Browsing Category: 25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope

Thank You for 25 Years of Hope: A Letter from Convoy of Hope President Hal Donaldson

Since 1994, your generosity has propelled our teams into new places, in new ways, and for new purposes. Because of you, children and families around the world experience life-transforming acts of kindness.

You are the grade-school girl in California who set up a lemonade stand and gave all her proceeds to Convoy of Hope. 

You are the professional football player and his wife who, in the aftermath of a major hurricane, asked their network to raise funds. 

You are the church and business leaders who rally your teams to give sacrificially so others can be helped through Convoy of Hope. 

You are the individuals and families who give every month so we can feed the hungry and serve the impoverished and suffering.

Without you, our trucks would stop rolling. The meals would never arrive. The relief would disappear. The hope would stop flowing. 

With you, we’re making a difference that none of us could accomplish on our own.

Convoy of Hope exists to change lives through kindness. Whenever you give, volunteer, advocate, or donate for the benefit of the needy, something changes. When you offer kindness, you create a movement that continues to grow bigger. Convoy of Hope has always been more than the sum of its parts, and you are one of those parts.

So thank you for letting kindness guide your heart, your hands, your words, your finances, and your volunteer hours. You are part of the compassion movement. 

Thank you for supporting Convoy of Hope over the past 25 years. We look forward to partnering with you in 2020 and beyond! 

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / From the Founders

Earth-Shaking Hope in Haiti

In early 2010, I was working for Convoy of Hope in Haiti. Things were normal. I was finishing up hosting guests from the U.S. and waiting for a Field Team to arrive two days later. But late that afternoon, as I stood on the balcony of a friend’s home, everything changed. 

My memories of the January 12 earthquake are ones that will always be with me. I’ll never forget the sound of moving earth and crashing buildings. Of mothers wailing in the street. Of the look on peoples’ faces as they tried to process what was happening. 

Although my assignment at Convoy of Hope was not for Disaster Services, I found myself at ground zero for one of the largest natural disasters to hit the Western Hemisphere. I pushed through my mental haze and began working with our partners in Haiti to assess the situation, determine food inventory, and identify a base of operations for in Port-au-Prince. 

Thankfully, within 48 hours of the shaking, I was welcomed by the sight of my Convoy of Hope colleagues crossing the tarmac of the airport. They brought a sense of calm that I hadn’t felt since the ordeal began. I was eager to step out of the way and place the reins of the response in their very capable hands. 

We all witnessed the sadness and desperation that took hold throughout the island in the days and weeks that followed. It got so bad that many families were forced to place the lifeless bodies of their loved in the street to be collected and placed in mass graves. 

But we also saw the amazing power of hope. A strength rose up in the Haitian people, who had already endured so much, and they picked themselves up and moved into their new “normal.” The overwhelming global response to the calamity showed them that they weren’t ignored or forgotten. They would make it.

When the earthquake struck, Convoy of Hope and our partners were already invested and committed to Haiti and were feeding more than 13,000 kids every school day. The overwhelming need after the earthquake propelled us forward and forced us to fast track our plans in the country. In 2019, we are feeding more than 90,000 children in Haiti. 

Tragedies don’t often give people the chance to do anything but survive. That’s why we hope to look beyond the immediacy of a disaster and toward a day when survivors can participate in the rebuilding of their communities. That’s what Haiti has been for us. We were honored to come alongside Haitians and serve when they needed us most. But we’re most proud of when they came back alongside us as participants … as partners on Haiti’s journey. 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding / Disaster Services / Field Story

Long-Term Hope: Convoy of Hope Community Event Connections

What started with one pick-up truck filled with groceries and a desire to serve families in need has transformed into hundreds of Convoy of Hope Community Events that have taken place across the nation. 

Over the past 25 years, Convoy of Hope has served more than 2 million Guests of Honor at more than 1,200 Community Events. Guests of Honor have their immediate needs met with bags of groceries or a new pair of shoes, but we don’t stop there. We also provide them with long-term solutions that can help them thrive. We do that by connecting them to job and career services, community services, health services, veterans services, or other organizations, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The desired outcome for each event is to provide sustainable solutions that help address the deeper-rooted issues and concerns in a community. Our “one-stop shop” connects them with the opportunities they need to help them get to the next step and see the possibilities they couldn’t before. 

We like to say Guests of Honor receive a “hand up,” not a handout, at a Community Event. 

