Tag: Generosity

How to help and stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, fear and anxiety are on the rise. With so much unknown, it can feel like everything is out of control and there’s nothing we can do. However, here are some things you can do that can help both alleviate your fears and bring some hope to the rest of the world. 

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

Mr. Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Convoy of Hope has committed to provide at least 50 truckloads of emergency food and water — approximately 2 million pounds of relief supplies — to people most affected by the coronavirus. This work is being done through local partners helping offset school lunch needs caused by prolonged cancellations within their school districts. Do some research into organizations who are out there working to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.

VOLUNTEER

If you are sick, just not feeling well, or in the high-risk category for COVID-19, please stay home! However, if you are healthy and considered low-risk, there are likely many food banks and groups in your area that could greatly use your help providing supplies and assistance to those in your community. Contact your local chamber of commerce to learn if it is safe to help and how you can do so. 

SUPPORT LOCAL, SMALL BUSINESSES

This is a difficult time economically for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for small businesses. Do some research into local small shops that sell things like soap and cleaning supplies. Find local restaurants that may be offering delivery, drive-through, or curbside services. Stay social, even from a distance. Buy gift cards to stores you like — this gives them a boost now and you have a reason to treat yourself later when it’s once again safe to go out and shop. 

STAY INFORMED, NOT OVERWHELMED

There is A LOT of information and conversation out there about COVID-19. Unfortunately, not all of it is true or helpful. Make sure your information is coming from a trusted source. Convoy of Hope is providing a safe place for information at convoyofhope.org/coronavirus

Also make sure that you’re not overwhelming yourself with information. You could read updates on the pandemic for days if you wanted to, but that is not mentally or emotionally healthy. So stay informed, but make sure you are not spending all your time focusing on it. 

Remember to take a deep breath and hold tightly to hope in this time of heightened fears. You may have to stay home right now, but your kindness does not!

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Join the Convoy

Five Ways to Make this Your Kindest Year Yet

1. Set up a recurring donation, and budget for it.

Find a cause that you’re passionate about! At Convoy of Hope, we offer opportunities for others to help women in developing countries start their own business, feed children that don’t have access to regular nutritious meals, respond to disasters around the world, support communities across the United  States, and offer opportunities to the working poor. Donating to an organization you care about doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Determine a budget and stick to it. 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.

2. Volunteer!

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there are needs in your community. Contact your local U.S. Chamber of Commerce to learn how you can get involved with nearby organizations. Or visit your favorite charity’s website, to find out how you can help. At Convoy of Hope, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer at one of our Community Events. We also offer the chance to volunteer at our World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri, every Tuesday night.* Visit convoy.org/get-involved to learn more. 

3. Buy from brands that give back. 

When you go to the store, how do you choose which brands to buy? Taste? Price? Packaging? What about the brand’s impact on the needs of the world? Convoy of Hope has great corporate partners that are helping us spread hope. By shopping their stores or buying their products, you can help support us! Brands like Hello Bello, Hormel Foods, and Home Depot are just a few that help us give back to those in need. You can learn more about how your favorite brands give back by visiting their websites.

4. Hunt for kind opportunities.

You can find ways to show kindness every day. You just have to keep an eye out for them! Hold the door open for someone, let another driver into your lane in traffic, or buy someone’s meal at a restaurant — each day brings you new opportunities to show kindness to those around you. Today and every day, do the next kind thing in front of you. 

5. Build a kindness team.

Challenge your friends, family, or coworkers to join you in your kindness crusade! Invite someone to volunteer with you or see who can do the most acts of kindness for a month. When you encourage others to join you in spreading kindness, your reach extends even further! 

 

*These events are on a break until January 21, 2020.

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Inspiration / Join the Convoy / Volunteering

End of Year Smart Giving

As 2019 winds down, we at Convoy of Hope trust that you are having a wonderful holiday season. This year, we’ve had the honor of serving thousands upon thousands of people on your behalf.

As one of our supporters, here are a few “smart” ways you can continue partnering with us if you’re looking for end-of-year giving opportunities.

RoundUp – Use this app to “round up” your purchases, donating a few cents each time you make a transaction. It might not seem like a lot, but your donation will go a long way and we’re thankful for every penny.

Alexa – If you use any Alexa-enabled device, simply say, “Alexa, make a donation to Convoy of Hope,” and she will help you donate any amount using your Amazon Pay account.

PayPal, Amazon Pay & Apple Pay – Convoy of Hope is an option for giving on each of these platforms.

Amazon Smile – By selecting Convoy of Hope in your Amazon Smile profile, a portion of every purchase you make helps us serve those in need.

