In partnership with Convoy of Hope, The Journey has distributed more than 200,000 pounds of food this year to those impacted by COVID-19 in Delaware alone. Steve Miller, a pastor at the church who oversees the Code Red community assistance program, noticed that the start of the pandemic highlighted and exacerbated the issue of domestic food insecurity. “I think so many times it’s easy to think that those types of circumstances exist overseas — and they do — but they also exist right in our backyards,” he said.
As the pandemic worsened, Steve and his team began to notice other prominent issues in their community. The rates of addiction, suicide, and overdoses skyrocketed as people remained isolated in their homes. By Steve’s estimates, there were 285 peer support groups meeting regularly before the pandemic. Today, less than one tenth of them remain open.
“One of our other concerns during this time of COVID-19 is the mental health and recovery resources that are available for people,” Steve said. “So that’s a huge concern of ours as well. We have about a half a dozen environments that we’ve created on a weekly or biweekly basis where people can come and seek counseling and peer support to help them get through the recovery process and hopefully set on a path toward greater things in their life.”
Food distributions made possible by Convoy of Hope helped recipients take the next step toward recovery and mental wellness. Some signed up for the recovery and support groups with their newly acquired groceries still in hand. The groceries helped meet guests’ immediate needs, but the event itself gave them hope for the future.
“Hope buys another day. Hope buys another week,” Steve said. “And if that hope comes through a package of food, or if that hope comes from being surrounded by other people that are on the same path and are trying to overcome similar circumstances and just knowing that you’re not in it alone, that’s where we want to be.”
You won’t find a partridge in a pear tree, or 5 golden rings in the Convoy of Hope World Distribution Center, but you could find plenty of hope to fill more than just 12 days.
In celebration of everyone’s favorite Christmas song, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” we at Convoy of Hope are making our own version of the classic tune. For the next 12 days, we’ll be highlighting photos of special moments in a few of Convoy of Hope’s different programs. Feel free to sing along!
On the first day of Christmas… this boy picked one melon from the field he and his family planted using the knowledge they received from Convoy of Hope’s Agriculture initiative. Learn more about how we train families here.
On the second day of Christmas … this volunteer handed out two hygiene kits and bags of groceries to a family in a drive-thru distribution line. Our Disaster Services, Community Events, and Rural Compassion Initiative teams all changed gears in 2020 to focus on our COVID-19 response. Learn more about our response here.
On the third day of Christmas … three response vehicles deployed to a disaster zone. In addition to distributing meals as part of our “150 Million Meals & Counting” campaign, our Disaster Services team responded to a record number of natural disasters in 2020. Learn more here.
On the fourth day of Christmas … four students enjoyed the fruits (or in this case, vegetables) of their labor. These teens received Convoy of Hope agriculture training at their school and are learning how to grow healthy, sustainable crops. Learn more about our Agriculture initiative Learn more here.
On the fifth day of Christmas … a family received (everyone together now) five bags of groceries! A Convoy of Hope Community Event is all about making sure our Guests of Honor feel loved, seen, and cared for. Learn more about our Community Events here.
(This photo was taken before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
On the sixth day of Christmas … six lives were changed because of Women’s Empowerment. Strong, healthy women are at the core of strong, healthy communities. That’s why Convoy of Hope encourages them to realize their value and reach their potential through job training and education. Learn more at convoyofhope.org/women.
On the seventh day of Christmas … seven volunteers greet Guests of Honor as they arrive at a Community Event. None of our Commuity Events would be successful without the passion, love, and dedication of our amazing volunteers. Learn more at convoyofhope.org/ce.
(This photo was taken before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
On the eighth day of Christmas … eight bowls of food were eaten by eight happy kids. Many times, the meals a child receives in school from Convoy of Hope are the only they eat all day. Learn how you can make a difference through feedONE at feedone.com.
On the ninth day of Christmas … nine dedicated team members in Nicaragua help in our response to COVID-19. Our international staff has worked tirelessly to make sure the communities we serve are cared for during the pandemic. Learn more about our program countries at convoyofhope.org/about/where-we-work.
On the tenth day of Christmas … ten caring mothers stay strong in the midst of disaster. This year, the Philippines have been bombarded with typhoons. Convoy of Hope is standing by the mothers in our Women’s Empworment program to make sure they have what they need to recover. You can find the most up-to-date news about our response at convoyofhope.org/news.
On the eleventh day of Christmas … eleven well-fed students begin their days at school. We believe that children are essential members of their communities who can, one day, bring positive change by breaking the cycles of poverty and hunger. Learn more at convoyofhope.org/cf.
On the twelfth day of Christmas … twelve empowered girls have the hygiene items they need to live healthy, independent lives. Our Girls’ Empowerment groups help young women just like these address their self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural beliefs and practices. Learn more at convoyofhope.org/we.
People all over the world rallied around Convoy of Hope yesterday for Giving Tuesday. Because of their generosity, we can keep serving people with experiences like these:
“COVID-19 knocked us down. I’m an essential worker, a CNA. This is awesome! Anything right now will help.” —Anonymous, served at a Community Event
“Thank you to the people who make it possible that this food comes to our table and
help me grow and develop eating delicious food!” —Alejandro, a child in our Children’s Feeding program
“I use a lot of the services, but Convoy [of Hope], it’s 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.” —Carly, served at a Community Event
“I am happy because I know now that I am able. Now, instead of me begging to people for help, people come to me.” —Julie, enrolled in Women’s Empowerment
“I just wanted to share with you guys how important what you’re doing out here is. You’re saving lives out here. You’re giving opportunities for people out in the community who don’t have the financial means to be able to do things like that.” —Mandy, served at a Community Event
“This is the new standard to which we want to uphold other NGOs involved in school-based feeding programs.” —Tanzanian Government official, about Children’s Feeding
“Before, I would beg even for clothes to put on my children. Now, I buy them good clothes.” —Selam, enrolled in Women’s Empowerment
“As a parent, it is nice because your kids are happier that they have the things they need to start the year off with.” —Denice, served at a Community Event
The generosity of others enables us to help those in need. Yesterday was proof that we can accomplish so much more together than we ever could alone.
As the holiday season approaches, many families are looking forward to it eagerly. For others, however, the holidays are particularly difficult. The holiday seasons of more conventional years presented their own set of challenges, but the health and financial issues impacting many communities this year threaten to make the next few months extraordinarily challenging. Convoy of Hope’s Hope for the Holidays events were created to help combat these challenges.
“Convoy of Hope’s Hope for the Holidays events were planned to bring hope and help to families in need,” explained Dianna Mulheron of Convoy of Hope’s Community Events team. “2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges: illness, loss of wages, and uncertainty of the future. For families who are struggling, the holidays can be very stressful. The goal is to relieve some of that stress by providing groceries and other goods so families can relax and enjoy one another.”
These strategic events follow a drive-thru distribution model to help keep volunteers and Guests of Honor safe. These distribution sites are equipped with groceries, socks, and in some cases, even turkeys. The events will take place in 10 major cities across the United States and will primarily be hosted by local church campuses.
“Seeing guests being welcomed and supported without judgement or expectation is the heart behind what we do,” Dianna concluded. “Knowing that Convoy of Hope can provide resources that enables this brings us great joy during this holiday season.”