Browsing Category: Inspiration

Treating others as a Guest of Honor

Convoy of Hope began hosting Community Events 25 years ago. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of Guests of Honor — from New York to Hawaii, Washington to Florida, and everywhere in between — in more than 1,200 cities in the United States. 

Guests of Honor are our neighbors, co-workers, the people we see at church each Sunday, the grocery check-out clerk, or the person asking for help on the corner. They are the families who need a hand-up during difficult times, individuals living on the fringes of poverty, and those who are barely making it paycheck to paycheck. They are people we all know and love and want to help. 

They are people like Carly. It had already been a long day for Carly before she attended the Wichita Convoy of Hope Community Event with her family. She’d worked eight hours at one job; after the event, she would be going to her second job. 

Carly and her family have attended the Community Event for four years in a row. She and her kids go to every area: haircuts, shoes, Kids Zone to receiving backpacks, and groceries at the end. The haircuts are particularly of value. The only time Carly’s daughters receive haircuts are when they attend Community Events.

When asked why she keeps returning, she says, “Convoy is one of the most understanding and respectful organizations. They treat you like a person. Like you’re just another person that deserves something. They don’t look down on you. They don’t treat you different. They don’t talk to you like you’re a 5-year old kid. You don’t get that. People in our situations don’t get that.” 

Her entire family feels connected to the event. In fact, her oldest daughter decided to be a volunteer this year. “We’re hoping by next year, we won’t need the services, and then we can all come back and volunteer,” Carly says. “They’ve helped us, so we try to give back if we can.”  

Carly and her family are striving to be like the Camposes — Guests of Honor who went to their first event several years ago when they were having a tough time. The flyer they received highlighted free services that they needed.

“When I came to the Convoy of Hope event, and every five or six meters is one person, smiling and saying, ‘Welcome. You’ve been welcome. God bless you.’ Wow. This is what I needed,” said Roberto Campos. “I believe the people received me and this changed my life.” 

Since then, the entire Campos family has volunteered at their local Community Event for five consecutive years. Coming full circle from receiving to giving back — showing other Guests of Honor in their community the same level of dignity and respect they were shown. 

Since 1994, Convoy of Hope Community Events have served more than 2 million Guests of Honor around the United States — people like Carly and the Camposes — who simply need hope in a time of need. To learn more about Community Events, visit convoyofhope.org/events

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Community Outreach / Field Story / Inspiration / Join the Convoy / Volunteering
Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection, and hope. Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection, and hope.

Refugee in Bulgaria finds hope through Convoy

The Convoy of Hope team met Mustafa in the Harmanli refugee camp in Bulgaria in 2016. Mustafa fled his homeland in the Middle East because he was from a minority tribe who suffered from intense persecution. Mustafa was studying to become a doctor when he began to witness acts of genocide against those like him. With no other option, he chose to undertake the arduous route to Europe.

Mustafa had heard there were people who could help him on his journey and decided to contact them. These people assured him that he would reach Germany and be reunited with his wife in four days. After paying a large fee, Mustafa waited for their direction.

His first step was to ride in the trunk of a small vehicle along with nine other adults, hidden and crammed against each other. In the heat of the summer, and without being able to eat or drink for four days, Mustafa drew his strength from the thought of seeing his wife again.

Once the car reached the border, Mustafa was kidnapped by his own traffickers. They demanded an extra sum of money from his family back home before he could proceed in his journey. He was forced to spend seven days with 40 other men in a small room with no windows or light and one toilet. They weren’t given food or water during their ordeal and were forced to drink from the toilet to stay hydrated. Finally, his family paid the additional money, and Mustafa was set free.

Despite these incredible hardships, Mustafa was set on reaching Germany. He decided to continue his route through what he refers to as “the jungle,” which are actually the forests of Eastern Europe. Weak, starving, and cold, Mustafa was eventually caught and turned in to the police. After being beaten and held for two days, Mustafa was released.

Mustafa arrived at the refugee camp in Harmali, Bulgaria, and found the Oasis Center, where Convoy of Hope and its partners distribute food to refugees. For the first time in his personal nightmare, someone reached out in kindness. Mustafa now works alongside Convoy and our partners to distribute food and clothing to the rest of the refugees in the camp. He shared with us that he feels his hope has been restored.

***This story was originally reported in 2016. Three years later, with the support of Convoy’s partners in Bulgaria, Mustafa made it to Germany and was reunited with his wife. He has received asylum there. Some details, including his name, have been changed or generalized to protect Mustafa’s privacy.

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Advocacy / Field Story / Inspiration / News

Disruptive Compassion: Convoy of Hope CEO to release new book

Hal Donaldson, Convoy of Hope founder and CEO, is releasing his new book “Disruptive Compassion: Becoming The Revolutionary You Were Born To Be” on July 9, 2019. In “Disruptive Compassion,” Donaldson makes the bold claim that we possess the power to provoke real and meaningful change.

