Browsing Category: In The News

Bringing music to Haitian children

When Springfield, Mo., native Christopher Akins, was reading though a back issue of Convoy of Hope’s Hope Report, the story of Johnny Mac caught his eye.

“I saw that photo of him playing makeshift drums and it really touched my heart,” says Akins.

The photo of Johnny Mac smiling widely and playing percussion is a stark contrast to the shape he was in when he came to a Convoy of Hope sponsored orphanage in Haiti in 2006. He was found abandoned and hungry on the mean streets of Port-au-Prince before being brought to the orphanage. His story stuck with Akins.

“I knew I had to do something,” says Akins. “I really think God dropped this in my heart so I began brainstorming on what to do.”

A musician himself, Akins says he knew almost immediately what to do. He’d send instruments to the orphanage.

David Edson, Convoy of Hope’s Caribbean Regional Manager took the call from Akin offering to help.

“It was an incredible idea and having spent time with Johnny Mac and the other kids at this orphanage, I knew how much the instruments would mean to them,” says Edson. “I told him that if he came up with the instruments, we’d be happy to ship them.”

Akins immediately began gathering the instruments, sourcing them separately through donations and from his own pocket. He eventually acquired a drum set, conga drums and a keyboard that were shipped to Haiti from Springfield.

“My goal was to send instruments I would enjoy playing myself,” adds Akins.

Upon shipping the instruments, Akins says he felt compelled to travel to Haiti to teach the kids how to play the instruments, so after coordinating timing with the arrival of the container, Akins and his father found themselves in Port-au-Prince.

“They waited to open the instruments until we got there,” says Akins. “It was so much fun to see the kids and their faces as they opened the. Even the adults were extremely excited.”

Akins and his father spent a few days at the orphanage, teaching group and private music lessons to the children. He says he learned just as much from the kids as they did from him.

“My next dream is to have ongoing music education for them,” he says.

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Children's Feeding / In The News / Program Updates

Hal Donaldson urges politicians to practice a year of kindness

In the video above, our co-founder and CEO delivers his speech to Missouri Lawmakers at the recent 2014 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.

The following is an excerpt from a story at News-Leader.com by Jonathan Shorman. 

Convoy of Hope founder Hal Donaldson this morning urged a gathering of Missouri’s most powerful to practice a year of kindness.

Donaldson, president of the Springfield-based charity, gave the keynote address at the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, a bipartisan event attended by hundreds of people and top names in Missouri leadership.

“If we will collectively dedicate ourselves to a lifestyle of kindness and compassion, 2014 can be a defining moment for our state and our nation, and in turn many of the problems that we face — those problems will begin to fade,” Donaldson said. “Friend, a year of kindness and compassion can absolutely change everything.”

Donaldson recounted how, as a child in 1969, his father had been killed by a drunk driver and mother seriously injured. The family who took him in for several months afterward changed his life forever. Donaldson said without their kindness, Convoy of Hope would never have happened.

Read the full story at News-Leader.com

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From The Founders / In The News / News
Convoy of Hope delivered 50,000 pounds of groceries to to 6,398 attendees. (Jose Luis Hernandez/Borderzine.com) Convoy of Hope delivered 50,000 pounds of groceries to to 6,398 attendees. (Jose Luis Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

Thousands brave the cold to seek assistance from the Convoy of Hope

Reblogged from borderzine.com.

The rainy, windy, and freezing weather didn’t stop the Convoy of Hope from going far and beyond the call of generosity on its first visit to El Paso.

Many families in the area went to the El Paso County Coliseum on November 23 and stood in the cold in the hope of getting some much needed groceries at no cost.

The Convoy of Hope is an international faith-based non-profit organization that delivers food and provides many services to underprivileged people in the U.S. and around the world. Hal Donaldson founded Convoy of Hope in 1994 in Springfield MO, after members of the community joined forces to help him and his family recover after a drunk driver killed his father and incapacitated his mother.

El Paso Convoy of Hope [volunteer] spokeswoman Lorayn Melton said that the needy families that attended the event were the guests of honor. “We wanted them to feel like that,” she said.

Attendees could be seen carrying bags of groceries as well as clothes, but as festive as the event was with bands playing on a stage, games, jumping balloons, and a puppet show for the kids, most people just stayed in the warm tents where furnaces and services such as free hair cuts, health check-ups, and free family portraits were available.

Read the full story and view a slideshow at borderzine.com.

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Community Outreach / In The News / Program Updates

“I’ve got great news about help headed your way,” says NBC anchor Angie Goff as she leads into a story about our October 19th community outreach in Leesburg, Va.

If the efforts of our staff and volunteers is being reported as “great news” for people facing hard times, then we’re getting the job done!

It’s not too late to volunteer or attend, more info | leesburg.convoyofhope.org

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Community Outreach / In The News
Her wide smile was one of hundreds that came out of the children's face-painting area in the Kids Zone. Her wide smile was one of hundreds that came out of the children's face-painting area in the Kids Zone.

Contagious Hope in Sioux City

When someone asks me what Convoy of Hope does I tell them about how we feed more than 126,000 children around the world, respond to disasters and hold community outreaches. The first two are self-explanatory, the third typically requires some explaining.

Everybody on staff, especially those on our communications team, have their own unique spin on describing community outreaches. I describe the events as anywhere from 500 to 2,000 local volunteers serving anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of their neighbors with helpful services like haircuts, family portraits, groceries, workforce development, shoes and more. Hope is contagious, I explain, and when we leave a community there are thousands of guests of honor and volunteers who’ve become carriers.

The Convoy Sioux City recently brought together 1,014 volunteers from 85 different churches and organizations who served 5,774 guests of honor with medical services, career services, haircuts, family portraits, groceries, family fun and more.

Some of the ripples from this event began on day one. Several hundred bags of groceries were left over after all of the guests of honor had been served. So, local volunteers in coordination with our staff began making immediate connections with local food banks in Sioux City who will continue to spread hope.

“And that was the whole plan,” says Jean Logan, director of the Community Action Agency that received some of the extra groceries. “It all stayed here in Siouxland and went back into the community.”

Logan does a swell job of explaining “the whole plan” of our community outreaches … it all goes back into the community.

More stories about The Convoy Sioux City from local news agencies:

Siouxland groups keep benefiting from Convoy of Hope

“Convoy of Hope” Helps Thousands of Siouxlanders in Need

LETTER: Mayor expresses appreciation for Convoy of Hope

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Community Outreach / In The News / Program Updates