Page 1

On Our Cover A Cambodian boy flashes a big smile as he and his brother dip their hands into a pail full of clean water, thanks to a borehole constructed by Food for the Hungry. Because water is now more accessible in many rural villages in Cambodia, the health and economic conditions of the villagers have improved significantly.

6:8 Summer 2006, Volume 2 Check out daily news and features at President Benjamin K. Homan Vice President Matt Panos Executive Editor Greg Forney Managing Editor Rez Gopez-Sindac Graphic Designer Lisa Leff Editorial Resource Roseann Marchese Melanie Travis Sr. Director, Ministry Partners John Frick We welcome comments and feedback. E-mail us at: Or send them to: Food for the Hungry 6:8 Magazine 1224 E. Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85034 Phone: 480-998-3100 (Toll free) 800-2-HUNGERS Food for the Hungry thanks photographer and advocate Rodney Rascona for providing us with excellent photography. We also thank O’Neill Printing for their support in maintaining graphic industry standards at reduced costs, allowing us to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts and resources. Food for the Hungry is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Copryright 2006 by Food for the Hungry. All rights reserved. 6:8 is published quarterly by Food for the Hungry, Inc. Reproduction of any part of this publication without written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited.




Food for the Hungry Vision God called and we responded until physical and spiritual hungers ended worldwide.

Mission To walk with churches, leaders and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation. Motivated by Christ’s love, we achieve our mission using a three-dimensional approach: • Speaking out to all people and nations about God’s call to end physical and spiritual hungers. • Sending people to share God’s love. • Serving the transformation of communities.

Scriptural Basis “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8


editor’s letter

The Bible talks a great deal about water. In fact, references to water – both physical and symbolic – flow through its pages, from Genesis to Revelation. Early on, we are introduced to water gushing from out of the ground and throughout Eden, bringing life and provision for the plants and vegetation. Then we read about the floodgates of heaven opening and rain falling for 40 days and 40 nights, covering and purifying the earth with judgment. In the Scriptures, water symbolizes both physical and spiritual life. It represents God’s care and provision as well as cleansing and truth. We see this exemplified by the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. God divided the Red Sea, forming a wall of protection and salvation for His people. After this miraculous escape, the Israelites trudged through the desert for three days tired and thirsty. On this and many other occasions, God rescued them, providing drinking water as they wandered through the wilderness. Many of us find it difficult to relate to the Israelites threeday waterless existence. Even during the heat of summer in Phoenix, Arizona, I have an abundance of water that is easily accessible, flowing from faucets, water bottles and even from the outside hose that fills up a play pool for my kids. Abundance can dull the senses. It can cause us to lose sight of the millions in this world that have very little. Easily forgotten are the women and children who walk miles and stand in water lines for hours; the children dying from disease and malnutrition as a result of drinking contaminated water; entire communities stunted in dry, barren hopelessness.

The water programs of Food for the Hungry bring life and vitality into these communities, providing the foundation necessary for them to cultivate the resources God provides in creation. Out of our water systems flow safe, clean water that quenches physical thirst and irrigates arid farms. And our work points people to the source of it all – Jesus Christ, the One who invites all to come and drink freely of the water of life (Rev. 22:17). As Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman at the well, those who drink this water will never thirst (John 4:14). The physical and spiritual references to water are a great illustration of our work in developing countries around the world. Our holistic approach to ministry addresses both physical and spiritual hungers. Our response involves walking alongside leaders, churches and families. In short, we listen. By the grace and power of God, we identify needs and mobilize community members to bring about change. Clean water flows. Health and hygiene practices improve. Agricultural yields increase; and living water flows through the hearts of many. The prayer and hope of everyone involved with 6:8 is that you catch a glimpse in this issue of the work Food for the Hungry is doing to overcome physical and spiritual hungers worldwide. We are so thankful for your participation in this work. Because of your support, water flows in the hard places, bringing healing to weary bodies and broken spirits. Blessings,

Greg Forney Executive Editor




inside 6:8

Volume 2 | Summer 2006

3 6

Editor’s Letter From the President “Lunga Jeeta” Reaching the hard places often requires us to take a long journey. FH News Frontliners When Passion Meets Profession With a heart for the poor and a commitment to quality relief response, Sara Sywulka is clearly the right person for the job.

10 24


One At a Time The Journey is Hard, but the Blessings are Sweet One man in one small village inspires transformation. Vision Partners Teeing It Up for Hope For every hole Jeffrey Houser plays at Food for the Hungry’s golf marathon, families get a chance at a better life.




Ministry Highlights Building Bridges through Child Sponsorship God is in the business of connecting people and transforming their lives. Often it begins with a generous soul making a commitment to help improve someone else’s life.


Hope Wells Up in the Hard Places A look at the water crisis that leaves many developing countries battling hunger, poverty and death – and why the water programs of Food for the Hungry work.




this water tap installed by Food for the Hungry provides clean water for many people in Meta Robi, a district in the Ethiopian region of Oromia.




from the president




“Lunga Jeeta” By Benjamin Homan

“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take...” – Jeremiah 31:21


ometimes the road to “doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God” in the hard places looks long and even impassable. Reaching these remote places often requires what a friend of mine who speaks Italian calls a “lunga jeeta” or “long journey.” And how important it is to mark the road and take note of the highway.




Don Sweeting, pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Denver, CO; Moses Ngirio Child Development Program (CDP) coordinator in Piswa, Uganda; and Ben Homan, president of Food for the Hungry express joy at seeing the children who will soon benefit from a new school that Food for the Hungry is building in partnership with Cherry Creek Church. I thought about that long journey a few short weeks ago as I trekked into the African bush to a mountaintop village in Uganda named Piswa, which we accessed by a four-wheel drive truck that laboriously coursed through muddy, cliff-edge paths. We scaled the mountain road higher and higher, our composure jolted every now and then as we negotiated potholed routes that seemed to be mere “suggestions” rather than real roads. At journey’s end, we were literally in the clouds. One moment we had visibility. And another moment we were engulfed in dense fog. “Lunga jeeta.” Yes, a long journey. But a good one – and one that’s necessary. As I sat with the village leaders in Piswa and listened to their story, I reflected on the One who made a much longer journey, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who left the glory of heaven to

come to earth to “serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Talk about “lunga jeeta!” The village leaders explained that they had lived in the forest for centuries until only a few years ago. They discussed

Alex Cheptai, head of the Food for the Hungryinitiated treeplanting task force (left), shows FH President Ben Homan rows of eucalyptus trees. The farmers in Piswa have begun planting trees in their fields to keep their soil from being washed away. So far, 15,000 trees have been planted.

8 8


6:8 6:8


openly the violence and conflict in their land. Then the children of the village joined our discussion. It was the children who shared their personal feelings of loss and heartbreak caused by HIV/AIDS. But our conversation did not remain in the rut of despair. At the end of the “lunga jeeta” I was shown a highway of hope. The villagers took me to their fields where Food for the Hungry had helped plant thousands – yes, thousands – of trees. “These trees will keep our soil from being washed away,” they explained. “Thank you for planting these trees. The trees will keep us from hunger.” We toured the medical clinic that Food for the Hungry had built. And we visited a school that Food for the Hungry is constructing. The overflow of gratitude was almost embarrassing. The children giggled and cheered. The people of the village danced around us and ushered us in a wedding-like processional. They pounded on drums; they sang and shouted with joy. They even threw rice into the air in celebration. I promised the people of Piswa that I would return to the United States and tell Food for the Hungry’s friends and partners of their hard work and deep gratitude. And that is why I am

The villagers in Piswa sing and shout with joy as they usher the Food for the Hungry team in a procession of thanksgiving.

writing about my own long journey to Piswa. As we turn our minds to Africa and to the hard places around the world, allow me to share with you some recent comments on the situation in Uganda that I think convey a sense of duty and urgency. Concerning the ongoing conflict in northern U g a n d a , Ugandan pastor Onono-Onweng implored, “End the world’s worst war.” Another observer, Stella Ayo-Odongo, pointed out, “The violent death rate in northern Uganda is three times higher than Iraq.” This world harbors many rough roads, painful twists and agonizing turns. It is enough to overwhelm us at times. But I am convinced that God calls us to long journeys that inspire us to do more than just dwell in darkness. He calls us to traverse tough paths to bring the hope that

truly makes a difference in the lives of people – the hope that comes from the One who endured the ultimate “lunga jeeta” of history. As Food for the Hungry labors in Piswa and in so many other hard places, it is our privilege and joy to reflect the very heart and character of the Almighty. Sometimes it is done by planting trees to enable local farmers to be productive. Sometimes we build clinics and schools. But always we are on a journey to communicate the length, breadth and depth of the love of God. Not an easy task. Not a road to take lightly. But it is a road that is worth marking and a road that God’s people must take if this world is to know about Jesus and the best “lunga jeeta” of all. Doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly. That’s a long journey. But it is worth every pothole, twist and turn. 9

he calls us us to traverse tough paths to bring the hope that truly makes a difference in the lives of people.

6:8 6:8



Catch a Glimpse: A snapshot of the latest Food for the Hungry news and events from around the world. FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY News

Relief and Development Efforts in Asia Gain Ground Yogyakarta, JAVA, Indonesia

On May 27, an early morning earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale rocked the Yogyakarta region of Indonesia and parts of central Java, killing more than 6,000 people. Food for the Hungry was on the ground the next day (even before the Jogyakarta airport was opened for traffic) and started distributing tarps, lanterns, tents, kerosene, cooking stoves and hygiene kits to families in Bantul, the town hardest hit by the earthquake. Three days later, Food for the Hungry’s medical emergency team arrived, bringing medicine and surgery tools for orthopedic operations. Five staff members of Food for the Hungry in Banda Aceh, including Dr. Demere Seyoum, country director for Indonesia, went to Yogyakarta to respond to the needs of the Javanese survivors. Two of the staffers who survived the December 2004 tsunami now care for the people in Java, many of whom have helped them during the tsunami. Food for the Hungry centered its relief and development work in Yogyakarta in collaboration with churches and other local and international nonprofit organizations. Dr. Seyoum is encouraged by the involvement of local churches in the relief work. He believes churches should be active and responsible members of the community. “As they go out to minister to the victims, we believe God’s light will shine through them,” he says.

MEULABOH, ACEH BARAT, INDONESIA The education programs initiated by the “Rising to Help” partnership of the City of Phoenix and the people of Meulaboh is in full swing. Two times a week, a Food for the Hungry English-speaking staff member meets with a group of local staffers to teach them English grammar and vocabulary.

English classes also are ongoing in public schools where students learn and practice their English three times a week between their classes at school and the English camps. This program has given Food for the Hungry credibility in the eyes of Indonesian teachers and parents so much so that Food for the Hungry has been asked to introduce this program to more public schools. In addition, Food for the Hungry is equipping Indonesian teachers with new methodologies and strategies for teaching and interacting with their students. Teacher retreats take place at least twice a year, helping teachers build new skills and fostering relationships and cooperation between teachers and Food for the Hungry staff members. – Heidi Kredit Food for the Hungry Relief Coordinator MEULABOH teachers learn creative teaching strategies.

Food for the Hungry staff members unload tents from a truck for distribution to earthquake survivors. Inset: Many families were left homeless by the Yogyakarta earthquake.

10 SUMMER 2006


Concerts for a Cause LIFELIGHT September 1-3, Sioux Falls, SD One hundred Christian artists. Six show stages.Three days and three nights of worshipful music and inspiring messages. For the past nine years, LifeLight has been bringing families, churches and ministries together to enjoy three days of music, outreach and recreational fun. Through contemporary Christian media and shortterm mission trips, LifeLight seeks to reach those who are searching for the love that only Jesus Christ can give. Last year, 275,000 people attended LifeLight. Food for the Hungry, one of the sponsors of LifeLight, was at the festival to provide attendees many opportunities to help disadvantaged people around the world. Just like Food for the Hungry, Alan and Vicki Greene, founders of LifeLight Communications and facilitators of LifeLight Music Festival, are passionate about serving the poor and transforming impoverished communities. In July, Alan and Vicki traveled to Bogra, Bangladesh, where Food for the Hungry serves the low-caste Horijon people. The Greenes also visited communities in Ethiopia, where Food for the Hungry has established a program that promotes home-based care, prevention and education for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

ROCK THE DESERT July 27-29, Midland, Texas An estimated 40,000 Christian music lovers gathered recently at the Rock the Desert festival in Midland, TX, to listen to the music of Casting Pearls, Barlow Girl, Jeremy Camp and Delirious. Food for the Hungry “rocked the desert” by challenging families and individuals to become child sponsors and help transform the lives of impoverished children and communities around the world. ANA LAURA Texas Tour New Christian artist Ana Laura recently released her selftitled album to the delight of both Spanish- and Englishspeaking audiences. In a recently concluded three-city tour, 20-year-old Ana presented the ministry of Food for the Hungry and encouraged attendees to sponsor needy children in developing countries. ANA LAURA

Alan and Vicki take various bands to different states to encourage people to become child sponsors. Through one of their tours early this year, 75 more children in Bangladesh now have access to good education, health care and spiritual development. At this year’s LifeLight, families and individuals were encouraged to sponsor children in Zeway, an HIV/AIDSaffected community in Ethiopia. – Kerry Mecusker, Artist Program Communications Coordinator SHOUTFEST Shout at the Drought, Fall 2006

Global Summary of the AIDS Epidemic Christian music tour Shoutfest kicked off in August with 25 dates throughout October. Shoutfest is partnering with Food for the Hungry to offer music fans opportunities to help the more than 13 million people affected by the drought in eastern Africa. At Shoutfest, Billy Buchanan, lead singer of Fusebox, will raise awareness of the recent drought and urge festival attendees to “shout at the drought” by becoming child sponsors or by going on a mission trip to affected areas. Child sponsorship pledges will benefit the children and families in Kenya.

• 40.3 million people live with HIV in 2005 • 4.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2005 • 3.1 million died of AIDS in 2005 Source: UNAIDS/WHO AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2005




President Bush Appoints Food for the Hungry’s Benjamin Homan to HELP Commission

Benjamin Homan, president of Food for the Hungry, joins Helping to Enhance the Livelihood of People Around the Globe Commission (HELP) following a recent appointment by President George W. Bush. Members of the Commission are selected from among individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in foreign assistance, particularly development and humanitarian work. Congressman Frank Wolf, the original sponsor of the HELP Commission legislation, challenged

the members of the Commission to think boldly and openly and seek to define ways to make foreign assistance more effective for the taxpayers and recipients. “The HELP Commission combines what is best in our nation – America’s heart of generosity and our spirit of innovation. I am honored to join with my fellow Commissioners in doing the right thing and doing it better,” Homan says. “Poverty, disease, war and disaster cry out for action that is accountable,

heartfelt and effective.” The purpose of the HELP Commission is to study U.S.foreign assistance and recommend ways to increase effectiveness.  The two-year HELP Commission is currently in its first stage, which focuses on gathering a complete picture of all U.S. foreign assistance and development programs. The final stage of the Commission’s work will be to generate a report outlining recommendations to be considered by the President, the U.S. Congress and the American public.

Ben Homan, representing the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACFVA), of which he is chairman, presents Andrew Natsios with a framed picture of a USAID grant beneficiary as a token of appreciation for Natsios’ service as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development from 2001 to 2006. The award was given during a public meeting at the Hotel Washington in Washington, D.C. early this year.

Equipping College Students for Servant Leadership Go ED., Food for the Hungry’s overseas academic program, is making a huge difference in nations all over the world. Go ED. started the fall semester with 18 college students traveling to Africa in August. The spring 2007 program is well under way, with several applications already being evaluated at the Food for the Hungry headquarters. Go ED. partners with Greenville College, Huntington College, Houghton University, George Fox University, and Daystar University of Kenya to teach young adults about God’s heart for the poor through a first-hand, life-changing semester in a developing country. FH Interns on the Move

• 4 interns head to Kenya this summer • 4 interns signed up for spring `07 • 8 interns signed up for fall `07 • 2 interns signed up for summer `07

12 SUMMER 2006


• 8 interns are in Phoenix for summer ‘06 • 2 interns are in Washington, D.C. office, partnering with International Justice Mission (IJM)

Unprecedented Partnership

From left: Richard Figueroa from Eastern University, a Sabana Cruz leader, and Greg Klimovitz from Goshen Baptist Church.

