Tag: Volunteer

Cleveland Volunteer Transforms Life and Community

Cliff Watson knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and forgotten. This is why, as the administrative pastor at Providence Baptist Church, he recently helped Convoy of Hope hold Community Events in and around Cleveland, Ohio. Cliff is doing everything he can to help those in his hometown who also resonate with feelings of rejection. 

Cliff’s early life was filled with strife and trauma. “At 12 or 13 years old, I started selling drugs and kind of got into the whole life of the drug world. I just kind of began to live that life for a while,” he says. “I dropped out of high school. My daughter was born when I was 17 years old. People were saying I wouldn’t live to be 20.”

Thankfully, Cliff admitted himself into a local program that helped him to earn his GED, deal with his legal troubles, and get a job. It also inspired him to help others who are living through the same struggles he once did.

Originally, the Convoy of Hope Community Event was designed to be a larger gathering at Luke Easter Park. Once the pandemic became a concern, the event turned into a drive-thru point of distribution (POD). After the city expressed unease about the event taking place at the park, it was redirected to the two campuses of Providence Baptist Church: one in Euclid and one in Cleveland.

An hour before the event, people were already lined up and ready to go through the POD drive-thru. Police officers helped to direct traffic and serve Guests of Honor. In total, the event provided more than 5,000 bags of groceries to those in need.

“That’s why I’m partnered with Convoy of Hope in the first place; it really fits into the bigger picture of community transformation,” Cliff explained. “Before a shovel is ever lifted, before any money and all of those things are distributed, and before a project is even talked about, we just want you to know … that we love you, there is hope, and we can show you that there is hope by bringing hope in on a truck.”

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Community Outreach

Once in Need, Volunteer Now Shares Hope

When Lashai arrived to volunteer at the Community Event in Lafayette, Indiana, she was concerned that the changes COVID-19 required would make the event less personal. Thankfully, her experience was the exact opposite. In fact, had it not been personal, Lashai wouldn’t have been at that Community Event at all.

In 2011, Lashai and her three children were homeless and didn’t know anyone in their new home of Lafayette. Even then, Lashai was no stranger to adversity. “I grew up in a very rough area of Chicago, born to teenage parents. My father was a drug addict, my brother was a gang member, and a lot of my cousins were in a lot of trouble,” she explained.

After finding their way to an outreach hosted by River City Church in Lafayette, Lashai and her children established new connections and regained their footing. It wasn’t long before Lashai began giving back to her community, and she has made it a point to serve at every Community Event in her area since. “Whenever they have a Community Event it’s obvious that I want to be part of it,” Lashai emphasized.

Although the pandemic required the Community Event to follow a drive-through point of distribution model, Lashai still made a difference for the Guests of Honor who attended that day. She volunteered at the Connections Center, where she recalled encouraging and praying for a particularly large number of people who arrived feeling hopeless. However, her own personal experiences equipped her to help those who felt downtrodden, and those same guests left with their needs met and a renewed sense of hope. When she saw the tears in their eyes, Lashai knew that — despite the challenges the pandemic presented — she had made a difference for many individuals in her community.

Thanks to volunteers like Lashai, Convoy of Hope has helped serve communities across the nation, even through the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out more about Convoy of Hope’s Community Events program, click here.

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In the News

Convoy of Hope’s trained volunteers are paving the way for a response to Dorian

After a close brush with Hurricane Irma, a group of passionate Floridians reached out to Convoy of Hope for help. Their community had been spared the brunt of the storm, but their drive to help survivors was galvanized. What they wanted from Convoy of Hope was not food or flood buckets. They wanted knowledge.

Within a short time, Convoy of Hope staff had trained 25 individuals in how to respond to local emergencies and disasters. Whether it was helping a neighbor when their house burned down or preparing for a major disaster like Hurricane Dorian, these individuals wanted to make sure that would be prepared should the worst happen.

At the training, Convoy of Hope staff instructed courses on disaster preparedness, assessing damage, relief distribution, and the cleanup processes. In addition to instruction about directly responding to disasters, attendees learned how to reach out to their local governments so they would be included in the master response plan for their area.

When it was announced that Florida would be directly in the path of Hurricane Dorian, members of this group of trained responders reached out to Convoy of Hope. On Saturday, a truck of supplies will be delivered to help resource first responders and to have immediate supplies for them to distribute to those affected by the storm.

Training a network of volunteers is a vital part of Convoy’s master plan of equipping local communities — not only with product and knowledge of our staff, but with the ability to care for their community when Convoy of Hope is not present.

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Disaster Services

Benefiting Someone — Somewhere

Dean Stack is one of the 47,000 unsung heroes — volunteers — helping Convoy of Hope bring hope to those who are hungry, impoverished and in need. As a lead volunteer for Hands of Hope, he works at our World Distribution Center every Tuesday night to support our work around the world. Following is a conversation with Dean.  


What do you do for Convoy of Hope?

I’m a lead volunteer here with Hands of Hope. I help coordinate volunteers and operate a forklift.

How long have you been volunteering?

I started volunteering when I heard Convoy was helping with the Joplin tornado in 2011. By 2012, I had become a lead volunteer.

Why do you volunteer?

I just like helping, and this is an easy way to help. When I hear about what Convoy does all around the world and how I can help with the projects they do, it keeps me going and keeps me wanting to come back.

What’s the most rewarding part?

I love hearing about the end result; knowing I played a part, and that my work is benefiting someone, somewhere.

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering?

You’ve got to do it. Once you do it, you’re going to love it.

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Volunteering