Browsing Category: From the Founders

Gather: Together We Do More

This Christmas, families with gather around tables, trees and fires. They’ll share memories of Christmases past, open gifts, eat meals, enjoy each other’s company, worship and look toward the New Year.

Since Convoy of Hope was founded more than 20 years ago, we’ve seen the power of gathering — even during some of history’s darkest days.

After Hurricane Katrina obliterated portions of the Gulf Coast, I saw our teams gather with families as they picked through the remains of their homes. On the evening of January 12, 2010, our teams gathered to launch a massive response that would best help the people of Haiti as news of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake spread. Recently, I sat at a lunch table in Ethiopia that was filled with wide-eyed schoolchildren who ate bowlfuls of nutritious food provided by Convoy of Hope.

When we gather together, incredible things happen.

Together, we turn disasters into opportunities to feed more children, build homes for the homeless and help communities get back on their feet. Together, we give hope and a hand up to working poor families in the United States. Together, we give impoverished mothers and fathers the tools and training to provide incomes that transform the futures of their families. Together, we put shoes on the shoeless and food into the mouths of the hungry.

Thanks to you, we’ve helped more than 70 million people.

Thanks for partnering with us this year! I look forward to what we’ll do together next year in the States and around the world.

God bless you for gathering with us to help those who are impoverished and hurting.

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From the Founders
Children in Ethiopia after they have been served lunch. Children in Ethiopia after they have been served lunch.

A lesson from the poor

I’m always inspired by what the impoverished can teach us. They can teach us so much, like being grateful.

The line was especially long at Costco as my wife and I joined the throng of shopping carts overflowing with groceries stacked like mountainous peaks.  We could hear a growing chorus of fellow shoppers complaining because the pace of the checkers did not meet their expectations.

I couldn’t help but contrast that moment from just a few days earlier when I had watched hungry children from the Kenya’s Mathare Valley slums joyfully waiting for a bowl of soup. I can assure you they did not complain if their soup did not arrive quickly.

The poor can teach us the simplest things. There are countless times I’ve been fortunate enough to witness many instances just like the one in the Mathare Valley. The poor are humble and grateful that we are working tirelessly to bring them a healthy meal. You can see it in children’s faces as they hold up an empty bowl to be filled with food. Whether they are in the Philippines, Central America or Haiti where we’re feeding thousands, it’s important to keep in mind the lessons these incredible individuals can teach us.

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From the Founders / Program Updates
Supplies from Convoy of Hope arrive in West Africa to aid Ebola survivors. Supplies from Convoy of Hope arrive in West Africa to aid Ebola survivors.

Responding to the Ebola Crisis with 4 Million Meals

Although recent reports in Liberia are encouraging, world health officials say thousands of West Africans have already been infected with Ebola. And they warn that the social and economic impact of the epidemic is far-reaching and long lasting. Healthcare, agriculture, education and employment have already been crippled by the disease.

Ebola has also led to massive food shortages in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone. In recent weeks, Convoy of Hope and our partners have shipped and distributed 4 million meals there. Medical supplies and water purification units have also been distributed. More shipments are slated for the next few months.

Because borders are essentially closed, Convoy of Hope is partnering with a multi-denominational coalition of 1,700 churches in West Africa that are ensuring that the food and supplies are being delivered to families and children that have the greatest needs.

“The relief initiative has reached into the depths of the jungle, as well as the capitol city of Monrovia,” says Gaylord Brown, Assemblies of God missionary to Liberia. “Distributing millions of meals has given hope to the hopeless and food for the hungry. Many prayers have been answered.”

Kwame Wumbe, our field coordinator for the Ebola initiative in West Africa, adds, “This is one of the greatest human need crises in West African history. But Convoy of Hope’s timely intervention with food, medical supplies and best practice protocols will long be remembered by thousands of grateful Liberian and Sierra Leone recipients who received hope when it appeared there was none.”

Please know that giving to Convoy of Hope is saving lives in places like West Africa. On behalf of the thousands of children and their families across the United States and around the world receiving life-giving food and supplies, thank you for your kindness and compassion.

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From the Founders

An inspiration to empower women

In 1969 my parents’ automobile was hit by a drunken driver. My father was killed and my mother was seriously injured. Suddenly, my mother became a single parent and began looking for a job to support the family.

She did not have a college education or formal training. She wanted to care for her children but she found it difficult to find employment that provided adequate compensation. Although I was just a boy, I remember her leaving the house day after day to search for a job. She was determined that her family would not stay on welfare forever.

Finally, she was offered a temporary position which eventually led to full-time employment.  That was one of the greatest moments of her life.

In countries like Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which teaches women skills to earn and save money through job training, is giving women an opportunity to earn an income that enables them to feed their children. In essence, they are accomplishing what my mother did many years ago.

Many of these women have been abandoned and abused their entire lives. But finally, through Women’s Empowerment, they are being given a chance at a better life.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the businesses these women have started. I wish you could see their smiles and hear their words of gratitude.

Because the women are being taught how to save a portion of their earnings, no longer will they be living in the streets or struggling to make ends meet.  They have new skills and a greater understanding of business principles. As a result, their future is bright.

Thank you for caring and giving so Convoy of Hope can continue to meet the needs of women in places like Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador and more.

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From the Founders / Women's Empowerment

I never knew

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, my family and I have so much to be grateful for. I wanted to share the story of some very special members of my family that remind me every day how important it is to be thankful.

The story begins in 1969 when a car accident killed my father and debilitated my mother. My brothers and sister and I were hurting and the biggest question remaining was who would possibly be willing to take four young children into their home.

It was a family named the Davis’ who raised their hand and said they would take us in.

The Davis’ didn’t have a big home; they lived in a small trailer with two children of their own. They didn’t have a big bank account but they had big hearts. I recall that day when we arrived at their trailer and nervously walked up to the front door asking ourselves,

“Do they really want us, will they keep us?” As we approached the front door of the trailer, it swung open and there stood Bill Davis with a warm and inviting smile.

As we shuffled inside, Bill and LouVada gave us big hugs and assured us,

“You are with family and this is your home.”

Davis' blop photo

The Davis’ were not only willing to share their home but also willing to share in our sorrow and pain. They modeled discipline and tough love at times but also true “compassion” which literally means to “suffer with.” To us they modeled what it meant to live life with hope.

And that has been a core value of Convoy of Hope. To be with families after a disaster when they have lost everything. To be with children and their families at our citywide outreaches who are struggling to make it. To be with children that are going hungry and to believe they will one day be the hope for their nation.

When Convoy of Hope was about to cross the threshold of serving 50 million people, we decided to host a celebration in Concord, Calif., —

the town where we grew up but also the place where it seemed hope had been lost one tragic day. Concord also represents where the dream for Convoy of Hope was born. So we called the event, “Celebration of Hope.”

It was an unforgettable evening to see so many friends who encouraged us and supported Convoy of Hope from the very beginning. As the evening was about to conclude there was this family seated off to the right who thought they were there to just share in the celebration but they were the finale — The Davis’ more than 40 years after they changed our lives.

There are many Bill & LouVada Davis’ here who have faithfully supported Convoy of Hope and other worthy organizations.

We are grateful for past, present and new partners that will join this movement of hope by giving generously.

When we combine hope and compassion and live generously I believe God smiles.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

 

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From the Founders / Inspiration