Thank you for your support in 2019. It’s only because of you that we can serve those in need.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Program Updates

How Hurricane Katrina Changed Everything

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast and decimated everything in its path, everything changed. For our nation, seldom before had we seen such devastation — streets became rivers, homes were washed away, and more than 1,000 people lost their lives. The way groups responded to disasters changed everywhere, too, and that included Convoy of Hope.

As Katrina gained intensity in the Gulf of Mexico, it was clear the storm would be bad. But no one expected the wide-reaching damage Katrina would inflict. The morning after the hurricane made landfall, Convoy of Hope employees arrived at headquarters to find every phone ringing off their hooks. Convoy was a much smaller organization in 2005, with a staff of only 50 people. It was clear that this response was an “all-hands on deck” situation. 

Family and friends of staff members arrived to help, and phone banks were set up on folding tables in every available space. Volunteers answered phone calls all day, every day, for weeks. Calls came in from volunteers, donors, people needing help, churches asking for assistance, and even those in search of lost relatives.The answering machine crashed immediately, leading us to take messages on paper and run them around the building to the right person.

Staff from across departments were deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana to assist our two-person Disaster Services team. Before this time, we had never had more than one point of distribution (POD) running at a time. Now, we had several scattered throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

This response changed Convoy of Hope in fundamental ways. Systematically, Convoy of Hope was recreated. Longtime Convoy staff member Randy Rich reflected on a time during the response when the team took a moment from the hustle and bustle. “We sat down and reinvented Convoy on a whiteboard,” he said. “The team updated processes for disaster response and developed additional roles that new staff or volunteers would fill.”

As our disaster response team grew, so did our ability to help others. Our response to Hurricane Katrina lasted for two years. Nearly 1,000 truckloads of relief supplies were delivered and distributed to families in need. For the next four years, we held Community Events across the Gulf Coast, specifically helping areas affected by Katrina. 

In our 25 years of existence, Convoy of Hope has responded to more than 400 disasters around the world. The people we met and the lessons we learned during Katrina redefined the way we would respond to disasters from then on. But the one thing that has never changed is the incredible importance of kindness and support from people like you. We couldn’t have served so many without the thousands of phone calls, mass amounts of volunteers, and incredible donors that saw those in need and offered their help.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Disaster Services / Program Updates / Volunteering

Treating others as a Guest of Honor

Convoy of Hope began hosting Community Events 25 years ago. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of Guests of Honor — from New York to Hawaii, Washington to Florida, and everywhere in between — in more than 1,200 cities in the United States. 

Guests of Honor are our neighbors, co-workers, the people we see at church each Sunday, the grocery check-out clerk, or the person asking for help on the corner. They are the families who need a hand-up during difficult times, individuals living on the fringes of poverty, and those who are barely making it paycheck to paycheck. They are people we all know and love and want to help. 

They are people like Carly. It had already been a long day for Carly before she attended the Wichita Convoy of Hope Community Event with her family. She’d worked eight hours at one job; after the event, she would be going to her second job. 

Carly and her family have attended the Community Event for four years in a row. She and her kids go to every area: haircuts, shoes, Kids Zone to receiving backpacks, and groceries at the end. The haircuts are particularly of value. The only time Carly’s daughters receive haircuts are when they attend Community Events.

When asked why she keeps returning, she says, “Convoy is one of the most understanding and respectful organizations. They treat you like a person. Like you’re just another person that deserves something. They don’t look down on you. They don’t treat you different. They don’t talk to you like you’re a 5-year old kid. You don’t get that. People in our situations don’t get that.” 

Her entire family feels connected to the event. In fact, her oldest daughter decided to be a volunteer this year. “We’re hoping by next year, we won’t need the services, and then we can all come back and volunteer,” Carly says. “They’ve helped us, so we try to give back if we can.”  

Carly and her family are striving to be like the Camposes — Guests of Honor who went to their first event several years ago when they were having a tough time. The flyer they received highlighted free services that they needed.

“When I came to the Convoy of Hope event, and every five or six meters is one person, smiling and saying, ‘Welcome. You’ve been welcome. God bless you.’ Wow. This is what I needed,” said Roberto Campos. “I believe the people received me and this changed my life.” 

Since then, the entire Campos family has volunteered at their local Community Event for five consecutive years. Coming full circle from receiving to giving back — showing other Guests of Honor in their community the same level of dignity and respect they were shown. 

Since 1994, Convoy of Hope Community Events have served more than 2 million Guests of Honor around the United States — people like Carly and the Camposes — who simply need hope in a time of need. To learn more about Community Events, visit convoyofhope.org/events

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Community Outreach / Field Story / Inspiration / Join the Convoy / Volunteering