State: Missouri

Celebrating World Food Day

It’s World Food Day! Thanks to your support, Convoy of Hope is bringing hope to millions as part of our driving passion to feed the world. This includes feeding more than 300,000 kids through our Children’s Feeding program and providing more than 125 million meals to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our original goal was to provide 10 million meals to Americans hit hardest by the coronavirus. But because of the incredible support of Convoy of Hope’s friends, we surpassed that goal — by a lot.

Yes, World Food Day for Convoy of Hope is about feeding as many kids as we possibly can, but our heart still lies with each individual kid. The numbers are great, but when kids like Rachel in El Salvador hold a plate of hot food, it reminds us of the potential within every child we feed. A massive smile on her face, Rachel knows the power of a good meal. “The food that we get here benefits us all a lot,” she said. “Because some of us that come here haven’t had lunch and we know that we can have lunch here. And that’s good for all of us.”

Hunger is very real for many kids in the U.S., and COVID-19 and it’s economic effects have compounded the severity of their situation. Convoy of Hope has filled more than 2,800 requests from partners in the U.S. who have been distributing food to kids and their families.

According to the Global Nutrition Report, approximately half of all deaths of children under 5 can be linked to undernutrition. These deaths primarily occur in low-income and middle-income countries. Today, as we celebrate World Food Day, let’s take a minute to be grateful for what we have and refresh our commitment to feeding those in need. Together, we are feeding the world and — day by day — it’s becoming a better place.

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In the News

Convoy Distributes Food & Other Supplies Worldwide

Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated much of the British Virgin Islands in 2017. Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services quickly deployed teams and sent emergency food, water, and supplies to survivors. Because of the devastation to the country’s infrastructure, the most effective way to help families was to charter a massive ship outfitted with hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water, 3 million meals, and tons of relief supplies.

How we get food, water, and relief supplies to their final destinations can vary for each of our programs: 

  • For Community Events and Rural Compassion Initiative, we transport relief almost always via trucks. Our fleet of semis and tractor-trailers does the majority of the hauling, though we occasionally contract the work out if a response is particularly demanding.
  • For our international initiatives — Children’s Feeding, Agriculture, and Women’s Empowerment — distribution is as unique as the countries they arrive in. Planes, barges, boats, trucks, and cars can all play a part in getting food, water, and other supplies to the more than 1,300 communities we work in throughout 18 countries.
  • Disaster Services can fall into either category. If a disaster occurs in the U.S., supplies usually arrive by truck. If it is an international disaster, they can arrive in a variety of ways, including by boat! Oftentimes, supplies are purchased within the country itself or in a neighboring country to expedite the process. (It can take weeks for a container to ship from the U.S.)

Since 1994, we’ve used donkeys, tractor-trailers, airplanes, forklifts, skidsteers, boats, and good old-fashioned humanpower to deliver relief to some of the hardest-to-reach places on earth. We’re not afraid to go to great and creative lengths to make sure the hungry are fed.

 

During Convoy of Hope’s response to hurricanes Maria and Irma, the opportunity to do something big — really big — appeared on the horizon. Convoy of Hope chartered the Roger White, a 300-foot shipping vessel, to bring $2 million worth of food, water, and relief supplies to the islands’ residents.

 

In response to an earthquake that struck Japan, Convoy of Hope shipped containers of food and other resources to the island.

 

Convoy of Hope, in partnership with another organization, airdrops food to survivors who would otherwise go hungry.

 

As wildfires rage across the Great Plains, one Missouri farmer makes a unique donation of hay for farmers who need to feed their cattle. “It’s your whole livelihood when you farm,” he says. “I can’t think about what they’re going through. What I’m doing is just a small part.”

 

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Convoy of Hope’s Supply Chain Delivers Help and Hope

There are many moving parts required for a successful disaster response. Some of those are familiar: the tractor-trailers with Convoy of Hope’s logo on the side, the friendly faces of the people passing out supplies, the people standing in front of a camera to deliver news about what we are doing around the world. But there are many others who work behind the scenes, such as Convoy of Hope’s Supply Chain team. 

“Some people want to be the one that’s actually out front passing out the water. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s needed,” Erick Meiers, Vice President of Supply Chain, states. “But if you’re on this side of the Supply Chain, you’ve got to be comfortable with pulling that product, counting that product, loading that product, and doing it again.” 

Supply Chain is responsible for sourcing, transporting, and delivering products to those in need. Erick usually stays out of the limelight. For him, applying his talents behind the scenes to help others is a calling that might as well be tailor made. 

Without people like Erick and the Supply Chain team, Convoy of Hope couldn’t have helped those affected by COVID-19. Erick’s team procured, stored, and distributed record-breaking quantities of product in 2020, and he encouraged his team to take heart despite the precarious circumstances. Although staying home and putting their work on pause was not an option, Erick saw this time as a chance for his team to face the challenge head on while maintaining a smart, safe approach to their work. 

“We knew from the very beginning that it wasn’t time to lay down. And we have a team that, when they’re asked to perform, they do. In the very beginning we said, ‘Alright, let’s be smart. Let’s be eating lunches by ourselves. When you’re talking to somebody, talk to them, but let’s use good precautionary measures because all of us need to stay healthy.’ That was a critical piece,” Erick explains. 

Erick stated that he is particularly excited for Convoy of Hope to complete our new distribution center, where the Supply Chain team can store even more product and expand our capacity to help others. 

Thanks to people like Erick Meier and the Supply Chain team working behind the scenes, Convoy of Hope is able to continue providing help and hope to those in need. 

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In the midst of COVID-19, Volunteers are vital

In a world where everything feels unpredictable, Convoy of Hope has been overwhelmed with the commitment of our volunteers, who work behind the scenes and help us complete hundreds of projects. Volunteering looks different right now (everyone is in masks and socially distanced), but 50 to 100 volunteers still regularly show up at Convoy of Hope’s World Distribution Center every Tuesday night to give their time at Hands of Hope. 

Thanks to the hundreds of Hands of Hope volunteers in Springfield, Missouri — the hometown of Convoy of Hope’s headquarters — we’ve been able to complete projects that help all our program areas. Just recently, Hands of Hope volunteers unloaded an entire tractor-trailer by hand, repalletized more than 2,000 cases of drinks that shifted during transit, quality-control checked and palletized 1,200 hygiene and 97 baby care kits, and readied more than 18,000 protein shakes. 

That’s a lot of product that is now ready to go out from our distribution center and into the hands of those who need it. And it’s just one example of one night of volunteering! 

Before COVID-19, we would have twice as many volunteers come to a Hands of Hope event. However, to keep our volunteers and staff safe, we’ve limited the number of volunteers who can participate each week. Numbers may have changed, but the work and the dedication of our volunteers hasn’t.

Thank you to all our volunteers serving with us during this difficult season. We could not do the work we do each and every day without your time and support.

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