Take Tomasa. She attended a Community Event we held in Fort Worth in 2017 and picked up a Garden in a Bag, which contained vegetable and flower seeds. She planted the seeds and now has a flourishing garden that takes over part of her backyard. Tomasa came back to the Fort Worth Community Event in 2019 to get more seeds and to see how she could start a community garden in her neighborhood.

Or take Darcy. She’s an unemployed single mom with three children living at home. She attended the Fort Worth event this year and went straight to the Job and Career Services tent. There, she found an organization that would pay for her to go back to school to get her license as a certified nursing assistant. She signed up for school and filled out an application for a job. She left feeling excited about what her future holds. 

These are just two examples of what Community Events are all about. Guests of Honor leave with a sense of empowerment and the ability to move beyond obstacles and tough circumstances in their life. 

To learn more about Community Events, visit convoyofhope.org/communityevents.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Community Outreach

Planes, Trains, and Semi Trucks: The Convoy of Hope team that really delivers

Twenty-five years ago, Convoy of Hope was just a few people with a desire to help others and a pickup truck full of groceries. Today, Convoy of Hope’s famous semitrailers drive hundreds of thousands of miles across the country each year, and we ship food and supplies to more than a dozen countries around the world. Growth like that takes a lot of heart, faith, and hard work by our Supply Chain team.

In the early days of Convoy of Hope, we didn’t know a lot about managing and coordinating facility operations and supplies. We had to learn as we went. We learned how to manage 10,000 square feet of leased warehouse space and a few trucks. When we moved into our 300,000 square foot World Distribution Center, we found ourselves in a whole new playing field.

We continued to learn, and the team grew. Our original crew of one or two people has grown into our current Supply Chain team of 21. They take care of the food, water, and supplies we give out and make sure it all gets to people in need. 

This year, Ginger attended a Convoy of Hope Community Event in Cleveland, Ohio. She went because she needed shoes for her children, but found so much more. “If you have a need for one thing, probably you have a need for two or three other things,” Ginger said. “I really appreciate it.” Those shoes and groceries would never have made it to Ginger and her family without the help of the Supply Chain staff who acquired the goods, packaged them, and delivered them to Cleveland.

Thanks to incredible partners and supporters, Convoy of Hope is bringing in and sending out more product than ever before. In the last 10 years, our yearly Gift-in-Kind (GIK) has increased by nearly $100 million. 

Over the years, our Supply Chain team has fine-tuned their processes and implemented new systems to increase efficiency and make it possible to serve more and more people. They’ve even received awards for their work, such as High Jump’s Customer Innovation Award for Stand-Out Business Benefits in 2018.

Convoy of Hope has served millions of people in the last 25 years and distributed more than $1 billion worth of food and supplies. That would never have been possible without the incredible men and women who work each day to make sure the hope our partners and supporters provide gets to the people who need it most. 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Staff Spotlight

Hope for the Holidays

As 2019 comes to a close, families around the world are preparing for the upcoming holiday season. For many of the 200,000 children in Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding program, the hope found in a warm bowl of food each day may be the only gift they receive. The support they receive from supporters like you is what makes the holidays so special.

Nine-year-old Olvin is one of the 11,000 children whom Convoy feeds in Honduras. When he’s not caring for his chickens or attending classes, he is most likely playing soccer with his friends. But the thing he loves most about going to school?

“The food is good!” Olvin says. “Sometimes they give us soup. They give us rice and eggs, too.”

Through Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding program, Olvin receives the nutritious meals he needs to stay healthy and focused. Since starting the program in Honduras in 2011, Convoy of Hope has partnered with more than 100 Honduran communities.

While many are preparing shopping lists and putting up Christmas trees, Olvin’s family is looking forward to their own holiday traditions.

Olvin lives at home with his parents and two younger brothers. His father works long hours, and his mother, Ivania, runs a small business that Convoy’s Women’s Empowerment program helped her start. For them, the added support they receive from Convoy has been the glimmer of hope they desperately needed.

“Normally, we can’t give the kids gifts for Christmas,” says Ivania. “But this year, we will be able to give them gifts.”

Like many families, Olvin’s is looking forward to the Christmas season, because everyone is together and they attend church as a family. Ivania loves to prepare the holiday menu, which includes chicken, rice, potatoes, and bread.

“This year is going to be different from other years, though,” Ivania says. “This year, they will get new clothes for Christmas, and I can add a little something to the menu.”

As Convoy of Hope looks back on the last 25 years, we are humbled to be a part of empowering so many families and their communities. While many will struggle to keep food on the table this holiday season, Convoy of Hope continues to fight for the poor and suffering in hopes that families everywhere can “add a little something to the menu.”

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding