Tag: Community Events

Santa Fe Community Event Delivers Relief

A husband came through the drive-thru distribution in Santa Fe while his wife, a first responder, was on duty. He mentioned how nervous he was for her every time she went to work. 

Another mother picked up her groceries. While talking with a volunteer, she shared that she had been feeling completely hopeless and had resorted to drinking to abate the feeling. “Thank you for being here,” she said. “You have no idea how much I needed this today”

Story after story like these came out of our recent Community Event in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Car after car passed through to pick up groceries and relief supplies. And, since pandemics affect everyone, those cars ranged from the rusted-through to the fully-loaded. Convoy of Hope served them all. We believe that everyone we serve should be treated with dignity and respect.

Like each of the Community Events we’ve held in 2020, the one in Santa Fe was structured as a drive-through point of distribution (POD) to keep contact between volunteers and our Guests of Honor at a minimum during the pandemic. It is important to keep risk low and hopes high. 

Because of the generosity of Convoy of Hope’s partners and donors, were were able to distribute:

  • 1,000 Gardens in a Bag
  • 4,000 grocery bags
  • 6,000 Bombas socks
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Program Updates

Always Preparing for Disasters

Even as the world has seemed to turn upside down from COVID-19, we must remember that other kinds of natural disasters could happen at any time. We are several weeks into the Atlantic hurricane season — which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts will be busier than usual — drought is affecting the island of Puerto Rico, massive flooding and tropical storms have already hit several parts of the world. Even during a pandemic, we have to be ready. 

As you and your family prepare for the unexpected, know that our teams at Convoy of Hope are constantly readying themselves for the next deployment. Convoy of Hope teams regularly train to use chainsaws, heavy equipment, electric pallet jacks, and CPR/first aid. Staying knowledgeable and certified on these skills is vital to our work. 

You and your family can prepare as well, though without the heavy equipment. Make sure you are up to date on what you need to in case disaster strikes by visiting ready.gov. There you can also find tips on building emergency kits and creating plans for you and your family. Get the kids involved too, and make sure that should worse come to worst, you and your family know what to do and where to go. 

If you are interested in helping those whose lives have been turned upside down by a disaster, you can donate at convoyofhope.org or check out our kit building instructions to pitch in and help those in need. As always, you can stay up to date on all of our disaster responses by visiting convoyofhope.org/blog.

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Program Updates
Convoy of Hope's Community Event's Director, Steve Pulis is trained by our Disaster Services team to operate an electric pallet jack. Cross-training our staff allows us to deploy more qualified personnel when they are needed. Convoy of Hope's Community Event's Director, Steve Pulis is trained by our Disaster Services team to operate an electric pallet jack. Cross-training our staff allows us to deploy more qualified personnel when they are needed.

Cross-training leads to Greater Capacity

In today’s ever-changing world, Convoy of Hope is focusing on finding new and innovative ways to provide help. The models for our Community Events, disaster responses, and international work are nimble and have found new ways to continue and even expand our capacity during this strenuous time. 

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team held a two-day training where attendees learned the ins and outs of responding to disasters. The training covered why Disaster Services does what it does, their processes and methods of distribution, debris clean-up process, and electric pallet jack certification.

Many of those in attendance were members of Convoy of Hope’s Community Events staff. In order to better serve in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Events decided to change to a point of distribution (POD) model like the one Disaster Services uses. This allows them to serve more people,in a way that is safe for our guests and volunteers. 

“We really want to be cross-trained so we can do more when it comes to the work we do here in the United States,” says Community Events Senior Director Steve Pulis. “When we restructured to focus on PODs, the Disaster Services teams — the ones that have perfected that model inside and out — had best practices we could follow. The more our U.S. program can cross lines, collaborate, cross train, and pick up strategies from each other, the better we can come alongside churches and partners.”

Across the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we do things. In the face of difficulty, let’s choose to keep helping others, change our tactics if we need to, and ask each other for help along the way. 

Visit convoyofhope.org/events for more information on ways you can partner with Convoy of Hope in 2020.

