Browsing Category: 25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope

Field Teams: Hope for a Sustainable Future

Convoy of Hope Field Teams come alongside communities and engage in work that helps them flourish. Teams from all over the U.S. work with the staff in several countries around the world to tackle projects that support Convoy’s various programs. These opportunities give volunteers the chance to offer hope and help in ways that not only affect the lives of one child or family, but the long-term trajectory of an entire community.

Since we began our Field Teams program in 2013, we’ve engaged more than 4,600 volunteers. These teams help in places like the Ngaramtoni Primary School in Tanzania, where teams serve kids who are in our Children’s Feeding program. 

According to Jackie Brawner, a Field Team volunteer leader who worked in this area of Tanzania, teams began working with the school by offering kids lunch every day and helping clear brush so they could build greenhouses. Jackie’s church, Bonita Valley Community Church, even funded two greenhouses for the school to grow their own food for lunch. The school can now sell any extra food they grow at the market to purchase other foods as well, which diversifies their students’ diets. 

With the help of Field Teams, we hope that one day this community will be thriving without need of our help. 

“I love that Convoy of Hope is focused on sustainability,” Jackie says. “We are able, as a team, to go into the places where Convoy of Hope is working and continue the work. And when we leave, because of the established programs they have there, the projects will be continued.” 

Since Convoy entered Ngaramtoni, we’ve held community meetings, helped identify income generating opportunities, addressed hygiene and sanitation issues, empowered mothers to do business, and taught students gardening techniques. The school is now poised to harvest and sell more than 10 metric tons of tomatoes per year, which will fund the lunch program in the future.

“Working with Convoy of Hope Field Teams is the greatest blessing of my life,” says Jackie. “To be boots on the ground and to see the work and effort that Convoy of Hope is doing to feed people and change lives is a priceless experience. On a Field Team, there will be guaranteed laughter and tears. You cannot come back the same. They are truly trips of a lifetime.” 

Already in 2019, 46 Field Teams have served in 10 different locations, from Moldova to the Mississippi Delta. These incredible volunteers have helped with numerous projects around the world in support of our mission — providing help and hope to people who need it most. 

Visit convoyofhope.org/fieldteams to learn more about Field Teams.

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Agriculture / Children's Feeding / Field Story / Join the Convoy / Volunteering

Delhi: Big Change in a Small Town

Changing the world is a huge concept that seems unreasonable and unattainable. It’s hard to believe that we as normal individuals can make a significant impact. But that’s exactly what Convoy of Hope’s Rural Compassion Initiative helps people to do. Rural Compassion Initiative is showing small-town churches and communities how they can start changing the world by reaching out to the people closest to them. 

When Convoy of Hope started working in Delhi, Louisiana, the need was clear. People affected by recent fires were struggling without insurance and needed help rebuilding. The elderly or disabled needed wheelchair ramps built on to their homes. Overwhelmed single mothers had yards that were overgrown. Helping these people may not seem like changing the world, but it changed their world. 

“When I walked into my yard, ya’ll just don’t even know how I feel,” says Latasha Washington, a single mother in Delhi who got help cleaning debris from her yard. “I wanna thank everybody for coming out and helping.”

Over the past six years in Delhi, Convoy has conducted four small-scale Community Events, given away more than 1,500 pairs of shoes at three schools, and provided backpacks and school supplies at two back-to-school events. Several Convoy of Hope Field Teams have also come in to work in homes for the elderly, complete beautification projects for the city, and remodel a building for young adult gatherings.  

We love to serve great communities, but the best part for Convoy is helping communities become self-sufficient. In the last four years, we’ve worked with business leaders in Delhi to make sure they were the ones leading the charge. While we continue to resource the city with supplies, their community-based projects, such as backpack giveaways, school supply drives, and mentoring, are mostly self-sustaining.

Changing the world may seem unattainable, but we challenge everyone to start small. Helping a neighbor clean out their yard changes their world. Building a few ramps and repairing a few roofs changes a community. Keep that going, and you may just find you’ve changed the world — one small act of kindness at a time. 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Rural Compassion

Care Days to Community Events: The story of Convoy of Hope’s First Community Event

Since the very beginning, Convoy of Hope has been helping people reach out to their communities through acts of compassion. In Convoy’s first year, we held small-scale Community Events called Care Days. It started with simple block parties that served 200 to 400 guests. However, our Community Event model changed almost overnight. 

About a year later, a ministry offered to partner with Convoy of Hope at a couple of large community events in Los Angeles and San Francisco by providing multiple truck loads of food. The plan was to conduct these events at a major sports stadium and have enough resources to serve thousands of guests at each location. 

