Chege ran with desperation in his eyes. Sweat poured down the 8-year-old boy’s face as he took in another panicky, dust-filled breath. He sprinted through fields of brittle grass and down the winding roads that surrounded his Kenyan neighborhood. He had to find help.
His mother was dying.
The night before, his father — an abusive, violent alcoholic — had beaten Chege’s mother during a drunken rage.
The next morning, she called to Chege, saying, “I want you to run and find your father, because I feel like I’m going to die.”
The boy ran as fast as he could, but his mother passed before they returned. Chege thought his future died with his mother. But, his life was far from over. Chege was enrolled in a school where Convoy of Hope fed hungry children like him. It was there that he also received his first pair of shoes.
He started studying diligently, and his teachers began to see a difference in his performance. With a nutritious meal in his stomach and determination in his soul, he advanced three grade levels in one year.
Eventually, he finished school and was accepted into university to study chemistry.
Today, Chege finds time to tutor students in the school he attended as a child — the same place where Convoy of Hope still feeds children every school day. “I’m telling them they are valuable,” he says. “I tell them I was like them. Hungry in my body and in my mind, and people like Convoy of Hope came along and fed me. And now, because of them, I will never be the same. I will accomplish my vision. And nothing can stop me.”
That’s what we call “hope multiplied.” From the outskirts of a Kenyan village to major metropolitan cities within the U.S., Convoy of Hope is partnering with schools, churches, community groups, and friends to spread hope to people who just need to know someone cares.
More than 20 years ago, Convoy of Hope began conducting Community Events in Chicago, Illinois. Year after year, we brought together churches, businesses, and civic organizations to reach out to thousands of honored guests in these communities. With the assistance of more than 1,000 volunteers at each event, we returned each year with groceries, job fairs, medical and dental services, children’s shoes, and more — all of which was free of charge to guests. Local authorities and law enforcement said they saw a tangible difference in the communities because of the kindness shown.
Through Community Events held in 2015, 2016, and 2018, we served 28,193 Guests of Honor living in the Chicago area. “Lives have been changed because of the generosity of your partners and the diligence of the workers,” says one Chicago pastor.
When COVID-19 threatened to cancel the 2020 Chicago Community Event altogether, the large-scale gathering was in jeopardy. But the community was determined to make it happen. They knew what it would do for children and families in need. Through a Disaster Services model — where food and services are distributed safely — more than 5,000 families were still served. Despite the pandemic and all the obstacles it brought that day, hope was multiplied.
“Each day, Convoy of Hope’s friends and partners make sacrifices so others can receive real help and lasting hope,” says Hal Donaldson, Convoy of Hope’s President. “From our Children’s Feeding programs, to the job training initiatives for women, to water and agriculture initiatives for farmers, to Community Events and our disaster relief efforts, people are having their hope restored and multiplied.”
This story was first published in Convoy of Hope’s Hope Quarterly magazine. Read the rest of the issue here.
Anish has big dreams, but to achieve them, he has to study hard and needs #Food to stay focused. “Since we had this lunch,” Anish said, referring to the food he receives through Convoy of Hope at #School, “I love to study and work more.” Learn more at http://h.ope.is/3qLdJyp.