Browsing Category: Program Updates

How to make a soda bottle hanging basket

Each year, Convoy of Hope hands out thousands Gardens in a Bag at Community Events across the U.S. Each Garden in a Bag includes Baker Creek seeds, helpful tips and endless possibilities for Guests of Honor to start growing their own food, regardless the amount of land they have.

One way to start growing vegetables in a small space and on a small budget is vertical wall planting. Learn how to make a hanging basket out of a two-liter soda bottle below!

What you’ll need:

  • two-liter soda bottle
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Scissors
  • String

Step 1:

Cut around the body of the soda bottle until it is in two parts. Poke 2-4 holes in the bottom of the bottle for drainage and poke two holes in the sides to tie string to.

Step 2:

Fill the bottom half of the bottle with potting soil.

Step 3:

With your finger, dig a small hole in the soil. Place 2-5 seeds in the hole and then fill in the hole, overing the seeds with soil.

  • Helpful Tip: Planting multiple seeds in one spot, helps maximize the chance of sprouting.

Step 4:

Cut a long piece of string and tie each end to the holes that were cut in the side of the bottle.

Step 5: 

Hang up your new hanging basket where it will get plenty of sunlight. Make sure to read the instructions on the back of the seed packet to know how much sun and water the plant will need.

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Agriculture / Community Outreach

Home is where the hope is

Keys for first completely rebuilt home in Puerto Rico presented to homeowner.

Joany has lived through many hurricanes, but Maria was one of the worst — destroying many homes in the Puerto Rican village of Villa Esperanza, including Joany’s. From a friend’s home in another village, Joany could see everything being blown away at home.

“It was a really crazy experience, because coming back and not having anything and seeing everything destroyed, you feel like you have nothing else to hold onto,” Joany says.

Convoy of Hope arrived in Puerto Rico just days after Hurricane Maria struck the island and began distributing relief supplies to families in need. As the response transitioned from meeting immediate needs to longterm relief, Convoy began helping repair and rebuild homes destroyed by the storm.

Groups from all over the U.S. came to Puerto Rico in partnership with Convoy as Field Teams. The teams helped in the rebuilding houses around Villa Esperanza — from laying the foundation to the final coat of paint.

Joany’s house was the first of many to be completed in that area. As the Convoy team handed Joany the keys to her new home she was overcome with happiness.

“I started to cry,” says Joany of the moment she received the keys to her new home. “But I was crying happy tears, because I have a house.”

The continued support of people like you makes these moments of hope possible. For Joany and many others in Puerto Rico, home is where the hope is.

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Disaster Services / Field Story

World Refugee Day

As conflict and famine develop in a country, a new normal arises — violence escalates, crops and herds are destroyed and women and children are at the mercy of traffickers — forcing families to move, leaving everything they’ve known behind. Convoy of Hope steps in to offer these refugee families hope through education, emotional support, food, clothing and other important relief necessities.

Hope in Lebanon

In Lebanon, Convoy of Hope currently feeds more than a 1,000 refugee children in urban areas and encampments. Mehar and her family, who escaped to Lebanon from Syria, were often forced to beg for food from their neighbors. Now she receives a meal every school day through Convoy’s nutrition program, relieving financial pressures on her family and encouraging her continued education.

We also restore livelihoods through Women’s Empowerment programming, helping mothers to start their own businesses for a source of income. Doing so allows their children to attend school rather than having to earn money to supplement household expenses.

Hope in Uganda

In Uganda, Convoy of Hope has stepped in with programs reconciling women to their dignity by restoring access to food and clean water, hygiene kits and trauma care. Rose is one of more than 1 million South Sudanese refugees currently in Uganda. She struggled with chronic malnutrition, but after participating in Convoy’s nutrition program for pregnant and lactating women, her health has improved. Along with a therapeutic food supplement, she received training in nutrition, hygiene, and gardening. Rose cites the lack of information as a main reason why so many women are malnourished.

Hope in the Middle East and Europe

In the Middle East and Europe, Convoy of Hope is assessing a priority of needs among refugees and internally displaced families as conflicts escalate. In 2017, Convoy was able to serve thousands of displaced people in areas like Afghanistan, Jordan, Spain and Moldova through relief items like clothing, hygiene kits and winter weather kits.

We applaud the resilience of refugee women and children who, with your help, are re-stabilizing their households, redeeming their childhoods and resuming their lives from within their new normal. On this World Refugee Day, join us in supporting displaced families around the world at

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Advocacy / Children's Feeding

New shoes bring new hope

Just days before a shipment of new shoes would arrive in Sarcoxie, MO., a young boy ran up to Megan, the Children’s Pastor of a local church. The boy had been playing outside with his friends, but the soles of his only pair of shoes were worn down to nothing and holes were allowing rocks to get in as he played. Having been sized for shoes weeks earlier, he excitedly asked the woman when the new shoes would arrive.

This kind of story is reality for many kids living in Rural America today. Many can’t afford new shoes so they are stuck with old hand-me-downs, shoes that are too small or worn down shoes riddled with holes. The young Sarcoxie boy was lucky to have a caring community to help him. After assuring the boy that new shoes would soon arrive, Megan ran home and grabbed a pair of her son’s old shoes that the boy could wear in the interim.

As pastors of First Baptist Church Sarcoxie, Megan and her husband Scott saw this kind of need in their community and reached out to their partners in Convoy of Hope’s Rural Compassion program to provide a new pair of shoes to every child in their local Elementary School. This meant that not only did the kids in need of a new pair of shoes receive them, but they did not have to worry about being singled out as different from their friends.

“A lot of my students were excited that they had the same exact shoe their friends had,” said fourth grade teacher Kim Hill after the distribution. “For a lot of my students, they don’t have that name-brand shoe. This gives those kids an opportunity to have those shoes that their friends have.”

Whether it’s raising self-esteem or making sure they have a solid pair of shoes to run around in, a new pair of shoes makes a powerful impact on the life of a child in need.

Learn more about how Rural Compassion is making an impact on rural America at

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Rural Compassion