EC’s Annual Appeal
The end of the year is here and EC’s annual appeal has been sent out far and wide. So far the response has been tremendous! Our goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of 2018. As of this writing, our supporters have contributed over $14,000 in the space of one month. We are well on our way to meeting our goal!
A Year of Growth
I am amazed when I look back at all that has happened in 2018. This has been an expanding year for Everyone’s Child. With your help we have provided over 500 children with a daily meal in five different locations, given an education to 15 orphaned secondary students, and sponsored a Mentorship Program for orphaned and vulnerable teens. Together we also built Kateri’s Kitchen and dug a well for an impoverished village in northern India.
This year we saw the establishment of the EC Kenya Board of Directors, and welcomed Jedidah Kuria – a graduate of our sponsorship program to our Kenya staff. We received a grant from CBN allowing us to pay teachers at Miruya Primary School in western Kenya. Those of you who follow this monthly blog have seen the photos and read the stories. Hopefully you’ve felt the hope and love that emanates from each posting.
It takes a lot of effort to build something – whether that “thing” is a physical building, a program, or a relationship. EC’s Board of Directors and I spend a lot of time planning, praying about and discussing the direction for this non-profit. I believe that the same can be said for those of you who support what we do. Your contributions are not something we take lightly, so it is with great heart and much gratitude that I offer my thanks to you in this season. We understand that there are many organizations doing wonderful things for children all over this world, which makes your support that much more meaningful to us.
During this season of giving
I am writing to ask you to please continue working alongside us as we serve the orphans and vulnerable children who are counting on us for their education and their future. If you have not already given, you can learn how to make your contribution by visiting https://everyoneschild.net/donate-2/.
All donations are tax-deductible, used for and appreciated by the children we support. With your help we will continue changing a generation through education.
With warmest wishes for a blessed holiday,
A friend of mine has been feeding the hungry for more than a decade. Dyan Walker, also called Sr. Kateri as she belongs to a Franciscan lay order, has indirectly and directly been providing meals for hungry children in Kenya for many years.
A couple of weeks ago I asked Sr. Kateri how she happened to get involved with feeding needy children. She said that it all started in 2007 when she attended a church service where a missionary to Kenya was bringing a message about the work he was doing in that country. She was deeply affected by his stories of children in an area called Kampi Ya Moto – a name which translates to “Camp of Fire”. Needless to say, life was challenging in that region. Kampi Ya Moto is located in sub-Saharan Africa where daily temperatures reach high into the 80’s and 90’s and rainfall is scarce during most of the year. She learned that HIV/AIDS had claimed the lives of many adults in that area so most of the children were orphaned. Education was considered a luxury. A primary school was built in 2003, but prior to that there were no schools near their homes. Their excitement at finally being able to learn was beyond measure. However, in spite of their enthusiasm, they were fainting in class due to lack of food.
The Orphan Feeding Program
This missionary was reaching out to the church for help with an Orphan Feeding Program, allowing the children in Kampi Ya Moto to receive a daily meal.
Sr. Kateri was profoundly moved by his stories, so she began to pray for a way to help them. As a recent widow, her budget was limited, but it occurred to her to put aside $10 a week for the orphans. She began to do that, and continued to pray for their situation.
Then in May 2007, Sr. Kateri was gifted with the opportunity to travel to Kenya with a group of missionaries. The trip had a profound impact on her life. She vividly remembers the sights and sounds, the incredible wildlife, and most of all, the children.
In her visit to Kampi Ya Moto she had a chance to serve lunch to the school children, an experience that is still fresh in her heart and mind. She also remembered that “…there was a kitchen there but it was dilapidated and falling apart.” She returned home and began to tell her friends, co-workers, and anyone else who would listen about these children and their needs. Before long, there was an outpouring of donations for the Orphan Feeding Program, and the effort began to take on a life of its own.
Feeding the Hungry
Sr. Kateri’s passion for alleviating the suffering of these orphans in Kenya began to affect people throughout the USA and Canada. Funds continued to pour in, making it possible to address other needs as well. The kitchen she had seen during her trip was in need of repairs, and two other schools in Nakuru were asking for help with feeding orphans in their schools. Fr. Paul Stewart, her pastor of many years, told her: “The money you set aside also inspired others to give, so they were able to repair the kitchen and start the Orphan Feeding Program in two new locations.” Her prayers and continued concern and care for the orphans also led her to join EC’s Board of Directors, a position she held for several years.
Today the kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto is once again in a state of disrepair. Severe drought and extreme heat have taken their toll on this small tin, wattle and daub building. This summer, EC is raising $2,100 in order to build a structure that will withstand the climate and provide nutritional meals to these school children.
Upon completion, EC will be dedicating the new kitchen to Sr. Kateri. A plaque honoring her commitment to feed the children will be placed in this building, and in future kitchens also. Her legacy of giving to the least of them will continue to impact children for years to come.
If you are in a position to contribute to Kateri’s Kitchen, please click here to help us continue with our goal of feeding the hungry. Your gift will make a huge difference for the school children who rely on these meals to get them through the day.
As always, Asante Sana (Thank you very much) for your help!
Providing for needs is constant in life. We have basic needs that deal with our survival as humans: water, food, and shelter. Then there are less-essential needs, such as designer jeans, computers and dirt bikes. What you have been blessed with in life defines your perspective on your own personal sense of needs and provision for those needs.
A relative of mine recently decided to give a recurring donation to Everyone’s Child. I asked where the donation should be directed, and received the most amazing response, copied below:
I was in awe of my relatives’ ability to use Matthew 25:35-40 to identify a selfless list of objectives for life. These objectives were all about providing for needs. I wrote the following reply:
I was thirsty
Providing for Needs
Providing for needs includes the act of caring for and about others. Sometimes that act is a prayer, other times it involves an action or a financial gift. Here at Everyone’s Child we appreciate contributions of all kinds.
Love is the defining expression in my relative’s bucket list. Please click here to give to someone who will greatly appreciate your gift of love.
everyone’s child: they belong to all of us
Frederick Buechner wrote “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.” I couldn’t agree more. To the point where I will probably adopt his saying and add it to my email signature in days to come, because it strikes a chord in the recesses of my heart.
My deep gladness is most evident around this time of year, due in large part to EC’s Annual Appeal. You might be inclined to say that I’m happy to be bringing in the funds that support our programs, specifically the lunch program for the orphans and the sponsorship program for the orphaned secondary students. There is truth to that, but my overarching gladness comes with being able to connect with so many friends and family members whom I rarely see anymore.
Every November I send a letter out to EC supporters, telling them what has happened with the donations they sent throughout the year, and asking them to please consider contributing again so we can continue supporting the 300+ orphans who benefit from the daily school lunch program and the 10 – 15 secondary school students who we sponsor. I also tell donors about my aspirations for the coming year. This past November I shared the exciting news of the two new preschool buildings that our donors built in Lanet. I also wrote about the hope we have of bringing our mentoring program for high school orphaned students into new areas of Kenya with the help of our new Program Coordinator, William Aludo.
The responses have been arriving in my mailbox and via Paypal since the second week of November, usually accompanied by a smiley face, hand-drawn hearts or “xoxo”. Sometimes people have included a short note with their contribution telling me about their lives and families, and almost always they have something encouraging to say to keep us going. This year I wanted to share a few of the responses I have received from people who have a heart for what we are doing for the orphans in Kenya. I’ll use first names (or first letters) to maintain anonymity.
Adam: [My wife] and I would love to support Everyone’s Child! A cause that will always be close to my heart.
Carole: Keep up your wonderful work!
Alison: You can count on me for a donation prior to year-end. Thank you for explaining some of the costs as it gives me a better idea of how much I should donate. I’m so proud of you for spear heading such a great cause.
Cynthia: I’m planning to give a donation to your passion and am happy to help. I admire you for dedicating yourself to helping these kids. It must seem overwhelming at times but heartwarming to see the successes.
Ellie: Wonderful organization Ruth. I know your heart is with these children. My contribution will go out in the next week.
N: It is especially meaningful to me to help out your organization where I know the money goes directly to the kids!!!
