We scoured FFtP’s documents and activities and did not find any evidence that FFtP directly supports activities against Catholic teaching. However, FFtP does collaborate with and financially support outside organizations, some of which use that support to provide and promote contraception, primarily condoms, in areas FFtP works.
An example of this is Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASL), a longtime partner of FFtP in Jamaica.
As far back as 2005, FFtP established and funded a clinic for JASL and in 2008, donated J$500,000 to expand the clinic. FFtP is also listed in JASL’s 2017 annual report as an in-kind donor partner.
JASL is a major provider of condoms in Jamaica.
For example, p. 17 of JASL’s annual report shows a JASL worker distributing condoms to a truck driver, while boasting that JASL passed out over 80,000 condoms in Jamaica that year.
P. 20 explains how JASL used “Safer Sex Week” to encourage and educate Jamaicans to use condoms, not just for protection against HIV, but also to protect against “unwanted pregnancies.”
On July 7, 2021, a faithful Catholic reached out to FFtP about these outside partnerships and received the following response the next day from FFtP’s donor services representative Elaine Hopper:
Thank you for your inquiry, and for your desire to help the destitute who live in developing countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Food For The Poor is an interdenominational charity that aids the poor of all faiths and is supported in the United States by churches and individuals of all denominations. Birth control is a sensitive issue, where there is disagreement among the denominations and even within churches. Food For The Poor goes about its work to serve the destitute, while avoiding partisan issues that may affect our interdenominational relationships and the fulfillment of our mission.
Our primary objective is to provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, food, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. We do not provide birth control in any form to our beneficiaries. However, we cannot speak for our many partners if they do or do not. [emphasis added]
On July 15, 2021, the Lepanto Institute sent the following email to Food For the Poor:
I am a researcher for the Lepanto Institute. We run and maintain a list of charities and research whether these charities are safe for Catholic funding based on Catholic moral teaching. We have a very large audience, and Food For The Poor is perhaps one of the most requested charities for us to research due to your excellent and innovative work among the poor.
We are preparing a report that indicates that Food For the Poor does not directly violate Catholic moral teaching in its own activities, but unfortunately does give substantial support to organizations that do. As such we will not be able to recommend FFtP as a safe charity to our readers.
For example, FFtP has given Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASL) major support, building a clinic for the organization and later expanding it, and JASL lists FFtP as a major in-kind donor in its annual reports. Unfortunately, JASL is a major supplier of condoms in Jamaica and promotes condom use regularly. A quick example can be found on JASL’s own website.
We understand if an organization must work with various partners in the course of assisting the poor. However, by funding and giving operational support to organizations such as JASL, the resources Catholic donors provide to you are ending up supporting things that gravely violate Catholic moral teaching.
We are holding off on the publication of our report until Wednesday, July 21, to give you a chance to respond. We are willing to change our report if you can ensure that you will no longer fund or give operational support to JASL and are willing to institute safeguards to prevent future funding of contraceptive promoting organizations. Otherwise, if you simply wish to provide a statement, we will carry it in its entirety.
Despite being given a full week, Food For the Poor did not respond by the 21 July deadline. Unfortunately, our website was hacked the very next day and we were unable to post our report until now.
Because FFtP is unable to ensure that it is not supporting or facilitating the spread of contraception among the poor through its partners, despite all their excellent work, we cannot recommend FFtP as worthy of Catholic donations. We hope that FFtP implements mechanisms or safeguards to prevent such activity, and look forward to the day where we can give full recommendation to FFtP.