Country: USA

Baskets of Hope

Spreading hope in a community can seem like a daunting task, but as Hope Church in Caledonia, MO. learned, all you need to do is show a little love and compassion.

After attending a Rural Compassion training with Convoy of Hope, Pastor Dale Stringer began serving his community through treat baskets. With some snacks provided by Convoy of Hope, Stinger and his church began filling baskets with treats and taking them to areas of their community. They brought baskets to the local school, fire department, police station, city hall, pregnancy resource center and even business owners in town.

As they continued to deliver baskets around town, they began to run out of the supplies provided by Convoy. However, the church was so excited about serving their community that instead of waiting for another delivery from Convoy they began buying snacks on their own to put into the baskets.

“We really had so much fun going around handing stuff out and blessing people,” Stringer says.

Soon people all over Caledonia knew Stringer and his church members. They looked forward to the basket deliveries. One business owner even began referring to Stringer as “Mr. Hope”.

 

Opportunities for Hope

As the group continued to serve their community, they saw new ways to spread hope. A few people noticed some community members had trouble getting into a local restaurant, as it didn’t have a wheelchair accessible ramp. So they went back to Hope Church and the congregation raised the funds to build the ramp. Church members also went and personally poured the new concrete ramp at the restaurant.

The community of Caledonia now knows that the people at Hope Church are people they can rely on.

“The basket ministry launched us into this civic duty. The town comes to us for help and knows they can depend on us,” Stringer says.

It doesn’t take much to bring hope to your community. In the words of Pastor Stinger, “a lot of it is just showing love and compassion”.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Rural Compassion

Growing Hope: Agricultural research in partnership with Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope is partnering with Missouri State University agriculture master’s student Jordan Gott to research best practices in growing crops common for the participants in Convoy’s Agriculture Initiative.

Gott’s research centers around the timing of planting corn and lablab — a kind of bean native to Africa. Does planting them at the same time cause competition or do they help each other? Is it better to plant them at the same time or weeks apart? This information will help inform Convoy agronomists on the best way to train and educate farmers in our initiative.

From Missouri to Tanzania

The research began in a greenhouse on the MSU campus, but is now being field tested in Tanzania. With the help of Convoy of Hope staff and the ECHO global seed bank, Gott is growing and monitoring her crops in Arusha, Tanzania.

Gott had to consider some cultural and environmental differences when moving her research from Springfield, MO to Tanzania. There are differences in soil types and irrigation practices. She also had to consider cultural practices, as farmers in Tanzania always plant their corn first.

While she is working to help farmers in Tanzania, Gott is also excited to learn from them.

“I’m excited to go to Tanzania — be in the culture, meet the people and see how they do things,” Gott says. “I’m excited to keep on learning new stuff.”

Follow us for updates on Gott’s work in Tanzania.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Agriculture

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

Recovering from Harvey: The Mouton’s Story

On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast. Within hours of storm making landfall, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team was on the ground distributing emergency supplies like food, water and hygiene items to survivors.

In an unprecedented manner, the storm lingered over Texas dropping trillions of gallons of water. According to officials with the state of Texas, around 800,000 homes were affected.

In the months following the hurricane, Convoy of Hope led volunteer teams in debris removal operations for homes that had been flooded. Currently, Convoy of Hope has transitioned into delivering building supplies to churches and long-term recovery groups. These organizations then distribute the supplies to affected families.

Jessie Mouton

One family affected by the storm was Jessie Mouton’s. Jessie, her husband and their two young sons — ages five and 18 months — live in Winnie, Texas. They had been in their new home less than a year before Hurricane Harvey hit.

“New baby, new house, flood — that was the timeline” Mouton says.

The family left their home on August 26, as they evacuated from the storm. Little did they know, they would not be able move back in until December 8.

The Mouton’s home flooded with more than 12 inches of water, forcing them to remove all of the drywall in their home. They estimate they lost about 75% of their belongings —including furniture, appliances and pictures.

While their home was being restored, the Mouton’s alternated between staying with family members, in a hotel and in a camper.

Mouton describes this process as being very confusing for her five-year-old son. She remembers him being very sad the first time he saw their home, saying it was “broken”. She agreed it was broken, but promised him they would put it back together.

With the help of their local church, the Mouton’s were able to receive the drywall they needed from Convoy of Hope. Mouton describes receiving the drywall as very “unexpected and overwhelming”.

As things are starting to get back to normal for the Mouton family, they recognize there is still work to do, saying they’re “all in until it’s all done”.

Learn more about Convoy of Hope’s response to Hurricane Harvey here!

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
Disaster Services / Field Story

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