We jumped at the opportunity. It was a leap of faith, though, as we’d never tried to do something this big or complicated before. There was no manual for us to look at. It would all need to be developed.

We began making lots of road trips to meet with community and church leaders. Everyone was excited to be involved. But after meeting with local leaders, it didn’t take us long to see a problem with the “big stadium” model. How were people in need supposed to cross a major city to get to the stadium? We knew many of the people who would want to come never left their own neighborhoods due to a lack of resources or fear about crime and gangs. 

Instead of doing one major event in Los Angeles, we decided to do three events that could be placed within the areas of greatest need. However, to fit within the plans already in motion with our partner, all three events had to take place on the same day — Watts was scheduled to start at 9 a.m., South Central Los Angeles at 1 p.m., and East Los Angeles at 4 p.m.

Our day began at about 4 a.m. in Watts well before sunrise. There was tremendous excitement in the air as we set up. When the gates opened, many of our Guests of Honor were solemn, but there was a new hope in their eyes by the time they left. We could see their faces transform before our very eyes. That’s when we knew we were on to something.

Our day ended around midnight. Though we were all exhausted, we were thrilled by what we’d experienced. We had served approximately 14,000 guests and mobilized more than 200 volunteers in three different communities in just one day.

Two weeks later, we led two events in San Francisco and one in Oakland, serving another 12,000 guests. We did 10 more of these events by the end of the year and have continued to do them to this day. 

Convoy has served more than 2 million Guests of Honor through more than 1,200 Community Events across the United States and in many cities around the world. These events have evolved over the years; we’ve added components like health services, haircuts, and family portraits. However, the basics of the events have not changed — we’re mobilizing communities to serve their neighbors in need, giving help and hope to all that come.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Community Outreach

Meet 25 of the coolest kids in the world!

After 25 years of spreading hope and 12 years of feeding kids, we’ve met some of the coolest kids across the world! Meet just 25 of the incredible kids we’ve had the honor to feed and get to know over the years!

Click on their names to hear their stories.

Bonifast – Haiti

 

 

Alexa – Philippines

 

 

Jacquline – El Salvador

 

 

Stevin – Nicaragua

 

Tigist – Ethiopia

 

Baraka – Tanzania

 

Manas – Nepal

 

Safiri – Kenya

 

Rashani – Sri Lanka

 

Mehar – Lebanon

 

Elvin – El Salvador

 

Sheri – Philippines

 

Ana – Honduras

 

Saraphina – Haiti

 

Amelia – Kenya

Jacque – Haiti

 

Elaine – Nicaragua

 

Orlin – Honduras

 

MacKenzon – Haiti

 

Jessie – Philippines

 

Denilson – El Salvador

 

Beatrice – Kenya

 

Samuel – Nepal

 

Selina – Honduras

 

Cristina – Haiti

 

With the help of friends like you, Convoy of Hope is now feeding more than 200,000 kids across 14 different countries. You can help feed even more kids at feedONE.com and you can find more stories on our website, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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

Hope in Slovakia

The Roma people are one of the largest ethnic minorities in the world who have no home country. Spread throughout Europe, their reputation and history have brought significant prejudice and abuse upon them.

“They have an intensely private culture and usually oppose help from outside their community,” says Michael McNamee, former Regional Director of Convoy of Hope Europe.

The Roma live in separate settlements outside of towns, many of which have no power, running water, or even weather-proofed homes. Entire families live in shantys — their homes consisting of rotting plywood, collapsed roofs, and walls with gaping holes. And yet, families with little children live there in the middle of the cold Slovak winters.

Slovakia has one of the highest Roma populations around the world. One settlement, outside of Vtackovce, held just over 1,000 people living in very rough conditions. “When some teams came … to work in the community,” Michael remembers, “we would sometimes send their medical people … to check on the [Roma] villagers, but there was still a significant resistance on their part.”

In 2015, Convoy of Hope Europe decided to host a Community Event in Vtackovce, Slovakia, to try and build relationships with the community. The event was in April, the snow was melting, and flowers began to appear in fields all over the mountains. Despite the hilly terrain, Convoy had medical tents, food distribution, games for the children, face-painting, live music — the works. Guests of Honor had tickets to come through the tents at predetermined times to avoid overwhelming the different stations.

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and partners, it went off without a hitch. Most every one of the 1,000 people living in the camps attended. Convoy of Hope Europe has held several Community Events throughout Slovakia, and each of them have been incredibly successful.

“Most of society always keeps them at a distance,” says Aaron Davis, a Convoy of Hope team member. “Kind gestures and smiles crossed cultural barriers into their hearts.”

Seeing the incredible transformation that took place in so many families that day makes us at Convoy so grateful that we were able to be a part. And that is all we are — part of a movement of compassion.

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope