To the Editor:

It is with a grateful heart I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the numerous individuals and businesses who helped to make the Foundation 4 Orphans' first benefit a success.

F4O is a nonprofit, international, non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting the emotional, educational, physical and spiritual needs of the orphan worldwide.

The organization's first benefit -- a wine tasting and silent auction -- was held in late September in Sandy Hook.

Thank you to Joe's Salon, Phys-Ed Health and Performance, Salsa, Bank Street Theater, Lore's Lanes, Yokohama, Spice Nails, Mind-Body Connection, Nordica Toys, the Village Center for the Arts, En Vogue, Gabriele Cronin, Lisa Marie Lee, Patrick Purcell, James Dugan, Kay Jones, Mike Shepherd, James Dugan, Karen Pineman and the Dempster family, all of New Milford, for their contributions to the silent auction.

Thanks also to North Sky Photography of South Kent, Heidi Fair of Roxbury, artist Nancy Mygatt of Washington, Natalie Buck of Bridgewater, John Fulton Diamond Jewelers of Bethel, Coreena D'Alessandro of Redding, Lisa Lawrence of New York, the Treehouse Comedy Club in Connecticut, and Brooks Brothers, Sport and Wellness, Green Grunion, Widow Brown's, Il Bacio, Augie's Numero 1 Pizza, the Cheesecake Factory and Brio in Danbury for their donations to the silent auction.

The generous donations from these individuals and businesses, and the contributions made by those who attended the wine tasting were overwhelming and deeply appreciated.

A big thank you also to F4O volunteers Coreena D'Alessendro, Deborah Dempster, Kate Parker-Burgard, Karen Pineman, Laura Purcell, Bonnie Shepherd and Lori Wilson, who were in various ways responsible for planning the event and gathering and coordinating silent auction items.

The United Nations estimates there are 210 million orphans alive today, mostly in the global south.

Most of these children are at great risk and are vulnerable; without a mother, a father or both to care for them, they are unlikely to get the educational, emotional, physical or spiritual support necessary for a successful life.

Of these orphans and vulnerable children, an average of 26,000 will die per day, an annual total of 10 million children.

To that end, F4O seeks to break through cultural, racial and religious differences that can separate us at times by building relationships through our work with the orphan.

F4O is working in the United States, Mozambique and the Kurdish region of Iraq.

It is currently raising funds to construct an orphanage to house

70 children in Xai Xai, Mozambique.

Several family-styled buildings for six to eight children each will be built, with an adult who will serve as the new parent to these children in each building.

We appreciate the support thus far in our fundraising efforts for the Xai Xai project, and will continue our efforts to raise funds to build a new home for orphans in Mozambique.

To learn more about the organization, please visit www.f4o.org.

Wayne Lavender

Founder

Foundation 4 Orphans

Former resident

New Milford