Browsing Category: Inspiration

An Interview with Convoy of Hope’s President on President’s Day

In accordance with President’s Day, we are pleased to share an interview with Convoy of Hope’s president and founder, Hal Donaldson, on our mission, the importance of humility, and what Convoy of Hope needs to do to serve millions of others in the future.

When we say, “We are delivering hope,” what does that actually look like? What does that mean?

When I think of hope, I think of the belief that things can be better than they are. It’s the feeling that it’s worth living another 10 minutes, another 10 days, because things can get better.

Hope is the essence of life, but it’s also a currency God intended to be spent. It’s not something to hoard. And the currency of hope can be food. It can be a handshake. A smile. It can be holding someone who’s lost a loved one. The more you give away, the more hope you’re going to have.

You’ve spoken about the importance of humility at Convoy of Hope. When you envision a humble organization, what does that look like?

It’s very easy for a business or an organization to oversell their successes and minimize their weaknesses. In the quest to highlight success and engage more people, it doesn’t take much to move from a place of humility to a place of arrogance. So, at Convoy of Hope, we work very hard at being authentic.

Humility is also about being grateful. Being thankful to our partners and to God for what has been entrusted to us and not to take that for granted. Gratitude breeds humility. You realize everything doesn’t depend on you. Much of what happens depends on the goodness and the faith of others.

I also believe that everyone in leadership, regardless of what level, has to model humility for the people that work with them. Sometimes, I think we mistake arrogance and pride for strength. At Convoy of Hope, we recognize that true strength displays a level of humility and meekness.

What scares you the most?

My greatest fear is that we would not be found trustworthy for any reason. I think it’s one of the reasons we work so hard at doing things with integrity and transparency. We know the more we’re trusted, the more people we’re going to be able to help. And, at the end of the day, that’s why we’re here.

Is there any advice you wish you had received earlier in life?

Yes — the value of persevering. When I was younger, I expected success or growth to happen overnight. I wish I had been told that this was going to be a life-long journey. And it wasn’t going to be a series of big decisions. It was going to be countless small decisions, daily decisions, that would ultimately lead to greater effectiveness and efficiency.

What separates Convoy of Hope from other organizations? What makes us different?

I can’t tell you what other organizations do. I don’t keep score on them. They’re not competitors. But we do keep score of ourselves, and our partners hold us accountable to make sure we are doing what we say we’re going to do. That’s why we strive to operate with a high level of integrity and transparency. For example, we don’t sell donor information. We don’t exaggerate our successes. Instead we speak about our accomplishments in an honest way. And we hand-deliver goods. We don’t just “dump and leave” when it comes to providing aid in a community.

If you could meet every single person we serve — every mom, every child, every family at a Community Event — and say something to each of them, what would that be?

Two words: “You matter.” Regardless of their socioeconomic condition or their status in the world, “You matter.” As long as we keep that as our motto, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished in the U.S. and around the world.

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Inspiration

NFL Players Team Up with Convoy of Hope to Distribute Relief at Florida Event

Ever since Alecia Black lost her job as a result of the pandemic, she and her family have been struggling financially. Thankfully, Alecia was one of the many people who attended Convoy of Hope’s distribution event at Tropicana Field the day before Super Bowl LV.

“It has just been a true blessing. It floored me,” Alecia said of the event. “We truly, truly, truly appreciate it, from the bottom of our hearts. You definitely helped our family out.”

Convoy of Hope was able to provide more than 3,400 bags of groceries, 1,000 pairs of kids’ shoes, and 2,000 pairs of socks to families like Alecia’s. We also delivered additional resources to local organizations like Feeding Tampa Bay — furthering our impact. 

The event received support from several NFL familiars, such as Earl Christy, former Buccaneers player Michael Clayton, and Buccaneers punter Bradley Pinion’s spouse Kaeleigh, all of whom stepped in to volunteer.

“This weekend is obviously a big weekend for me and my family, with my husband playing in the Super Bowl tomorrow,” Kaeleigh shared. “But this has just been a really cool opportunity for me to bring some of my friends out here to partner with Convoy of Hope and to give back and really kind of flip the script about what’s important during Super Bowl weekend.”

The event was made possible by Convoy Nation, a group that allows individuals in the entertainment, entrepreneurial, and sports worlds to bring kindness and help to those in need. Convoy of Hope’s Chief Program Officer, Brad Rosenberg, also attended the event and served the St. Petersburg community first-hand.

“Even though the city was in the middle of a huge celebration, there were still many that were hurting and needed help,” he summarized. “They were so incredibly grateful for what Convoy of Hope was able to provide. We’re glad to be able to serve them.”

 

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Inspiration

Danny Gokey Partners with Convoy of Hope in “New Day” Music Video

“This is a new day! Everything’s bursting with hope, coming alive this moment.”

Those are the lyrics to musician Danny Gokey’s most recent song, “New Day.” And when Gokey needed a semi-truck to deliver that hope in his new music video, he turned to Convoy of Hope, knowing we represent more than just a truck.

