Announces New Executive Director

Arlene Amitirigala to take FFPC’s work in the Caribbean and Latin America to the next level

TORONTO, March 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Board of Directors of Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Arlene Amitirigala as Executive Director, effective March 1, 2023.

“The Board is excited to welcome Arlene to our organization,” said Andre Bastian, board co-chair. “Our hiring committee considered many extraordinary candidates for this position during an extensive search conducted by members of the board as well as leaders within our community. Arlene Amitirigala was a standout candidate from the very beginning. She has a passion for mission work, the experience to lead the organization, and the drive to make impactful change for those living with food and housing insecurity in the Caribbean and Central America.”

Arlene has held several senior roles in marketing and communication in both the private and public sectors across various industries such as tourism, investment banking, and manufacturing. Her career experience includes directing corporate communications for Diageo’s West Latin America and Caribbean operations from Miami, Florida, and consulting with clients such as UNESCO, the Consulate of Jamaica at Toronto, and the Caribbean Development Bank.

“Our outgoing Founder and Executive Director, Samantha Mahfood, has done tremendous work over many years to establish strong community ties and relationships,” said board co-chair Cherie Payne. “We are extremely excited to build on her leadership with Arlene Amitirigala at the helm and look forward to expanding our reach in Canada as well as in the Caribbean and Central America.”

Over the last 15 years Canadians have made a huge impact working with Food For The Poor Canada in the Caribbean and Latin America:

  • 38 new schools creating ideal learning spaces for 2,500 children
  • 189 homes providing families with a safe and beautiful place to live
  • 25 million meals to nourish the hungry  
  • $44M million worth of medicine and medical supplies to help the sick in clinics and hospitals

“I am grateful for this opportunity to lead FFPC into a new era and bring a strategic focus that will help extend our ability to create prosperous communities where children and their families can flourish,” said Arlene. “I look forward to working with our many partners, donors and volunteers to build on our incredible legacy and anticipate welcoming many more to join with us.”

“We are thrilled that Arlene is on board as our new Executive Director,” shared Samantha Mahfood, outgoing Executive Director and FFPC Founder. “Along with great management and communication skills, she brings enthusiasm and passion to our cause. I am confident that FFPC will grow its impact under her leadership. I look forward to working with Arlene to ensure a strong transition, continuing the work of helping families thrive in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

About Food For the Poor Canada

Food For The Poor Canada works in international relief and sustainable development, empowering families and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean through five areas of programming: food, housing, health, education, and livelihood. FFPC responds to urgent needs while building community and social infrastructure and utilizes pre-existing networks of local affiliated organizations to better sustain and grow the communities they serve. FFPC ships and distributes food, medicines, and educational supplies, builds villages, homes and schools, provides scholarships, and supports income-generating projects. Over the last 14 years, FFPC and its donors have built 189 homes, 38 schools, as well as shipped and distributed $44,000,000 in food, educational and medical supplies to communities in LAC.

Samantha Mahfood
Founder, Food For The Poor Canada

Arlene Amitirigala
Executive Director, Food For The Poor Canada

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

Arlene_Amitirigala_2023 (1) Arlene Amitirigala and Samantha Mahfood