Browsing Category: From the Founders

Keep Dreams Alive

When my brothers and my sister and I were kids, we knew what it was like to have an empty cupboard.

Our father was killed by a drunken driver which forced our injured mother to work long hours to make ends meet. But even with government-issued food stamps, there were times we didn’t have enough.

Fortunately, friends and neighbors brought groceries to our door. I’ll never forget diving into nthose bags of groceries. Every can of soup—every box of cereal—gave us hope that tomorrow could be better than today.

We learned firsthand the pain of an empty stomach—and the peace that accompanies a hot meal.

Because of friends like you, 147,000 children (in 11 countries) are enrolled in Convoy of Hope’s children’s feeding initiative. They can wake up each morning without fear. The meals you provide are keeping their dreams alive.

I remember how difficult it was to learn in school when my stomach was empty. But for 147,000 children, hunger is no longer a threat to their education, their futures. You are keeping them in school. And, as a result, one day they will be teachers, pastors, accountants and doctors.

Thank you for partnering with us to make dreams come true.

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From the Founders
The view above Ethiopia's capitol city of Addis Ababa. The view above Ethiopia's capitol city of Addis Ababa.

No, I am just visiting

An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I often think of that proverb when I consider the work we’re doing around the world together.

We are unifying people, businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies around a movement of hope. We’re going far, and we’re doing it together.

Once as I was walking through immigration in Ethiopia, I learned I had mistakenly omitted the answers to a few questions on the admittance form. The security agent asked, “Occupation?”

I replied with a little chuckle, “No, I am just visiting.”Ethiopia-March-2014__0864 copyThis is the mindset of all who are involved with Convoy of Hope. We’ll travel to the ends of the earth to give of ourselves — not as occupiers but as visitors working together.

Alazer, a young boy in our feeding program in Ethiopia, is the reason we do what we do.The red dust on the playground swirls into the air as Alazer, 5, leads a group of about 30 children in dancing in circles and singing at his school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Come, follow me!” he tells them.

It’s evident Alazer is a leader as the boys and girls fall in line behind him, following him around in circles.

Alazer and the other children in Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding Initiative at his school just received a lunch meal of injera (traditional Ethiopian bread) and sauce. Their energy level is high as they play.

“When I did not have food in my lunchbox, I was sad,” says Alazer, an aspiring doctor. “Now I am happy and satisfied.”

Genet Abay, program coordinator in Ethiopia, says 400 children are now being fed every school day in Ethiopia.

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From the Founders / Program Updates
A Tanzanian woman enrolled in Convoy of Hope's Women's Empowerment Initiative. A Tanzanian woman enrolled in Convoy of Hope's Women's Empowerment Initiative.

The Village

When our truck arrived at a remote village in Tanzania, we were greeted with chants and cheers. Convoy of Hope helps women in this African village learn job skills and start businesses – and feed their children. In honor of our visit they had donned their finest robes and jewelry.2013-12-eng-28

The tribal chief approached our team of Kevin Rose, Nathan Mallonee and me with a handshake and smile. Through an interpreter, he said, “Thank you for coming — we are grateful you are here.” He guided us to several makeshift stools, where we sat and listened to the women sing and share testimonies of gratitude for the work of Convoy of Hope.

Finally, the chief motioned for me to join him up front. He proceeded to drape a cape around my neck and place a scepter in my hand. “Today, you are an honorary member of our tribe,” he said. “We thank Convoy of Hope for what you do to help our women and children.”2013-12-eng-7

Our country directors, Daudi and Kellen Msseemmaa, were also honored that day with gifts and a special ceremony. Week after week, the couple travels hours to reach this village in order to offer help and hope. I could see the love and respect in the villagers’ eyes for our country directors. I also saw hope and pride in the villagers’ faces as they talked about their new lives as business owners and wage earners.

At that moment, I wished every person who supports the work of Convoy of Hope, like you, could have seen the undeniable impact of your giving. The lives of these women have been transformed and their children have been given a future. Because of your kindness and generosity, this village will never be the same.