Elizabeth: Keep up the great work for the children.
Catherine: I know it’s not much, but hopefully every bit counts! (Me: It definitely does!!)
Dave: So happy to support these children who can use our help.
Linda: Yes. I will donate now! Thank you Ruthie!!
Carrie 😉 : Done!
Martha: What great work you do! Amen and thank you! We will continue to support what you do, so count on us!
Some people donated in the memory of a loved one. Here are two such cases:
One of my nieces: Aunt Ruthie, I am so proud to be your niece. The work your organization does is incredible! I opened your letter today and around the holiday season, donating in the name of others to such a wonderful program is a very special gift for everyone involved!
Connie: Heidi was a dynamic, caring person. As her friend you must really feel her loss. Even those who didn’t know her well feel sad and depleted. She is missed but she lives on in love – and in your work for others.
So there it is, an example of why I have such deep gladness in my heart. In the past eight years I have found my purpose in the carving of this work, which has been nothing more than an opportunity to express my faith in God and in the seed that is sown in all of us to serve and care for those less fortunate than ourselves.
We are a little over halfway to our goal of $20,000.00 for this year’s Annual Appeal. The funds we raise help us to continue our orphan lunch program and our secondary school sponsorship program. Currently it costs $30 per month per student to fund the orphan lunch program which is feeding between 250-300 students a day in three separate locations. The school sponsorship program costs between $250 – $400 per student per year, depending on the grade they are in. Next year we expect to be supporting between 8 – 10 students in Nakuru, and hope to be sponsoring additional students in new areas of Kenya as well. If you would like to donate to Everyone’s Child and help us reach our goal before the end of 2016, please click here.
I pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season. I look forward to talking and serving with all of you again in 2017.
There are so many reasons to care about what is going on in the world today. Caring is a key to living in a civilized society – it’s the part of us that makes us human. Our society is becoming increasingly self-centered and narcissistic, owing in large part to the ability for all of us to record and share every aspect of our daily lives with the rest of the world, hoping that someone out there will care enough to notice us. The result of this self-absorption is an endless hole of self-dissatisfaction. I see that the only way out of this void is to give. There is a certain freedom that comes from giving, from caring enough to see beyond our own needs to recognize the needs of another.
Current data shows us that nearly half of the children in the world live in poverty, 22,000 children die daily due to lack of basic needs, and at least 15 million children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. I find these numbers too overwhelming to even think about, so I tuck them away in my head and go about the day, ensuring that my family is clothed and fed and educated. I am thankful, so thankful to live in a country that is free and full of opportunity, yet I still struggle with the question of how I am able to meet my needs and those of my family, when almost half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day.
In A Testament to Freedom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes the following:
“What if, precisely at the moment when we are thanking God for God’s goodness towards us, there is a ring at the door…and we find someone standing there who would also like to thank God for some small gift, but to whom such a gift has been denied and who is starving with starving children and who will go to bed in bitterness? What becomes of our grace in such moments? Will we really feel like saying that God is merciful to us and angry with them, or that the fact that we still have something to eat proves that we have won a special position of favor in God’s sight, that God feeds the favorite children and lets the unworthy go hungry? May the merciful God protect us from the temptation of such gratitude. May God lead us to a true understanding of God’s goodness…If we want to understand God’s goodness in God’s gifts, then we must think of them as a responsibility we bear for our brothers and sisters. Let none say: God has blessed us with money and possessions, and then live as if they and their God were alone in the world. For the time will come when they realize that they have been worshiping the idols of their good fortune and selfishness. Possessions are not God’s blessing and goodness, but the opportunities of service which God entrusts to us.”
Everyone’s Child was formed to address this very idea, that we are all responsible for the children in our world who could do with, as they say in Kenya, a “leg up” just to enjoy something as necessary as a daily meal or as basic as an education. I encourage everyone who feels this inconsistency, this imbalance in life, to do whatever it is within their power to give to someone who needs a leg up, whether it’s a financial donation, a note of gratitude or support, or the gift of your time. You’ll never regret dropping that stone into the pond and watching how far the ripples go.