Tag: Kindness Changes Everything

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

Meet 25 of the coolest kids in the world!

After 25 years of spreading hope and 12 years of feeding kids, we’ve met some of the coolest kids across the world! Meet just 25 of the incredible kids we’ve had the honor to feed and get to know over the years!

Click on their names to hear their stories.

Bonifast – Haiti

 

 

Alexa – Philippines

 

 

Jacquline – El Salvador

 

 

Stevin – Nicaragua

 

Tigist – Ethiopia

 

Baraka – Tanzania

 

Manas – Nepal

 

Safiri – Kenya

 

Rashani – Sri Lanka

 

Mehar – Lebanon

 

Elvin – El Salvador

 

Sheri – Philippines

 

Ana – Honduras

 

Saraphina – Haiti

 

Amelia – Kenya

Jacque – Haiti

 

Elaine – Nicaragua

 

Orlin – Honduras

 

MacKenzon – Haiti

 

Jessie – Philippines

 

Denilson – El Salvador

 

Beatrice – Kenya

 

Samuel – Nepal

 

Selina – Honduras

 

Cristina – Haiti

 

With the help of friends like you, Convoy of Hope is now feeding more than 200,000 kids across 14 different countries. You can help feed even more kids at feedONE.com and you can find more stories on our website, and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding

Hope in Slovakia

The Roma people are one of the largest ethnic minorities in the world who have no home country. Spread throughout Europe, their reputation and history have brought significant prejudice and abuse upon them.

“They have an intensely private culture and usually oppose help from outside their community,” says Michael McNamee, former Regional Director of Convoy of Hope Europe.

The Roma live in separate settlements outside of towns, many of which have no power, running water, or even weather-proofed homes. Entire families live in shantys — their homes consisting of rotting plywood, collapsed roofs, and walls with gaping holes. And yet, families with little children live there in the middle of the cold Slovak winters.

Slovakia has one of the highest Roma populations around the world. One settlement, outside of Vtackovce, held just over 1,000 people living in very rough conditions. “When some teams came … to work in the community,” Michael remembers, “we would sometimes send their medical people … to check on the [Roma] villagers, but there was still a significant resistance on their part.”

In 2015, Convoy of Hope Europe decided to host a Community Event in Vtackovce, Slovakia, to try and build relationships with the community. The event was in April, the snow was melting, and flowers began to appear in fields all over the mountains. Despite the hilly terrain, Convoy had medical tents, food distribution, games for the children, face-painting, live music — the works. Guests of Honor had tickets to come through the tents at predetermined times to avoid overwhelming the different stations.

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and partners, it went off without a hitch. Most every one of the 1,000 people living in the camps attended. Convoy of Hope Europe has held several Community Events throughout Slovakia, and each of them have been incredibly successful.

“Most of society always keeps them at a distance,” says Aaron Davis, a Convoy of Hope team member. “Kind gestures and smiles crossed cultural barriers into their hearts.”

Seeing the incredible transformation that took place in so many families that day makes us at Convoy so grateful that we were able to be a part. And that is all we are — part of a movement of compassion.

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope

Volunteering with Convoy of Hope

Volunteers are at the heart of everything Convoy of Hope does. From bagging groceries for Community Events around the country to removing debris after a devastating storm, Convoy of Hope volunteers walk hand in hand with us to help those in need.

We asked a few of our wonderful volunteers to share why they’re passionate about bringing help and hope to impoverished, hungry, and hurting people around the world.

Linda McCalister, a Convoy of Hope volunteer, has served as a community event lead volunteer for two years, volunteers at Hands of Hope, and serves with Convoy:Women. When asked why she would encourage someone to volunteer with Convoy, she says, “You will make some new friends, learn new things, and join an organization that opens the door to hope for thousands — if not millions — of people. It will change your life.”

COMMUNITY EVENTS

At Convoy of Hope Community Events, guests receive free groceries, health screenings, haircuts, career services, and much more. Linda recalls a story from one event of a mother and her young daughter who had walked two miles to a local Community Event so they could receive shoes.

“All she had to wear were plastic shoes that wore blisters on her feet to the point she could not even try on the [new] shoes. The volunteer found the right shoes for the little girl and bandaged her blisters. Then they connected her with someone who gave them a ride home! Something so small that meant so much.”

In 2018, Communities Events served more than 96,000 Guests of Honor at 62 community events in 48 cities. These events would not have been possible without the nearly 28,000 volunteers who partners with Convoy of Hope.

HANDS OF HOPE

On Tuesday nights, Convoy of Hope opens the doors of our World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri, and welcomes volunteers in for a weekly volunteer opportunity called Hands of Hope. Volunteers help sort, pack, count, and label items that are distributed throughout the world.

