Country: USA

Rural Compassion combats poverty

Imagine being 12 years old, waking up early for school because you have to walk to get there. You squeeze into a pair of shoes that once fit, when you originally got them, but are now too tight. There’s a hole in one sole and a tear on the other, but they’re all you have and your family can’t afford a new pair. This is a real situation for too many kids living in rural America today.

In 2016, 15.8 percent of people living in Rural America were living in poverty. That is three percent more than the national average of 12.7. This high poverty rate is underlined with a greater lack of resources. For most living in rural areas, the closest career center or food bank may be hours away depending on how close the nearest metro area is. Many of those in need also do not have access to a car, making those resources even harder to get to.

With a lack of resources in smaller towns, many look to churches as community centers. Convoy of Hope’s Rural Compassion Initiative resources and partners with rural churches. Through training, mentoring and coaching, Convoy helps churches strengthen their communities. We do this through partnerships with community stakeholders, shoe and backpack distributions in schools and feeding programs.

If you have a heart for rural America, one of the best ways to help is to spread the word. When many think of high-poverty areas, they don’t picture “small town America.” Changing this preconception and helping inform others is big step a toward helping working poor families in need.

You can also donate to support Rural Compassion here.

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Join The Convoy / Program Updates / Rural Compassion

The Anatomy of a Disaster Response

The forecast calls for a storm — It could be anything from a hurricane to a tornado or even floods. But the type of disaster doesn’t matter, because the Convoy of Hope team is prepared to jump into action no matter the situation.

What happens behind-the-scenes in Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services department? All year long, no matter the season, our staff and lead volunteers are constantly training and preparing for the next response.

Of course, there are disasters that catch all of us off guard — like earthquakes or tsunamis — but more often than not, disasters are weather-related in some way and that means we can see them coming, so to speak.

It all starts in the COHOC

Whether it’s a hurricane forming offshore, severe weather and tornadoes being forecasted or extensive rainfall leading to flooding, these types of disasters put our team into motion before they even occur. When the probability of weather-related events start increasing, we activate the Convoy of Hope Operations Center or the “COHOC” as we call it. While the COHOC exists within the walls of our World Headquarters in Springfield, Mo., technology today now allows us to have a virtual COHOC wherever we go.

Once activated, we are scouring multiple sources of data to mine out the latest intel to help us shape our potential response. At the same time, we are readying the appropriate trucks, supplies, equipment and personnel to respond,  should the situation escalate.

When we hit the road

If a response is warranted, we hit the road. The COHOC continues to provide support to the team while en route by providing the latest intel on the situation and identifying potential landing spots.

Once the deployment team is in full response mode in the field, support continues from the COHOC by seeking out the latest intel, but also by communicating with other parts of the organization to provide two-way communications to and from the field. It is important for the COHOC to act as the central hub of communication for the overall response.

In addition to the COHOC, we have a Mobile Operations Center and once deployed, it acts as our base for field operations. The Mobile Operations Center and the COHOC stay in constant contact for the duration of the response through cellular and satellite communication devices.

Cleaning and Debriefing

Once the response comes to an end and the team returns home, there is a plethora of tasks including cleaning and maintenance of equipment and even debriefing to refine our processes for the next response. Once all the work is done and things are back in place, we’re ready to do it all over again.

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Disaster Services / Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Bringing hope in the darkest hour

Growing up in Portugal from the age of six through high school, Chris Dudley has truly lived an international life. After high school, Chris lived in many places like Minnesota, Florida, Brussels and Denmark. Now, as Convoy of Hope’s Director of International Disaster Response, Chris continues to travel, preparing for and responding to disasters all over the world.

What brought you to Convoy of Hope?

The guy who started Convoy of Hope Europe had been a missionary in Portugal when I lived there. He has known me since I was six years old. So, he asked if I wanted to come and work with him.

How often do you travel?

