Tag: Hal Donaldson

Founder’s Story

Hal, the oldest child at age 12, watched his mom frantically wrangle everyone into the car. After all, she knew it wasn’t ideal for the pastor and his wife to show up late to their own church business meeting. But just as they were peeling out of the neighborhood, they glimpsed the babysitter in the rearview mirror.

Deciding it would be better to show up late rather than with four rambunctious children, they turned around and let the kids pile out.

Later that night, there was a knock at the door. The babysitter answered to find two uniformed police officers with news: their parents’ car had been hit head-on by a drunk driver. Their dad was dead, and their mom was fighting for her life.

After months in the hospital, Hal’s mom returned home and starting work to support the family. The kids knew she worked as hard as she could, but the family still had to rely on food stamps and the generosity of others. In high school, Hal got a job pumping gas and changing tires to help support the family.

After graduation, he landed a job at Dow Chemical, where he worked while pursuing his degree in journalism. He wanted to succeed and develop his talents as a writer, so when an opportunity to write books opened up — fresh out of college — he jumped at the chance. He was determined to build a successful career and leave the poverty he had once known far behind. Each year he encountered new opportunities and became more and more preoccupied with a quest for personal success.

That is, until his travels brought him face to face with the homeless, starving, and destitute around the world.

A writing assignment eventually took him to Kolkata, India, where he was faced with what can only be described as the epitome of poverty and desperation. On his third trip to the city, he was taken to meet none other than Mother Teresa herself for an interview. Once face-to-face, she asked him one simple question: “Young man, what are you doing to help the poor and the suffering?”

Confronted with a question he was never prepared to answer, Hal paused. He couldn’t lie, but he hated the truth.

“I’m not doing much of anything,” he replied. Her response was even simpler than the question:  “Everyone can do something.”

No longer able to escape the guilt of sitting on his hands while the world suffered, he returned home to California, loaded a pickup truck with groceries and supplies, and distributed them to families in need.

That was the beginning of Convoy of Hope.  

Now, 25 years later, more than 100 million people have been served in more than 115 countries. Through community events, families are getting free haircuts, groceries, and family portraits. In the wake of disasters, communities are finding emergency relief and recovery support. Internationally, there are agriculture, women’s empowerment, and children’s feeding programs working to break cycles of poverty forever. Every effort centers around spreading one simple thing: hope.

Hal’s decision to pursue a life of generosity and kindness has grown into much more than an organization. It’s a movement that’s changing the world. It’s a movement of kindness that declares everyone can do something, and if we can do something, we must.

Caring for widows and orphans has never been optional. We have a mission. Convoy is just the vehicle — a way for all of us to link arms and do the next kind thing in front of us.

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope

Transforming the World Because of Your Kindness

In 2016, we saw firsthand that kindness does change everything!

Thanks to you — our loyal friends and generous corporate and ministry partners — we served a record number of people in 2016. We also saw more donated product come in and be distributed through our supply chain than ever before. There were other significant milestones too — including more than 80 million people served since we were founded in 1994.

All of these accomplishments can be traced back to your trust, kindness and partnership.

As a child, my family relied on the kindness of friends and strangers. I can recall days when our shoes had gaping holes in the soles and our cupboards were bare. But what I remember even more were the days when someone would come by with a bag of groceries or a new pair of shoes — just in the nick of time.

I also remember taking part in a program that enabled children, from families like mine, to attend a San Francisco 49ers game. Fast forward 40 some years. Last December, we partnered with the 49ers and their players at Levi’s Stadium to bring much-needed provisions and hope to impoverished families.

As you can see, Convoy of Hope has been — and will continue to be — on the frontlines charging into disparity, hunger, poverty and suffering with the light of kindness, help and hope.

We believe that with your partnership, when the world is the darkest, we can all shine the brightest. Thank you for the trust, financial support, prayers, partnership and for being determined to transform our world with kindness.

God bless you,

Hal Donaldson

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From the Founders

Hal Donaldson Inducted into Missouri State Hall of Fame

Convoy of Hope President, Hal Donaldson, was inducted into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame that honors individuals, who through their academic, personal or professional achievements, demonstrate active civic engagement to improve the lives of others.

“These honorees are exemplary individuals who use their skills and abilities to effect positive change on people from around the world,” said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. “They exemplify the characteristics of ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence. The state of Missouri, our nation and the world are better because of these individuals.”

Other inductees include Maxine Clark, Ann Covington, Judith Rowland and Langston Hughes. Donaldson thanked the local community for its collective involvement in bringing hope to people in need.

“The compassion and generosity of people in the Ozarks has helped make Convoy of Hope what it is today,” said Donaldson. “It is a privilege to be a part of this community.”

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In the News / Staff Spotlight

Gather: Together We Do More

This Christmas, families with gather around tables, trees and fires. They’ll share memories of Christmases past, open gifts, eat meals, enjoy each other’s company, worship and look toward the New Year.

Since Convoy of Hope was founded more than 20 years ago, we’ve seen the power of gathering — even during some of history’s darkest days.

After Hurricane Katrina obliterated portions of the Gulf Coast, I saw our teams gather with families as they picked through the remains of their homes. On the evening of January 12, 2010, our teams gathered to launch a massive response that would best help the people of Haiti as news of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake spread. Recently, I sat at a lunch table in Ethiopia that was filled with wide-eyed schoolchildren who ate bowlfuls of nutritious food provided by Convoy of Hope.

When we gather together, incredible things happen.

Together, we turn disasters into opportunities to feed more children, build homes for the homeless and help communities get back on their feet. Together, we give hope and a hand up to working poor families in the United States. Together, we give impoverished mothers and fathers the tools and training to provide incomes that transform the futures of their families. Together, we put shoes on the shoeless and food into the mouths of the hungry.

Thanks to you, we’ve helped more than 70 million people.

Thanks for partnering with us this year! I look forward to what we’ll do together next year in the States and around the world.

God bless you for gathering with us to help those who are impoverished and hurting.

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From the Founders

You’re walking, driving, working or somehow moving steadily along towards the next destination in your day and a small, quiet yet pervasive thought creeps into your mind: “help that person.” It happens to all of us. The person may be friend, family, co-worker or a stranger; and for some spontaneous reason, you have been presented with the notion to make one moment in their life a little bit easier.

Hal Donaldson, our president and co-founder, spoke to a group of Rotarians in Springfield, Mo., this week and he charged them as follows, “Seldom resist the impulse to do something kind.”

Next time you think you should be kind to someone, you’re probably right.

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Inspiration