Tag: Kindness Changes Everything

Hope for the Holidays

As 2019 comes to a close, families around the world are preparing for the upcoming holiday season. For many of the 200,000 children in Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding program, the hope found in a warm bowl of food each day may be the only gift they receive. The support they receive from supporters like you is what makes the holidays so special.

Nine-year-old Olvin is one of the 11,000 children whom Convoy feeds in Honduras. When he’s not caring for his chickens or attending classes, he is most likely playing soccer with his friends. But the thing he loves most about going to school?

“The food is good!” Olvin says. “Sometimes they give us soup. They give us rice and eggs, too.”

Through Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding program, Olvin receives the nutritious meals he needs to stay healthy and focused. Since starting the program in Honduras in 2011, Convoy of Hope has partnered with more than 100 Honduran communities.

While many are preparing shopping lists and putting up Christmas trees, Olvin’s family is looking forward to their own holiday traditions.

Olvin lives at home with his parents and two younger brothers. His father works long hours, and his mother, Ivania, runs a small business that Convoy’s Women’s Empowerment program helped her start. For them, the added support they receive from Convoy has been the glimmer of hope they desperately needed.

“Normally, we can’t give the kids gifts for Christmas,” says Ivania. “But this year, we will be able to give them gifts.”

Like many families, Olvin’s is looking forward to the Christmas season, because everyone is together and they attend church as a family. Ivania loves to prepare the holiday menu, which includes chicken, rice, potatoes, and bread.

“This year is going to be different from other years, though,” Ivania says. “This year, they will get new clothes for Christmas, and I can add a little something to the menu.”

As Convoy of Hope looks back on the last 25 years, we are humbled to be a part of empowering so many families and their communities. While many will struggle to keep food on the table this holiday season, Convoy of Hope continues to fight for the poor and suffering in hopes that families everywhere can “add a little something to the menu.”

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding

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.

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
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

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
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.

 

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
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.

 

COMMENT
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Pinterest
25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope