Browsing Category: Volunteering

Volunteering with Convoy of Hope

Volunteers are at the heart of everything Convoy of Hope does. From bagging groceries for Community Events around the country to removing debris after a devastating storm, Convoy of Hope volunteers walk hand in hand with us to help those in need.

We asked a few of our wonderful volunteers to share why they’re passionate about bringing help and hope to impoverished, hungry, and hurting people around the world.

Linda McCalister, a Convoy of Hope volunteer, has served as a community event lead volunteer for two years, volunteers at Hands of Hope, and serves with Convoy:Women. When asked why she would encourage someone to volunteer with Convoy, she says, “You will make some new friends, learn new things, and join an organization that opens the door to hope for thousands — if not millions — of people. It will change your life.”

COMMUNITY EVENTS

At Convoy of Hope Community Events, guests receive free groceries, health screenings, haircuts, career services, and much more. Linda recalls a story from one event of a mother and her young daughter who had walked two miles to a local Community Event so they could receive shoes.

“All she had to wear were plastic shoes that wore blisters on her feet to the point she could not even try on the [new] shoes. The volunteer found the right shoes for the little girl and bandaged her blisters. Then they connected her with someone who gave them a ride home! Something so small that meant so much.”

In 2018, Communities Events served more than 96,000 Guests of Honor at 62 community events in 48 cities. These events would not have been possible without the nearly 28,000 volunteers who partners with Convoy of Hope.

HANDS OF HOPE

On Tuesday nights, Convoy of Hope opens the doors of our World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri, and welcomes volunteers in for a weekly volunteer opportunity called Hands of Hope. Volunteers help sort, pack, count, and label items that are distributed throughout the world.

“It’s a great opportunity to serve and provide others in the local community and around the world with the essential items they might not have been able to get,” says Connor Louthan, a lead Hands of Hope volunteer.

In 2018, Hands of Hope partnered with more than 5,500 volunteers who invested more than 12,500 hours during the year.

FIELD TEAMS

Gerald Norz, another Convoy of Hope volunteer, has served on multiple Field Teams during the past five years. He loves working with partners in the field, saying one of his most memorable experiences volunteering with Convoy is, “seeing the children waving as we arrived at the site in Tanzania … such a great welcome and such warm smiles.”

Eighty-two Field Teams — comprised of more than 1,000 volunteers — served in 11 countries around the world in 2018. These teams serve people through projects and interaction connected to Convoy’s Children’s Feeding and Agriculture programs.

***

Community Events, Field Teams, and Hands of Hope are just three of several volunteer opportunities with Convoy of Hope. Whether it’s driving a Convoy of Hope truck, answering phones, or deploying with our Disaster Services team, every volunteer makes a difference in a person’s life through the service they provide. In 2018, we had more than 57,000 volunteers serve domestically and internationally. We are so thankful for each person who serves with their heart and their time! Visit convoyofhope.org/volunteer to learn more about how you can volunteer at Convoy of Hope.

 

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Community Outreach / Join the Convoy / Volunteering

Volunteer of the Year 2017

Becky Stegner was awarded a Convoy of Hope Key Award as Volunteer of the Year for 2017. Stegner has been a Lead Volunteer with Convoy for more than eight years.

Stegner has put in more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time at Hands of Hope, the weekly volunteer opportunity at Convoy’s World Distribution Center.

“Becky is one of those people who come along once in a great while,” Convoy of Hope Volunteer Engagement and Administration Director Lisa Nene says. “She is a dedicated volunteer who can take lead in any situation or project that is given to her.”

Before she was a lead volunteer, regularly attended Hands of Hope with her mother and sister. The family was looking for a good way to get together as a family after Stegner and her sister started college.

Now, Stegner spends her Tuesday nights leading other volunteers in bagging groceries for Community Events, filling bags of rice or pasta for Convoy’s Children’s Feeding Initiative and much more as the Hands of Hope projects change each week. Stegner even occasionally comes in on weekends to help with special projects outside of the normal Hands of Hope schedule.

Stegner says it’s the variety and the people she works with each week that keep her coming back.

“You’d get really burned out if it was the same old thing every week, if you didn’t have fun doing it, if you didn’t have friends that did it with you,” Stegner says.

Stegner encourages everyone grab a friend and come out to give Hands of Hope a try!

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Join the Convoy / Volunteering

Good vs. Great: Students supporting feedONE

feedONE Collegiate Coordinator Tom Trask and his wife, Missi, have served as the University of Missouri Chi Alpha Directors for 13 years. They have spent half of that time advocating for feedONE, by empowering their students in acts of compassion, generosity and kindness.

When the group took on feedONE as their philanthropy partner nearly six years ago, they wanted to find something that reached beyond their own campus.

GOOD VERSUS GREAT

“I want them to understand good versus great,” Trask says. “This is not something that is good—it’s something that is great.”

In their first year as a feedONE partner, the University of Missouri Chi Alpha chapter raised a little more than $1,400. This past November, the students raised more than $40,000 during their annual feedONE month.

The students participated in creative and competitive fundraising as a way to raise support for children in the feedONE program. One small group set up a car bash, while other students held bake sales, threw special dinners, played in dodgeball tournaments and performed music.

In March, a group of students volunteered at the Convoy of Hope World Distribution Center, bagging hygiene kits and more than 5,000 meals.

“The difference it has made in the heart of our students — when they see a need, they step up,” Trask says.

FEEDING THE FUTURE 

Tom and Missi continue to instill a passion for feedONE and encourage a life of compassion for students on the University of Missouri campus. They are not only changing the lives of the children in feedONE, but also the lives of students and future leaders.

As they continue to make an impact at the University of Missouri, Tom and Missi look forward to other universities and schools partnering with feedONE.

“Just to watch the compassion grow, it’s contagious,” Trask says. “It’s contagious to inspire each other to greater things.”

feedONE and Convoy of Hope are proud to partner with students and leaders, like Tom and Missi, who actively demonstrate their compassion and kindness for children across the world. Find out how to get involved on your campus today at feedone.com/campus.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Advocacy / Children's Feeding / Inspiration / Join the Convoy / Volunteering

IDF fills hygiene kits for Convoy of Hope

On Thursday, February 22, associates at International Dehydrated Foods left their offices and came together to create more than 1,000 hygiene kits for Convoy of Hope.

IDF associates lined tables in a conference room and created their own assembly lines to fill bags with hygiene items like soap, toothpaste and washcloths. Their goal was to fill more than 1,000 bags in an hour, but managed to reach their goal in less than 30 minutes.

“We had so much participation,” Erin Danastasio, IDF Corporate Communication Manager said. “I mean almost everybody in the corporate office was able to come down and help out for the little bit. I’m exstatic. I’m so pleased with the outcome.”

The hygiene kits created will go to help disaster survivors in their time of crisis. Having hygiene kits like these ready before disaster strikes, means they can be given to survivors right away.

 
COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Join the Convoy / Partner Spotlight / Volunteering

Hope comes to Watts

Just days before Convoy of Hope Los Angeles, very few believed it was actually going to happen. Residents of the Watts community have often been over promised and under delivered and skepticism ran rampant. Though in the face of adversity, hope came to Watts on December 2, 2017.

Hope arrives 

When the reality that this event was — in fact — going to happen hit, hope and excitement filled the community.

“I was driving down the street, on my way to Convoy and these big, monster Convoy of Hope trucks drove right by me,” said Julian Toriz, LA native and Kids Zone Leader for the event. “I’m like ‘oh my goodness!’ Rolling deep, 3 big trucks — boom, boom, boom. I got out my camera. I’m trying to drive and I’m like ‘I got to document this’.”

More than 8,400 Guests of Honor attended the event that day. They received free groceries, shoes, haircuts, and health services. The local team that worked with Convoy of Hope to make the event a reality was amazed at the impact on the community.

Overcoming challenges

The Watts neighborhood of South Central LA is an area of high poverty and crime. The 2010 census revealed that 35.9% of South Central LA live below the poverty line — more than double the U.S. rate of 14.1%. Watts is home to 13 known gangs and four of the largest housing projects in all of LA – all in a two square mile area.

A large step for the Convoy of Hope team in making this event a reality was meeting with and getting the approval of the Watts Gang Task Force to establish a Day of Peace. According to Convoy of Hope Signature Events Director Steve Pulis, not only did this create an opportunity for the community to attend the event without fear of violence, but it established the event as a positive opportunity to help the community.

“When that group came on board and got behind it, we had more than their permission,” Pulis said. “We got the word out among not only gangs, but the entire community – this event is positive, it’s here to help and the gangs are good with it. It has everyone’s support.”

The event took place in Ted Watkins Memorial Park. This is a special place to Convoy of Hope as it was the site of the first Community Event in 1995, only a few years before the park was closed due to violence at a few large park events. The park was closed to large events for 20 years, until the Convoy of Hope event in 2017.

A day of miracles

Convoy of Hope’s Community Events are only possible through the support of volunteers from within the community and its surrounding areas. For most Community Events, the Convoy of Hope team aims to get between 1,200 and 2,000 volunteers. However, by the day of the Watts event there were only 400 volunteers registered and only 303 actually came.

Even with the low volunteer attendance, the event ran smoothly and every Guest of Honor was able to be served.

“It’s a miracle that we didn’t have any issues,” Pulis said. “People can complain anywhere. You can get in too long of a line at the check out of any store and you’re gonna have someone upset. Nothing here.”

Local team member and long-time Watts resident Cornell Ward referenced the biblical story of The Feeding of the 5,000 — in which Jesus feeds 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish — and said “I know what it feels like.”

Hope continues

Convoy of Hope is grateful for the opportunity to bring some hope to South Central LA, but the work is not done yet. Convoy of Hope has already planned to return to LA for another Community Event on December 1, 2018.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Community Outreach / Field Story / Volunteering