Last March, Eastern University ( and Goshen Baptist Church ( teamed up to connect with the community of Sabana Cruz in the Dominican Republic, ushering in a new kind of ministry partnership in the history of Food for the Hungry. Here’s how it happened. A year ago, Eastern University, an AdoptA-Community (AAC) partner of Food for the Hungry, expressed desire to maximize their community impact. Team leader Greg Klimovitz was graduating from Eastern and looking to continue his Food for the Hungry involvement into the next phase of his life. At the time, Klimovitz was transitioning into his new role as youth pastor of Goshen Baptist in West Chester, Pa. Passionate about the vision of Food for the Hungry, Klimovitz presented to the leadership of his church the idea of connecting the community of Sabana Cruz with Eastern University. Then he discussed the concept with Food for the Hungry team and volunteer representatives. Anne McCain, Volunteer Ministry regional manager, found the idea exciting. “In a partnership like this, everyone benefits,” she says. “The Eastern students bring energy, zeal and enthusiasm. The Goshen members bring maturity and wisdom.” Sally Harrison, member of Goshen Baptist, exclaims: “I was very much impressed with the Eastern University students, and I thank Food for the Hungry for the work that they do in Sabana Cruz. I am so glad I had the opportunity to participate.” – Kelly L. Shondelmyer, Short-term Team Ministry representative

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY News Tom Rand Reaches Hunger Ride’s End of Trail

Tom Rand and Food for the Hungry President Ben Homan share a triumphant moment. Inset: Andrew, a 7-year-old boy from Oregon, hosted a garage sale and donated the proceeds to Hunger Ride.

Children under the Trees Project in Full Swing

In March, Food for the Hungry raised more than $270,000 to build 33 classrooms for thousands of children in Umutara, Rwanda, who gather under the trees in a crowded park for their daily classes. Construction of the classrooms has started. Soon, many children will have access to quality education and a brighter future. Two teams from Food for the Hungry will be in Rwanda to help build the classrooms.The dates are October 7-18 and October 21-November 1. If you are interested to join any of the teams, please send an e-mail to or call Melissa Bost at (480) 609-7794.

Rwimiyaga Primary School

On July 15, Tom Rand pedaled into Seaside, Ore., officially completing the 50-day, 3,500mile bike ride that started in Charleston, S.C. Food for the Hungry President Ben Homan joined Rand on the last 5 miles of the journey, and both men concluded the ride at the historic end of the Lewis and Clark trail in Seaside. Rand, a 4th grade school teacher from Memphis, Tenn., made the decision to ride his bike across America to raise money and awareness about the plight of needy children in Zeway, Ethiopia, many of whom are HIV/AIDS orphans. Interestingly, one of Rand’s avid supporters is a young boy named Andrew, who, after hearing about Rand’s Hunger Ride, set up a garage sale to help raise money for the project.

Hunger Corps Fast Facts • There are 85 Hunger Corps (Food for the Hungry long-term missionaries) serving in 18 countries. • 2 1 more Hunger Corps missionaries will have been on the field by the end of the year.

6 :8 Sunday Comes to Churches Across America On October 15, Food for the Hungry Advocates across the country will visit churches and invite them to get involved in bringing hope to the world’s poor. Called 6:8 Sunday, the day-long activity seeks to challenge churches to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8)). Advocates do this by speaking at worship services and Sunday school classes and hosting information tables. Advocates will invite church members to become child sponsors, to pray, to give or to join a short-term mission team trip with Food for the Hungry.  If you are interested in hosting or participating in a 6:8 Sunday, call the Volunteer Advocate department at (480) 6097706 or e-mail

Making All Things New

The Campus Ministries department of Food for the Hungry held its first conference on Sept. 15-16, 2006 at Bethany Community Church in Tempe, Ariz. The theme – “Making All Things New” – was aimed to equip college students, campus leaders and church leaders to tackle global issues with a biblical worldview. The conference speakers were Scotty Smith, pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tenn.; Ben Homan, Food for the Hungry president; and Bill Clark, director of church relations for International Justice Mission. Music was provided by Sandra McCracken and Derek Webb.

WORDS TO LIVE BY “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

– Micah 6:8


SUMMER 2006 13


Rebuilding Walls and Removing Rubble in Muzaffarabad Gabions are galvanized wire cages that are filled with rocks and used to retain walls, build support or for slope protection.

By Matt Swenson

(Editor’s Note: Matt Swenson is relief unit logistic manager for Food for the Hungry. He wrote this update in June.) Muzaffarabad City, Kashmir, Pakistan – With daily temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees, summer has officially started in Pakistan. Most of the emergency relief work has ended. Many camps have packed up from Muzaffarabad and people have begun to return to their cooler mountain villages to repair homes and roads, replant, and rebuild their lives. Muzaffarabad, however, still remains a mess, with estimates of up to 16 million cubic feet of rubble in the city alone and thousands of its residents still living in tents. The close of relief work brought an end to the spontaneous camps distribution program where Food for the 14



Hungry was the lead nongovernmental organization. After this program ended, we embarked on two reconstruction projects: gabion protection walls (road construction) and extensive rubble removal.