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Program Updates
Convoy of Hope trucks carrying relief supplies crisscross the country. Convoy of Hope trucks carrying relief supplies crisscross the country.

Convoy of Hope Receives ‘Four Star Charity’ Rating for 17th Consecutive Year

Convoy of Hope is happy to announce that, for the 17th straight year, we have received Charity Navigator’s ‘Four Star Charity’ rating!

Financial accountability and transparency are vital when considering which charitable organizations to support. To that end, Convoy of Hope works tirelessly to ensure we meet and exceed the best practices of our industry. That’s why every year since 2002, we’ve done what was necessary to obtain Charity Navigator’s highest possible rating.

Currently, nearly 90% of every dollar raised by Convoy of Hope goes directly to programming. The remaining covers our administrative and fundraising costs. Convoy of Hope’s commitment to keeping our overhead low demonstrates our determination to efficiently deliver help and hope to people in need.

Convoy of Hope’s profile on Charity Navigator can be found here.

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In the News

A Mother’s Story: Hope and smiles came to Emma’s family

On an unseasonably cool day in June, Emma entered a local rodeo arena with her sons Anthony and Gabriel, unsure of what she’d find. They weren’t there to see broncos or bull riders; Emma had heard about an event that could help her overcome the struggles she and her family were facing.

Month after month, the bills would come due. Sometimes she and her husband could make it, but other times they found themselves at a local food bank. Their lives had changed dramatically when they had Anthony. Anthony, who has special needs and is in a wheelchair, has to regularly visit a special doctor whose office is two hours away. Every drive costs the family what few resources they have.

“We can’t do anything else,” says Emma. “For instance, I need to build the access ramp for him [Anthony]. But I can’t do it.”

For those like Emma living in vulnerable communities, life can spiral out of control quickly through no fault of their own. The cushion to absorb unexpected costs is thin at best. Because of that, even small wins can become life-changing experiences. 

For the past 25 years, Convoy of Hope and an army of volunteers has been serving across the United States, and now around the world, through Community Events. These events provide critical services that are often unreachable when money is tight. 

“We bring together churches, service providers, and people from all over the community,” says Convoy of Hope’s Jason Bachman, who led the event that Emma and her family attended. “It creates a platform for existing organizations, who sometimes aren’t even aware of each other, to come together and serve. These events create opportunities for the novice and the expert to come together to serve their cities.”

When Emma and her kids entered the grounds, volunteer greeters welcomed them to each tent. Gabriel bumped along in his stroller as Anthony hurried to grab a new pair of shoes at the Children’s Shoes tent. A volunteer helped him get fitted, and he proudly held up his new sneakers after pulling out the crumpled paper stuffed in the toes. These were new shoes. His shoes. 

Anthony impatiently zipped toward the Kids Zone. He drove his wheelchair to the sloped entrance of a bouncy castle where he was met by a volunteer who obviously didn’t know who she was dealing with. Not to be slowed down, Anthony thrust his body forward. He landed on his hands and knees and stormed the castle. His face exuded pure joy as he jumped around that inflatable castle just like the other kids. With his body in midair, Anthony smiled and shouted for his mom. Emma smiled like any parent, thrilled to see her child so happy.

“Poverty is stressful,” says Bachman. “And I think that our Community Events give people a break from that. On that day, people can let go of their problems, even if it’s just for a couple of hours.”

As Emma and her family walked the grounds, the Health Services tent caught her eye. She noticed representatives from Anthony’s children’s hospital, so she stopped to talk with them. Taking as much time as her kids would allow, she began to craft a plan with the hospital.

Weeks after the event, we caught up with Emma to see how she and her family were doing. As she shared her progress over the phone, pots and pans rattled in the background as she prepared lunch for the kids. “Since the event we’ve been doing good,” she says. “Visiting the [children’s] hospital really helped.” The arrangements she made with the hospital at the Community Event had already saved them hours of driving and extra travel expenses. That connection likely wouldn’t have been made without the Community Event and the volunteers who made it happen … together.

 

*This story originally appeared in issue 15 of the Hope Quarterly which can be read here

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Community Outreach / Field Story