Join us to empower people throughout the world.Give Hope

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From the Founders
Jacqueline is enrolled in our Children's Feeding Initiative at her school in El Salvador. Jacqueline is enrolled in our Children's Feeding Initiative at her school in El Salvador.

Life-changing gifts

It almost seems like yesterday that it was just my brothers and I, along with a few friends, who were reaching out to underserved people as Convoy of Hope was being born. We were a skeleton crew doing the best we could to reach as many people as possible, but we all had the sense that we were at the beginning of something bigger than ourselves.

Over the last 20 years, I think about those first days, weeks and months of Convoy of Hope often and am thankful and humbled. I’m thankful to the tens of thousands of friends and volunteers who’ve helped us in our efforts to help the impoverished. I’m thankful for the more than 63 million people we’ve served – who’ve proved to me that a small idea thought out of compassion can translate into something powerful.

When I hear stories like Jacqueline’s, I think of the thousands of children just like her that we’re feeding around the world and I thank God that small act of compassion in 1994 has led us to helping them. As you read Jacqueline’s story, I hope you’ll be reminded of the reason our work at Convoy of Hope is so important – now and in the future!

Jacqueline’s story

As it climbed up a jungle-laden mountain in rural El Salvador, Convoy of Hope’s vehicle careened in and out of ditches, potholes and drop-offs to get food and supplies to a remote school where 75 children are being fed.

“It’s often very difficult to get food and supplies up here,” says Arely Hernandez, a Convoy of Hope El Salvador feeding site coordinator. “Especially during the rainy season when the roads are muddy, but we still get it here. These children are poor and hungry and depend on us for food.”

A young girl named Jacqueline looks with anticipation as the school workers scoops a ladle of beans over a plate of rice.

“I’m so hungry,” she says. “Thank you ma’am!”

Jacqueline, 12, depends on food from Convoy of Hope to make it through the day. She lives with her single mom and 3 siblings in a dirt-floor hut. Her mother works in the fields and struggles to put food on the table but does the best she can.

“We felt horrible when we did not receive food,” adds Jacqueline. “We went hungry.”

Now, Jacqueline says she and her family are happier because they receive food at school. Convoy of Hope and its partners have been providing food to Tapacún School for more than a year.

Will you partner with us to help people like Jacqueline?Give Hope.

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Children's Feeding / From the Founders
Meals From the Heartland meals in Convoy of Hope's warehouse in the Philippines. Meals From the Heartland meals in Convoy of Hope's warehouse in the Philippines.

Partnerships make all the difference

There have been countless times since Convoy of Hope was founded that I was reminded of the importance of friends and partners, like you, who help us serve those who are hurting. When we held our first official outreach in California in 1994 we had the helping hands of dozens of volunteers. Just a few weeks ago, when we partnered with the U.S. State Department in El Salvador to help impoverished women, we were reminded once again of the power of collaboration and partnerships.

Late last year I traveled to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and witnessed the strength of partnerships between our Disaster Services team and numerous in-country churches, agencies and organizations. By working together we are stronger and able to help more people. In the Philippines that meant thousands of storm survivors were given help and hope during some of their most desperate hours.

In Ethiopia, Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program is thriving and growing — with the support of in-country partners. Today, thanks to those partnerships, women are learning the skills to run their own businesses and provide for their families.

Our Children’s Feeding Initiative is currently in 11 nations and caring for more than 145,000 children. That is possible, in part, because of the generous support of our feeding partners here in the United States. I’ve met children around the world who are being nourished because of the key, strategic relationships we have with a myriad of partners who want to help lift children and families out of malnutrition and hunger.

Partnerships with organizations, businesses and governments are critical to Convoy of Hope’s mission. But just as important is our partnership with the many individuals, like you, who have joined us in our passion to help the impoverished and suffering. Thank you for your support!

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From the Founders