Gabion Project

Gabions, also known as “welded wire” retaining walls, are galvanized wire cages filled with rocks and then used as large bricks for retaining walls to prevent landslides. They are especially useful to maintain riverbanks and in holding back mountainsides in protection of roads. All around the city, there is a great need to repair damaged roads and prevent further erosion. Road embankments collapsed during the violent earthquake and aftershocks.  As the river banks were destroyed, erosion dramatically increased its wear on riverside roadways, structures and the very valuable flat land that is so rare in the Himalayan Mountains.  Food for the Hungry works with the Development Authority Muzaffarabad (DAM) in rebuilding walls in the city where sections of road had literally disappeared down the mountain. Food for the Hungry is currently building five large walls on a major road in Muzaffarabad. In addition, we have provided about 600 gabions and technical support to private sites in the surrounding villages.

Clearing Debris

Food for the Hungry relief team in Pakistan: (From left) Matt Swenson, logistics manager; Joel Crocker, program manager; Ilyas Masih, rubble removal program coordinator; Paul Wagner, program manager; and Faisal Malik, protection wall program manager.

A Pakistani gabion project supervisor contemplates the task at hand.

Rubble removal is another monumental project. When the government decided that the distribution program must end and all the people living in tents must go home, residents in the city found themselves in a bind as there was too much wreckage on their property. To date, Food for the Hungry has cleared 700,000 cubic feet of rubble using heavy machinery, tractor trolleys and cash-for-work employees with hand tools. Every day up to 100 workers work two shifts (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.). We closely coordinate with the Municipal Corporation Muzaffarabad (MCM), and they have been extremely grateful for our relief efforts. We have been in the local paper several times, often in mention with MCM in connection with our rubble removal program. We have cleared rubble in two areas of the city – Sethi Bagh and Upper Plate – and are now moving into a third area. We did not know how the people in the communities

would react, but we were pleased to learn that it was exactly what they needed to give them hope to start rebuilding. The job of removing all the bricks and piles of garbage was overwhelming for any one family, but as soon as Food for the Hungry got involved, the entire community joined in and together we have been removing up to 30,000 cubic feet of rubble a day. People see that clearing the rubble in the city is what they need to move on and rebuild their futures again. Food for the Hungry is honored to be part of that.  (With reports from Matt Ellingson, director of relief, and Joel Crocker, program manager.) To repair this road, retaining walls will be constructed and fill will be carefully placed to rebuild road links that are essential for the community’s economic and social recovery.

THE DAILY SIASAT MUZAFFARABAD Dated: 17 May 2006 “The Rubble Removal program of Food for the Hungry is welcome,” says Zahid Amin, Administrator of the Municipal Corporation of Muzaffarabad (MCM). Mzd: After his recent visit to these rubble removal sites within the city, Zahid Ameen stated his appreciation and gave some suggestions for further improvement. He welcomed the participation of the Food for the Hungry Rubble Removal Program in Upper Plate, Muzaffarabad. Administrator Zahid Amin, Joel Crocker and three other team members of Food for the Hungry together had a very thorough walk through Upper Plate and Central Plate. They spent several hours discussing together, and with members of the local community, strategies on how to make the process of rubble removal faster and more efficient.

An article in The Daily Siasat, a popular evening newspaper in Muzaffarabad, cites the valuable contribution of Food for the Hungry’s rubble removal program to the city’s rebuilding efforts.

Food for the Hungry has cleared about 700,000 cubic feet of rubble using heavy machinery, tractor trolleys and cash-for-work employees.




By Rez Gopez-Sindac

It’s a clear day in the small village of Yoroca in

extraordinary – sprinklers! They watch in awe as these

the Tomoyo region of Bolivia. Amid the sweltering

irrigation devices spray water back and forth in perfect

heat, a group of farmers labor on their reclaimed land.

rhythmic cadence. For them, the sprinklers are much more

They look up frequently from under the brims of their

than just watering tools. They represent hope – and life.

weather-beaten hats and survey the terraces surrounding

To the people of Tomoyo, a well-irrigated land makes

them.This land, once depleted and void of nutrients, now

possible the hope of two or three harvests per

produces an abundance of wheat, peas and beans.

year, resulting in increased crop production

The hardworking farmers work in unison with the sound of what to them is something new and

16 SUMMER 2006


and significant improvement to their way of living.





SINCE THE COMPLETION OF THIS PROJECT, CHRONIC MALNUTRITION IN TOMOYO HAS GONE DOWN 19 PERCENT. The Tomoyo Irrigation Project in Bolivia is an excellent example of a community-based project. It is well constructed, thanks to engineers who developed good, reliable systems. The beneficiaries themselves maintain and manage the irrigation canal.

The Tomoyo irrigation canal, built in 2002, has transformed thousands of lives. A joint undertaking that Food for the Hungry and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) started 10 years ago, the project provides a yearround supply of irrigation water to more than 400 families. Since the completion of this project, chronic malnutrition in Tomoyo has gone down 19 percent. The average income has increased by almost $1,200, and the total production value is up $90,000. The Tomoyo water project is just one example of many successful water programs that Food for the Hungry has developed and implemented to help impoverished communities have access to safe and clean water for household and farming use. And the work continues in many places around the world, in response to a critical demand to provide sufficient access to water for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.1 billion people still do not have access to an adequate supply of drinking water, and some 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. Taking the brunt of the water shortage are the world’s most disadvantaged people – and women and children are the ones who suffer most. In Africa and Asia, women and girls are responsible for supplying water for their families to be used for cooking, drinking, cleaning and farming. This responsibility comes with a hefty price. Untold hours spent collecting water can very well translate into income opportunities, which can lead to a better quality of life for families and communities. In addition, the health and education of children are seriously compromised. Every year, more than 10 million children in developing countries die of diarrhea, dysentery, malaria and other easily preventable diseases before they reach the age of five. Older children miss many days of school as they often spend many hours walking long distances just to fetch water.