“In talking with our friends, Convoy of Hope, they really resonated with the message of this song and how it embodies the work they do. They are able, through their efforts, to provide a new start to many who are hurting on so many levels,” said Danny Gokey. “The video was a great way to integrate both of our messages and share it. It was a perfect partnership!”

Since his days as a finalist on American Idol, Gokey has been producing hits that you’ve likely heard on the radio. Years ago, when Gokey met Hal Donaldson, President of Convoy of Hope, a friendship geared toward serving others was made.

“I’ve been looking forward to releasing this song at the top of 2021 to remind people that in spite of all we have been through over the past year, God’s plan is still full of new mercies and our futures are still bursting with hope!” Gokey said. “As believers, we don’t have to be subject to our circumstances, we can choose to receive His hope on a daily basis and walk into a ‘New Day’!”

Watch a special message from Danny Gokey below.

 

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Inspiration

Fighting Winter Blues With Hope

One of the hallmark symptoms of weather-related distress is a general feeling of hopelessness.

As the winter months persist, Convoy of Hope wants to encourage you in the pursuit of hope. Whether you are one of the five percent of American adults who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or simply find yourself having a bad day, there are a handful of steps you can take to maintain a sense of hope. 

Hope is often linked to our feelings about the future. Multiple studies have shown that wishing can oftentimes lead to feelings of despair and inadequacy. In contrast, hope is rooted in action and attainable goals. Setting goals and working toward them can have a profound effect on hopefulness and an individual’s sense of purpose. 

“Take goals, motivation, pragmatic action, optimism and add to that social connections, which have been identified as fundamental to hopefulness, and you’ve got the ingredients of hope…. envision specific future goals in such a way that the goal comes alive. Then, create pathways toward the goal,” behavioral clinician Christy Matta says.

Dr. Richard Shelton, vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine, recommends a solution that only requires a simple revision of your daily routine: Go outside.

“Get out of your house or apartment and go for a walk, preferably every day and preferably in the morning if you can.” Shelton recommends that those who have found themselves working from home during the pandemic use their lack of commute to their advantage. “Whatever your commute time was before, take a significant chunk of that time to be outside. Just convert the commute time for either time for social interaction or time to go outside and get light exposure.”

Finally, author and psychologist Karyn Hall, Ph. D., recommends shifting your perspective outward. “Doing acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook. Kindness triggers the release of serotonin, so it has an antidepressant effect,” said in an article titled, “Finding Hope.” “It also calms stress and helps reduce pain. Small acts of kindness that you do repeatedly can help you feel more connected and have a greater sense of contribution. Notice that doing acts of kindness repeatedly is important.”

As warmer and brighter weather slowly draws nearer, remember that hope may not always be as far away as it seems. Whether you have hope or you are pursuing it, there are opportunities to share kindness and positivity with others — often to your mutual benefit.

Convoy of Hope remains committed to providing help and hope year-round to those who need it. We hope to do that through our work and by inspiring you to live a joyful life. Together, we can make brighter days in every season, and inspire hope in every storm.

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Inspiration

Hands of Hope Volunteers pack meals and kindness

Becky Stegner has been volunteering at Convoy of Hope’s weekly Hands of Hope event for over a decade.

“I think it’s great that people you don’t even know are going to benefit from the projects we did tonight,” Becky remarked while unboxing groceries for an upcoming distribution event. “They’re probably going to be super thankful for it and just think, ‘If somebody took time out of their evening in the middle of the week to help me, I should look for something to do to help somebody else down the road.’”

Although the pandemic has required that volunteer opportunities take on a new form in order to keep participants safe, chances for people to donate their time have not been in short supply. Around the world, Convoy of Hope’s partners have been pitching in to prove that with a little time and effort, you can make a big difference in the world.

“Volunteering is important for Convoy,” Convoy of Hope’s Volunteer Engagement Project Coordinator Bethany Burrows pointed out. “It provides an opportunity for people to give. It’s a great way to easily acquaint people with our initiatives and the vision and heart behind the organization. In general, I love volunteering because it can give people a way to create community and provide purpose and create change in lives with minimal financial and time commitment.”

Bethany went on to explain that volunteer opportunities have helped cultivate some of her closest friendships and shaped her career over the years.

“Our volunteers help contribute to the quality and quantity of the assistance we provide others,” Volunteer Engagement Manager, Laura Tourville added. “We would not be able to accomplish as much we do as an organization without the sacrifice and dedication of our volunteers continually showing up to provide hope to those that need it.”

From Community Events and grocery distributions, kit packing parties, and disaster response initiatives, Convoy of Hope is able to help people because of our volunteers. We are incredibly grateful for the ways our supporters have chosen to give their time throughout the past year, and how they’ve prioritized the safety of those involved.

As a new year begins, we are excited to see how people like you will choose to make a difference.

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