About once a month. It depends on the year and what’s going on in the world. I go to all of our focus countries to help get prepositioned disaster relief supplies in-country, work with our staff to try to be prepared and then respond to disasters.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I get to eat all over the planet. I get to eat some of the strangest and grossest food at times, and some of the most delicious, amazing food at other times.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten?

There’s nothing like Lebanese food. Lebanese food is absolutely amazing.

What are some of the biggest disasters you have been responded to? 

Haiti was the first really big one that I was a part of and I wasn’t even really on the disaster team at that point. I was still in Europe. So, I came over to represent the Europe office. And then, probably next to that, would be Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which was a monster of a storm. I spent A LOT of time in the Philippines after that. I thought about becoming a citizen because it just would’ve made my life easier, going in and out of the airport in Manila.

What do people not realize about disaster response?

People, I think, watch TV and they see very sensational images that kind of pull at their heart strings, which it should. But, I think people who have never lived through a disaster don’t understand the depth of how it impacts an individual. Disaster can have a lifetime effect on people. So by us going in and helping people in sort of their darkest hour, for me, is really fulfilling.

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Staff Spotlight

5 ways you can make the world a better place in 2018

Anyone can change the world! All you need is a desire to help those in need. Below, we’ve outlined five ways you can start making the world a better place today. This year, start your journey to change the world and make it a better, more hopeful place to live.

1. Serve your community

Whether you live in the big city or a small town, there is need in your community. In every community, there are kids who need new shoes, families without enough to eat and people with declining health. Many of these needs go unseen, as those with them may keep it to themselves. So, how can you help? Contact your local chamber of commerce to learn how you can get involved with organizations serving needs in your community. You can also check out our events calendar to find a Convoy of Hope Community Event in your area at

2. Volunteer with a national/international organization

Many national and international organizations offer various ways to volunteer. When you go to your favorite charity’s website, there will often be a page titled “volunteer” or “Get involved” that will outline how and where you can go to help. With Convoy of Hope, there are opportunities to volunteer with our Community Events and disaster responses all over the U.S. We also offer opportunities to volunteer at our World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri, every Tuesday night.

3. Donate to support a cause you care about

Whatever you’re passionate about, there is probably a cause that helps those in need. At Convoy, we offer opportunities to support Women’s Empowerment, Children’s Feeding, the impoverished in rural America and even agricultural training to farmers in developing countries. Do some research about organizations that work in a field you care about. Supporting a cause doesn’t have to break the bank. Every donation — no matter how large or small — can make a huge difference. Through Convoy of Hope, just $10 can feed a child in need for an entire month.

4. Support brands that give back

When you go to the store, how do you choose which brands to buy — taste, price or packaging? Try thinking about how charitable they are. Convoy of Hope has great partners that are helping us spread hope and by supporting them, you can help support us! Brands like Plum Organics, Home Depot and Hormel Foods are just a few that help us give back to those in need. You can learn how your favorite brands give back on their websites.

5. Be an advocate

When you find an organization or cause you really care about, talk about it! Tweet it, share it and ‘gram it! Spread the word with your friends and families to help raise awareness and support your favorite organizations. We love to see supporters talk about us and share our posts. You can follow Convoy of Hope on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ConvoyofHope.

Let’s make 2018 the most hopeful year yet!

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Advocacy / Join The Convoy / Volunteering

An Open Letter to Our Generous Friends and Supporters


It’s been an incredibly busy year for not only Convoy of Hope, but the entire world. We just want to take the time to thank everyone who donated to help us in our mission to feed the world.

A very special thanks to those who donated and kept donating with each need that arose. It was a particularly busy year for disasters, as one after another affected different areas of the world in such a short period of time. But you, our supporters, were there to help —donating faithfully to help those who needed it most.

With your help, we were able to serve millions of people throughout the world! That hope was so critical to so many. Thank you for taking the time to help others and donating whatever you could to help. Thank you also to those who could not donate, but helped us spread our message of hope. Every gift and act of kindness makes a difference!

We appreciate your partnership and hope you will join us to serve even more people in 2018.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Convoy of Hope

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Inspiration / Join The Convoy