18 18 SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006

6:8 6:8

a bright future

But there is good news. Food for the Hungry and other international relief and development organizations have been intensifying their efforts to address the problems of poverty and hunger, water supply and management, health and education, and sustainable development. Keith Wright, Food for the HungryKenya deputy country director, and who previously served as director of food security for Food for the Hungry’s USAIDfunded food security programming and support, makes no modest assessment of the organization’s water programs. “Our water interventions are very concrete and visible,” he says. “People see immediate change, and that’s very encouraging.”

Program Integration

Wright says a number of strategies have proven tremendously effective in meeting basic human needs for water and, frankly, all other major problems as well. He emphasizes that for Food for the Hungry, there is no such thing as stand-alone programs. This means, he says, that there is no single project that is separate from the other programs and resources of Food for the Hungry. “We don’t just work on agriculture production or small business development or water,” Wright says. “Our programs are intentionally knit together, and we make sure they are clear on achieving our goals within the community.” Food for the Hungry accomplishes this goal by joining hands with churches, leaders and families in the fight against physical and spiritual hungers.

Wright cites Food for the Hungry’s water program in Bolivia as an excellent example of a community-based project. “We had fantastic engineers who really developed good systems – and good systems last longer. And the important part is the community’s ability to maintain the project. When something goes wrong with the project, they don’t need to call the engineers to fix it.”

Appropriate Education

Technology and resources aside, Wright is quick to point out that education is what makes water projects – and all other community projects – work. “Providing water is good, but if that’s all you do, you won’t be successful in improving people’s health.” Wright has six years of field experience in planning, implementing and evaluating integrated agriculture and health programming in Africa. He says he has found that people in remote villages don’t always have an awareness that drinking dirty water is dangerous. “Often they are not convinced that contaminated water is what makes their children sick,” he says. “Rather, many of them believe that diseases are the work of witchcraft.” – KEITH WRIGHT When asked how Food for the Hungry educates people about the importance of clean water, Wright replies: “We take a scientific idea and make it understandable in practical terms.” Flip charts with lots of pictures are effective teaching tools, he adds. Songs with actions and role plays drive home the message as well. Then those who have the willingness and ability to teach others, Wright says, are trained and empowered to pass on new knowledge. The goal is to influence the thinking and practices of the other members of their families, their neighbors and the rest of the community. Wright notes that when education is appropriate to the context of the community, transformation happens almost immediately. “Children become healthier within months, and parents see the point.” Wright says credit for the success of Food for the Hungry’s water programs belongs to the men and women in the organization who are willing to serve the poor above anything else. “They are the ones who make the work possible and fun,” he concludes. 9


Community Participation

At Food for the Hungry, collaboration is imperative. Programs are designed only after consulting with target recipients and appraising the needs of the community. “It’s not like we just drop from the sky and all of a sudden there’s a drilling rig in the village and people wonder what we are doing,” Wright explains. “There is community involvement early on.” If water is what the community needs based on the assessment, Wright says the next step is to determine what is the most appropriate or most cost-effective way to get clean water. “Wells are probably the most expensive, and so we look at it last. But in some places where that’s the only way to get water, it’s worth all the effort.” In northern Kenya, where land is very dry, digging a well is cost-prohibitive. But there are alternatives, says Wright. For example, at a school where Food for the Hungry runs a child development program, a water collection system does a fine job as an immediate step. What’s good about this approach, says Wright, is it encourages a lot of community involvement. “We have a bias towards interventions that the community can build themselves, where there’s a sense of ‘Hey, we did this, and we can keep this up,’” Wright adds.

A young african woman fetches water for household use.


SUMMER 2006 19

Where Water Works Ethiopia Since 1990, water has been an integral component of the rural development program of Food for the Hungry in Ethiopia.The water projects are spread in the western and northern parts of the country and are part of the livelihood improvement program. To date, Food for the Hungry has constructed 162 water systems of which 72 are springs, 81 hand-dug wells, six shallow wells, and three roof catchments. A total of 15,300 beneficiaries enjoy potable water and 950 benefit from the irrigation projects. One of these beneficiaries is Ato Gashaw Alemu, a 38-year-old subsistence farmer in the Tach Gayint District, South Gondar Zone of the Amhara National Regional State. In 2005, Ato Gashaw became a member of a group involved in bio-intensive gardening. (Bio-intensive gardening is a biological form of gardening in which a small area of land is intensively cultivated using nature’s own ingredients to rebuild and then maintain the soil’s productivity.)

15,300 BENEFICIARIES ENJOY POTABLE WATER AND 950 BENEFIT FROM THE IRRIGATION PROJECTS PHOENIX COUNCILWOMAN PEGGY BILSTEN (front row, center) is a source of inspiration and strength for many women and children in Meulaboh.

20 SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006 20

6:8 6:8

Ato Gashaw received vegetable seeds, sweet potato cuttings and cassava cuttings, which he planted and irrigated using water from a nearby hand-dug well. When harvest time came, Ato Gashaw earned 800 Ethiopian Birr (US$ 91.56) from a single production. According to Ato Gashaw, his family’s vegetable consumption needs are entirely covered by his garden, with plenty to share with relatives. Gashaw Belay, director of Food for the Hungry Ethiopia emergency and developmental relief programs, says people appreciate the water projects more than any other development components because of its visible beneficial effects on their health and livelihood. The irrigation water has increased their income and productivity, adds Belay. For this reason, he says the community has been willing to contribute to the cost of the water projects in terms of pooling local construction materials, labor and management.


Uganda Food security in northern Uganda is closely linked with rebel activities that have displaced 1.6 million people, resulting in a devastating humanitarian crisis. An estimated 277,790 people (80 percent the population of Pader district) live in internally displaced people (IDP) camps. In the Pader district, a July 2005 study showed that 44.7 percent of the IDP population spends more than four hours a day to collect water. Furthermore, it was found that 87.3 percent of the households in 13 surveyed camps in the Pader district had access to only 8.8 liters per capita per day – far below the recommended Sphere standards of 15 liters of water per person per day. This lack of potable water combined with very poor sanitation and hygiene conditions create a situation ripe for the rapid spread of diseases such as cholera. Food for the Hungry’s water and food security program in the Pader district of northern Uganda will increase the availability of potable water to 21,379 individuals and provide sanitation services to 37,586 individuals. “We are installing two motorized boreholes and two hand-pump boreholes,” says Sang Hoon, Food for the Hungry-Uganda country director. “The motorized borehole will pump water into large tanks, and the water will be distributed through pipelines to the camps.” The program, funded by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is scheduled for completion by January 2007.

Health and livelihood improve when people have access to clean water. Inset: When designing a water program, one of the first things that Food for the Hungry does is conduct needs assessments and participatory appraisals with the people in the community.


Food for the Hungry works in Kampot, a southern province of Cambodia where infant mortality rates are among the highest in Southeast Asia. Twelve out of 100 children die before the age of five, and 82 percent of children suffer from intestinal parasites. The primary causes are poor access to clean drinking water and a lack of basic understanding of the importance of clean water and good hygiene practices. Only 4 percent of the poorest rural households have access to clean water, and only 8 percent have access to adequate sanitation. In 2005, Food for the Hungry drilled 71 wells in two districts and installed sand filters in nearly 700 homes. Because water is now more accessible, the health and economic conditions of the villagers have significantly improved. Mao Seap, his wife Khem Nary, and their children represent the hundreds of rural families that benefit from Food for the Hungry’s water and sanitation programs. Before the implementation of the programs, most families in Kampot did not have latrines and clean water. Mao Seap’s family collects water from a pond 7 kilometers away, which is almost a two-hour trip by bicycle. During the rainy season, they would use rain water for drinking, but would never boil it. As a result, his children were often sick. But since Mao Seap became a member of the community sanitation committee, things have changed for the better. Nowadays, Mao Seap helps others in the community build latrines and install sand filter systems. Their children have never been healthier. Moreover, Mao Seap and his family have accepted the love of God and now attend at a nearby church. Ouk Meng, Food for the Hungry water and sanitation project leader, says 40 percent of families in Kampot have experienced improved economic conditions as a result of the water programs. He adds that the water and sanitation programs in Cambodia are successful because Food for the Hungry combines installing clean water points with community-based education, emphasizing changes in knowledge, Food for the Hungry’s water program in northern Uganda will attitudes and practices. benefit those who have been internally displaced as a result of rebel activities that have battered the region for the past 20 years.

6:8 6:8

SUMMER2006 2006 21 21 SUMMER


Tomoyo Irrigation Project Update

With improved irrigation systems and agricultural practices, rural farmers in Bolivia can look forward to a more secure livelihood for their families.

Background: In 1996, Food for the Hungry-Bolivia and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered in a project to bring a year-round supply of irrigation water to more than 400 families in the communities of Tomoyo, Yoroca, Sorojchi and Molle Molle (the four communities located on the western side of the Tomoyo River). An irrigation canal was completed in 2002 and now brings water to 2,990 acres of land used for farming.

Bolivia With a GNI per capita of $890, Bolivia is the poorest and most food insecure nation in South America. Two-thirds of Bolivia’s 8.5 million people live below the poverty line, and a third live on less than $1 a day. In communities targeted by Food for the Hungry, chronic malnutrition levels are as high as 59 percent. But through Food for the Hungry, in partnership with USAID, 200,000 direct beneficiaries now look forward to a healthier and more productive life. The food security program includes natural resource management, community institutional strengthening, income generation, and health and water sanitation. Specifically, the main objectives of the health and water program are to provide families increased access to clean water and to improve their general sanitation conditions. This is accomplished by constructing community and household water systems, as well as training beneficiaries in water system maintenance, basic sanitation and hygiene. In poor areas in the cities of Sucre and Potosi, FHI is working on water and sanitation system improvements that will benefit close to 46,000 people.


Households with access to safe water AND SANITATION: 2002 - 2005



• Subsistence irrigation



• Average income was $238


• Migration to Chapare to produce cocoa/cocaine


After (2006)


• Chronic malnutrition is down to 40 percent



• Demand-based irrigated lands




• Average income is $1,140


• Total production value is $90,000


Baseline |


• Chronic malnutrition in Tomoyo was 59 percent

• Total production value was $3,079


22 SUMMER 2006

Before (2002)

Achieved 2005 |

Target 2007

• Migrants returning from Chapare to seek opportunities in Tomoyo



SUMMER 2006 23


24 SUMMER 2006


Featured Frontliner: Sara Sywulka, Developmental Relief Coordinator, Washington, D.C.