More than 25 years ago, Donaldson went on a journey to make a difference. What began as a personal quest led to starting Convoy of Hope, which has now served more than 115 million people.

With raw and inspiring stories from the world’s most desperate places and his own journey to find meaning, Donaldson takes readers on a tour along the frontlines of courage and compassion. He provides a crash course in what it takes to become a revolutionary and shows us how to evaluate the resources we already have, navigate real concerns and risks, and ultimately become equipped as agitators with purpose.

“Hopefully this book will help you discover what you were born to do and equip you to confront the status quo through disruptive compassion,” says Donaldson. “I know that ‘change the world’ sounds like a campaign slogan. We’ve heard it repeated until we no longer believe it’s achievable. In this book, ‘change the world’ denotes a direction rather than a destination. ‘Disruptive Compassion’ is your invitation to move beyond pity, helplessness and outrage. It’s your playbook for making a difference right where you are with what you have.”

Click here to preorder your copy.

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From the Founders / In the News / Inspiration / Join the Convoy
Head teacher Twati Mollel shows organic tomatoes growing in a greenhouse at his school near Arusha, Tanzania. Profit from the produce will feed students for years to come Head teacher Twati Mollel shows organic tomatoes growing in a greenhouse at his school near Arusha, Tanzania. Profit from the produce will feed students for years to come

10 tons of tomatoes grown in Tanzania increase sustainability

 

As the Tanzanian government increases its requirements for nonprofits, Convoy of Hope’s method of capacity building through nutrition programs has emerged as a leading model

For three days in December, high-ranking officials came from three government ministries to inspect Convoy of Hope’s programs. The delegation visited Ngaramtoni Primary School near Arusha, where Convoy has a feeding program.

What impressed the officials was the execution of Convoy’s plan in equipping the school to become self-sustaining, which enables the organization to move on and do the same with other schools.

Since Convoy entered Ngaramtoni in 2014, they’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.

The officials asked Convoy of Hope to expand into other schools, and they marveled at how the organization invests in building capacity in the community.
“Where have you been all along!?” exclaimed one government official.

In fact, Convoy has received accolades from district government in recent years, and its development work has been featured on the evening news. Recognition from the national government, however, is new.

Convoy of Hope leadership in Tanzania, was summoned to Tanzania’s capital two weeks after the visit to present and train government officials on Convoy of Hope’s innovative model. “This is the new standard to which we want to uphold other NGOs involved in school-based feeding programs,” said one government official.

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Agriculture / In the News / Inspiration / News / Program Updates

Four easy ways to be more prepared

Being prepared for a disaster is important, but oftentimes it can seem overwhelming. Insurance information is complicated, buying supplies for a full-fledged emergency kit can become expensive and frankly the thought of what would happen if you face a disaster can be mentally and emotionally draining. These are still important steps to take over time, but you can start small with these easy tips and become more prepared:

1. Download your local news station’s news or weather app.

If a disaster is on it’s way, you will want to know sooner rather than later. Your local news station should have an app that you can download. When you do, make sure to turn on push notifications. Doing so will mean you will get notified of important news and weather events like a disaster headed to your area.

2. Determine the safest part of your house (or your neighbors’).

If a disaster calls for evacuation, it’s important that you do so. However, if you are not told to evacuate, you should determine the safest part of your home. During most severe storms you want to be indoors, as low and as far from windows as possible — basements, first floor bathrooms, etc. If you live in an apartment building and do not live on the ground floor, consider making friends with those below you. In the case of a severe storm you may ask if you can take shelter with them.

3. Collect the basics

You can find a list for what to include in a full-fledged emergency kit at ready.gov and we encourage you to start collecting these items. However, it’s a long list and you may not be able to afford everything all in one shopping trip. So start with the basics:

  • Battery powered flashlight
  • External battery charger for your cell phone
  • Bottled water
  • Important family documents

4. Save both personal and professional emergency numbers in your phone. 

If a disaster does happen, it’s important to know who to call for help. Make sure you have these phone numbers saved in your phone:

  • Each member of your household
  • At least one out-of-town friend or family member that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
  • FEMA: 800-621-FEMA (3362)
  • Emergency services — Police and Fire Department
  • Utilities
  • Medical providers
  • Veterinarians
  • Insurance companies

Always remember that if you have a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. You should also mark at least one friend or family member as “ICE” in your phone’s contacts, which stands for In Case of Emergency.  This will help emergency responders know who to contact on your behalf if there is a need.

You can learn more about how Convoy of Hope prepares for and responds to disasters in the video below and at convoyofhope.org/ds.

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Inspiration