“It’s a great opportunity to serve and provide others in the local community and around the world with the essential items they might not have been able to get,” says Connor Louthan, a lead Hands of Hope volunteer.

In 2018, Hands of Hope partnered with more than 5,500 volunteers who invested more than 12,500 hours during the year.

FIELD TEAMS

Gerald Norz, another Convoy of Hope volunteer, has served on multiple Field Teams during the past five years. He loves working with partners in the field, saying one of his most memorable experiences volunteering with Convoy is, “seeing the children waving as we arrived at the site in Tanzania … such a great welcome and such warm smiles.”

Eighty-two Field Teams — comprised of more than 1,000 volunteers — served in 11 countries around the world in 2018. These teams serve people through projects and interaction connected to Convoy’s Children’s Feeding and Agriculture programs.

***

Community Events, Field Teams, and Hands of Hope are just three of several volunteer opportunities with Convoy of Hope. Whether it’s driving a Convoy of Hope truck, answering phones, or deploying with our Disaster Services team, every volunteer makes a difference in a person’s life through the service they provide. In 2018, we had more than 57,000 volunteers serve domestically and internationally. We are so thankful for each person who serves with their heart and their time! Visit convoyofhope.org/volunteer to learn more about how you can volunteer at Convoy of Hope.

 

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

The Extra Mile

Smoke and dust twist together lazily on the Honduran road that marks the frontline of poverty for this community. Birds call quietly back and forth to each other over the low rumble of heavy machinery in the distance. On one side of the road is a small, two-room schoolhouse, and on the other a towering hill holding back a mountainous expanse of garbage.

In 2016, six-year-old Ana had a choice to make every day: she could dig for recyclables to sell so she could eat, or she could go to school and learn. Hunger won out a majority of the time, and she regularly spent her days combing through the dump looking for things to sell.

“One day, Ana’s mother sent her to school, thinking that we would feed her,” said Principal Katherine Mejia. “It was a Monday, so Ana hadn’t eaten all weekend.”

Weakened by hunger, Ana stumbled to school and dropped into her chair. Ana struggled to concentrate on her lessons as her eyes glazed over. Without warning, she tumbled onto the concrete floor.

Ana was not the only child struggling with hunger at the school. Many came every day with an empty belly. “That was very hard for us, but it was impossible to provide [for them],” said Principal Mejia.

Ana’s case is not uncommon for kids in struggling schools around the world. Soon after Ana’s incident, Convoy of Hope began delivering food to her school. Since then, Ana’s situation has changed dramatically. “Before, when she was hungry, she was super shy. She didn’t talk and stared at the floor,” said Mejia. “So we can see her health is progressing [slowly with proper nutrition], but it’s a long road ahead.”

“Before she can start to learn, she needs to be healthy.”

In 2018, Convoy of Hope reached a milestone goal — feeding 200,000 children throughout the world — two years ahead of the 2020 target.

“The goal Convoy of Hope set in 2016 was a lofty one,” says Convoy of Hope President Hal Donaldson. “At the time, 160,000 children were a part of our Children’s Feeding initiative. Reaching 200,000 seemed like an achievable goal, but one that would certainly take until 2020 to reach.”

The increase of nearly 23,000 children in one year is a direct result of the community surrounding Convoy of Hope. We’ve never been content with the status quo, and we choose to partner with those who feel the same way. Rapid strides in both meal donations and financial support fueled Convoy’s ability to grow and has brought us to where we are today.

Today, Convoy of Hope is operating in 1,131 program centers around the world. In 2018, we began Children’s Feeding interventions in Sri Lanka, India, and Uganda while continuing our work in 11 other countries, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Haiti, South Africa, Nepal, and Lebanon.

In addition to leveraging these strategic feeding initiatives, Convoy of Hope has also established complementary interventions in many program countries to foster thriving communities. In 2018, more than 6,400 individuals were engaged in our Agriculture initiative, and more than 6,700 women joined our Women’s Empowerment program.

“We strategically feed children in schools to strengthen our relationship with each community and empower broader impact through families,” says Heath Adamson, Convoy of Hope’s Chief of Staff. “This milestone represents hundreds of communities and thousands of individuals who know their value. Compassion not only makes a difference — it makes the difference.”

For Ana, the food she receives is key to her education … and education is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty that has trapped generations of her family. At Convoy of Hope, we believe Ana deserves a bright future, full of opportunity, health, and safety. It’s our privilege to help clear the path that will take her there.

*This story first appeared in the 2018 Convoy of Hope Annual Report. Find the full report at convoyofhope.org/annualreport.

 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding