It’s not every day that we see around 15 volunteers with bright red shirts walking into our warehouse to help pack backpacks for our WGYB families. On Thursday, March 12, associates at Buena Park Target visited us to pack over 200 backpacks full of nutritious food. They loved us so much that they asked to volunteer again within a few weeks. Target, you are always welcome at Giving Children Hope! Thank you for partnering with us in our mission to alleviate hunger in our community!
CarMax was up and ready at 8:00am to volunteer with us on Friday, March 6. It was our first time hosting CarMax at our warehouse and it was awesome getting to know some of the businesses that make our community so great. Around 10 CarMax employees came in to help our WGYB families pick out the food that they wanted to take home. CarMax also helped sort some of our food donations to make it easier for our families. Thank you, CarMax, for all your help and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with you!
With the Natural Products Expo West being in Anaheim this year, employees of United Natural Foods, Inc. reached out to GCHope so they could volunteer with us while they were in the area. They dropped by our warehouse on Thursday, March 5 to pack over 200 backpacks of nutritious food! We had the privilege of hosting UNFI employees from all over the country – from Washington to Missouri to New Hampshire. As “the leading independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods,” UNFI was a great asset to our WGYB program that day. Thank you, UNFI, for all your hard work and help and we hope to see you again soon!
Our desire for each WGYB family is that they would become a stronger and healthier family unit. We hope that one day our families no longer need the assistance that we provide. Today we get the honor of reporting to you one of these success stories.
The Lopez family lived in 3-bedroom apartment with 14 people. Leticia Lopez and her husband lived in one of the rooms with their three children. The other rooms are occupied by Leticia’s mom and siblings, each of whom have children. Leticia says it’s exhausting to live with 14 people. “There is no privacy,” she said. “You feel like you never stop cooking or cleaning.”
Leticia’s husband, Rafael is a mechanic and works long and late hours to make ends meet. Since they moved in with their family two years ago their main priority has been saving to afford their own place. Leticia dreamed of beds for each of her children and a place to call home. When asked how the We’ve Got Your Back food program helped her family, Leticia looked me straight in the eye and said, “I felt like I was able to help provide for my kids.” Her kids love getting the fresh fruit in the backpacks. The Lopez family has a blast watching a movie together when there is popcorn in the backpack. They feel like they’re out at the movies.
Leticia is an extraordinary mother and that’s not all she’s good at. She has been taking classes since 2013 to become a licensed vocational nurse. While we were chatting she pulled out a certificate with “Valedictorian” printed on it. There was such pride and honor in her smile as she shared how much she loves school.
The Lopez family’s time has finally come. Just a few weeks ago they moved into their first home. Leticia joyously shared how the kids couldn’t wait to have their own rooms and a backyard to play in. Rafael is planning on commuting daily to his job in Orange County until one day he can find something closer, but for now they are just thankful to have a home. For a family moving from one room to three, it requires a lot of furniture, housewares, and kitchen supplies. GCHope gladly gave as much as Leticia could carry in one trip to get them started but we are accepting donations of beds, couches and any other furnishings needed to fill the Lopez home.
When asked how the GCHope family can be praying for her, Leticia replied, “Pray that we are able to keep up with the bills. This is a big step for us.” Thank you to all our donors for believing in GCHope so that families like the Lopezes can one day accomplish and attain goals they never thought possible.
GCHope will continue to support Leticia and her family. If you or anyone you know is interested in donating please call 714-523-4454 or email email@example.com.
Leticia with her GCHope supplies to start off her new home!
It was an exciting weekend for GCHope! In honor of his birthday, Vampire Diaries actor Kendrick Sampson wanted to do something to support Syrian refugees on the other side of the world. He decided that instead of presents this year he would ask his friends and family to donate to Giving Children Hope to provide more food, clothing, and hygiene supplies to these refugees that have fled persecution. Kendrick even invited GCHope to come to the party! GCHope staff members Carly Visbal, Communications Coordinator, and SueLynn Yoo, Development Associate, headed to LA for the event last Saturday.
“It was amazing how many of Kendrick’s friends really wanted to do something to help Syrian refugees,” said Carly. “We just felt blessed to be there.”
Kendrick introduced Carly and SueLynn to his guests and asked them to speak to the group about the 20 containers of disaster relief supplies we have sent to these desperate people. There were so many guests who wanted to know more and generously donated. Thanks to Kendrick’s heart to help Syrian refugees in need, he helped to raise $1,580!
Thank you, Kendrick, for choosing to serve others on your birthday. GCHope is so humbled by your generosity in sharing your special day with us.
Pictured left to right SueLynn Yoo, Kendrick Sampson, and Carly Visbal.
Giving Children Hope has sent 20 containers of relief supplies to Syrian refugees in the Middle East since 2012. This past fall, Executive Director Sean Lawrence visited Lebanon to oversee distribution and meet with many of the families we are serving. GCHope’s website was hacked in January by Syrian rebel supporters, although no donor information was compromised. Since then we have taken precautions to update website security. GCHope plans to send 12 more 40-foot containers of needed supplies such as clothing, hygiene kits, and food. Our greatest need is acquiring unused clothing to send to refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. If you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m not sure why, but I had a hard time writing this blog. I started in one direction, and I’ve since re-written it about four different times with four different topics. Then I watched the series finale of one of my favorite shows (RIP, Parks & Rec) and what I wanted to share with you became slightly more clear.
In general, when people hear that I work for a nonprofit, their immediate response is, “Wow, that must be so rewarding,” or “You must love working there.” Don’t get me wrong, it is rewarding and I do love working here. This place is indescribably special. The work we do makes a difference to thousands upon thousands of people, and that’s not something I take lightly.
But in all honesty? Sometimes I find myself frustrated and exhausted with my work, forgetful of why I’m doing it in the first place. Too often I get bogged down in paperwork and dealing with a copier jam and ordering supplies — the word “administration” is in my title, after all — and it is difficult to remember the big picture of what we’re doing and why it’s important.
Enter Leslie Knope. She’s said a lot of quotable things in the tenure of Parks & Rec, but her reason for why she loves public service rang true to me:
“We do it because we get the chance to work hard at work worth doing, alongside a team of people we love.”
Leave it to me to take inspiration from a television show, but there it is. Work hard at work worth doing, with people you love. That’s Giving Children Hope in a nutshell.
The work we do can be difficult. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s mental, it’s always emotional, and it’s 100% worth doing. Sending cleaning and medical supplies to people fighting Ebola, or clothing to refugees in Lebanon who have nothing, or providing food to a family struggling to make ends meet inspires me. But when I’m up here in the office, sometimes I lose sight of that.
What helps me get through the days when all I see are frustrations are the people working right alongside me — our staff, board, and volunteers. Their dedication and their hearts of love and compassion for the people we serve heals my heart when it’s been worn thin by the mundane.
So even when I’m feeling burnt out or I’m just plain tired of un-jamming the copier, their presence is rejuvenating. Their service to the children and families we serve inspires me and reminds me why I’m here.
You are my team, and it is worth doing this work right alongside you.
Written by: Jessica Rickerts, Director of Administration
Jessica is pictured on the right.
Jenny Lozano has attended GCHope’s Wrapping Parties every Christmas for the last few years, but this year she stepped it up big time. She stopped by the GCHope facility in December to drop off a haul of Christmas presents and met Christine Sanchez, Director of Community Programs. Christine gave Jenny and her son a more in-depth tour of our facility and programs. Jenny seemed amazed at all the GCHope does and mentioned that she would love to be more involved. Jenny owns a bookkeeping business and has offered her services, pro bono, to other nonprofits, without any takers. A light bulb went off in Christine’s head — GCHope’s partner US Bank is working with us to provide financial literacy classes for WGYB families. Jenny’s expertise could be a great addition to making this dream a reality.
Volunteering to better the lives of others takes on many different forms; for Jenny, it started with donating toys and may turn into teaching a valuable skill to families in need. What does volunteering look like for you? Whatever way you are able to give – if you have a special skill, time to pack backpacks, or able to donate financially – you are a valuable member of the GCHope team. Together we are helping the lives of children across the street and around the world.
Thanks to the seventy Thrivent Members that came by this Saturday to volunteer!
Helping out in our We’ve Got Your Back & Giving For Living programs, they helped get us ahead of schedule for these two programs this week. They helped us by packing over 250 backpacks and sorting through 9 pallets of basic needs inventory. All of these resources will be getting into the hands of vulnerable children and families here in Southern California over the next weeks and months. Thank you so much for supporting these children!!
We had a great time hosting you and hope to see you all again soon.
I have had the privilege and honor of representing Giving Children Hope on a medical mission to Vietnam to provide care to the poor people in some of the most remote villages of the country. This is my 3rd year with GCHope but my 12th year overall of traveling to Vietnam with The Good Samaritan Medical Dental Ministry (GSMDM). The Good Samaritans are a Christian non-profit organization who has been in existence for 15 years providing care for the people of Vietnam.
Our mission team is made up of volunteer doctors, nurses, technicians, interpreters, and various people who just want to help in some way to lessen the burden of these wonderful people. A primary care team visits villages each day treating between 250-450 patients.
Last year, for the third time we returned to Cao Bang in the extreme northern part of Vietnam on the Chinese border. It is considered the most poor and needy province in all of Vietnam. In a 2-week period the 2 teams combined to treat around 1,650 patients. There were 65 people that received surgical procedures that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have.
For the first time, we brought a construction team to to help make improvements wherever they could in the town. We decided to refurbish an abandoned soccer stadium for a soccer tournament that we sponsored. It became a great communal event when the local townspeople joined us in the process. The soccer tournament was a huge success in the newly renovated stadium. We provided new uniforms and shoes for all the teams participating as well as cooking hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone who came to watch the games. What an awesome endeavor and event it was. The construction team plans to revisit Cao Bang with hopes of building a school or church.
Another new endeavor this year was the start of ESL (English as a second language) classes in the city of Cao Bang. The future goal is to have year-round ESL training for many people.
We hope and believe that by returning year after year to Cao Bang, a community we love deeply, a long-lasting sustainable impact will be made on in this community. We are gearing up and planning our next upcoming trip to Cao Bang this July.
Written by: Bob Brauchler