Convoy of Hope, founded in 1994 by the Donaldson family, is dedicated to helping those in need. It’s a simple and ambitious goal. To meet it, efforts concentrate on six areas of interest.
In the United States, the organization partners with local businesses to provide the community’s poor with a “poverty-free day.” What is a poverty free day? A day which people receive free meals, access to health and dental care, job-placement services and family portrait sittings. The services depend on three things: the input of the partners, the needs of the community and the skills of available volunteers. In 2013, volunteers served more than 120,000 “guests-of-honor”.
Like in many places around the world, rural communities in the United States are hit hardest by poverty. By training pastors and community leaders, Convoy helps to spur on positive change.
Convoy of Hope feeds more than 145,000 children in 11 different nations across Africa, Central America and the Philippines. Aware that the meal they provide is the only one some children get, every attention is paid to nutrition. The Convoy carefully monitors the health of each child enrolled in the program. Trying to create healthy living environments, Convoy teaches proper hygiene and sanitation. By collecting and purifying water, and distributing filtration systems, they hope to promote water security.
A relatively new Agricultural Initiative is being piloted in Haiti. There, nearly 3,000 farmers trained in applicable agricultural science and crop management, according to their economic and geographic situation. Crop yield has increased among Convoy-trained farmers exponentially. Black bean planting, in particular, is up by 100 percent.
Working with over 200 partners, Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response Team aids in both domestic and international disaster relief. They determine relief effort needs and assess the efficacy of Convoy volunteers on the field. These volunteers, grouped in teams, unload supplies from shipments made by their World Distribution Center. Convoy commits to the total recovery of communities, so feet remain on the ground for months, sometimes years.
Nearly 70 percent of people living in poverty are women. Giving them the chance to earn an income is a significant step towards reducing that poverty. So Convoy provides training to women in Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines. With financial and educational support provided by Convoy, women can start their own businesses. Those in the “Mother’s Clubs” attend sessions on nutrition, health and literacy. Younger girls have access to programs on relevant topics like self-esteem and gender based violence.
By the sheer number of functioning programs run by Convoy, it is obvious that the organization is well established. Volunteers with a multitude of skills serve in many different capacities. Still, their purpose remains to aid those struggling, whenever and wherever they need help.
– Olivia Kostreva
Sources: Convoy of Hope Community Events, Convoy of Hope Children’s Feeding, Convoy of Hope Disaster Services, Convoy of Hope Agriculture, Convoy of Hope Women’s Empowerment, Convoy of Hope Rural Compassion, Charity Navigator, FeedOne
Photo: Dew Foundation