With a heart for the poor and an unwavering commitment to quality relief response, Sara Sywulka is clearly the right person for the job. By Rez Gopez-Sindac

Sara Sywulka had it easy. She was fresh out of college when she learned about a job opening at Food for the Hungry for someone who could speak French and had experience working in Africa. One look at the job description and Sywulka could tell it fit her to a tee – she majored in French in college and had lived in Senegal for six months as an international development intern. Born in Guatemala to missionary parents, Sywulka also was no stranger to field work and the challenges that go with it. Not one to pass up an opportunity that might never come again, Sywulka applied for the job – and was hired immediately. That was the easy part. What followed next was her baptism of fire. Sywulka started out as a program coordinator in Rwanda and Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The year was 1995, one year after the genocide, where nearly one million Rwandans were slaughtered during a period of 100 days and large numbers of survivors were forced to flee and live in camps in neighboring countries. For four years, Sywulka labored in the “hard places” of Rwanda and Zaire, directly overseeing Food for the Hungry’s relief and recovery programs for Rwandan refugees. “It was very intense,” Sywulka says of those early years. After her stint in Africa, Sywulka came back to America to pursue graduate studies.

But when Food for the Hungry opened an office in Washington, D.C., Sywulka couldn’t resist getting involved again. Soon she was in the thick of action once again, this time as a developmental relief coordinator in charge of training staff, finding new ways to improve emergency responses and implement longterm programs, providing technical support, conducting assessments, and writing proposals and reports. However, although Sywulka has taken on a new role, one thing remains the same: She still goes to the hard places. Early this year, she traveled to Kamboe and Bubisa, two villages in the pastoralist district of Marsabit, Kenya, that were severely affected by the drought. Here, families make a living by selling cow’s milk. But because

Sara Sywulka meets with villagers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


SUMMER 2006 25

Pakistan PrimE Minister shaukat aziz welcomes Sara Sywulka and a group of men to his office.

of the drought, cows and goats could not produce enough milk. Worst, many farm animals could not survive the famine. “As we walked around the villages, there were animal carcasses everywhere,” Sywulka recalls. “The smell of rotting animals followed us.” Sywulka’s trip to Kenya followed on the heels of an extensive relief work in Pakistan, where she was part of Food for the Hungry’s relief unit that responded to the October earthquake that killed more than 80,000 people and left 3 million individuals without homes. Sywulka says she walked into the city of Balakot, a town that was completely destroyed in the massive Pakistan earthquake, and saw that the only building left standing was a gas station. “Everything else was leveled,” she says. “There were piles and piles of rubble and debris.” Preparing for and responding to calamities and disasters is a job that’s not for the faint-hearted, but Sywulka is thankful that God has given her the courage and flexibility to deal with difficult situations. It can be tough at times, Sywulka admits, but she adds that her work also gives her immeasurable joy. “It energizes me to work with a group of people who are caring and creative,” she says. “And it is very rewarding to see the immediate impact of what Food for the Hungry is doing.” While her work with Food for the Hungry in relief settings has blessed many people, Sywulka is quick to point out that it is she who benefits incredibly from serving others. She still vividly remembers the invitation extended to her upon her arrival in Balakot to join a group of men for tea and cookies in the presence of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. “He was very gracious and thankful for the work we were doing,” Sywulka says of the Pakistani leader. Just recently, Sywulka traveled to Niger, specifically to the cities of Maradi, Agadez and Abalak – places that don’t get much media attention. It was a follow-up trip to last year’s initial evaluation of the food crisis and locust infestation that devastated the country. On this year’s visit, Sywulka’s focus was on finding potential partners, Christian organizations that Food for the Hungry can work with in the future. It is easy to see Sywulka’s passion as she discusses how Food for the Hungry can make a difference in Niger. “I am excited about

“He was very gracious and thankful for the work we were doing,’’ sywulka says of the pakistani leader.

26 26 SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006

6:8 6:8

the opportunity to help nomadic herders get back on their feet by supporting the things that make their livelihoods possible,” Sywulka says. “In a country where droughts can occur every two or three years, we have a great opportunity to help communities shore up their capacity to face the challenges with resiliency.” In no small measure, resilience is also one of Sywulka’s stronger suits. She has an uncanny ability to recover from challenges inherent in relief and development work. And she easily adapts to changes without losing her focus and sense of humor. It is what carries her through any situation she finds herself in – whether it’s the conflict in Rwanda, the earthquake in Pakistan, the famine in Kenya, or the high-profile work in Washington.


SYWULKA Befriending village women during a food distribution in Marsabit, Kenya.

As she looks back at her years of relief work on the frontlines, Sywulka says she feels a sense of fulfillment knowing that she works with people who have a great love for the poor and are willing to allow this love to take them to places most people don’t even know exist. “I love working with Food for the Hungry because the people have a strong commitment to Christ and to the poor,” Sywulka says. “And I really appreciate the variety of work that I’m allowed to do,” she adds. It’s an opportunity you just don’t find in every organization.” 9

Giving hhope to children who are victims of the conflict in Sudan.

6:8 6:8

SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006 27 27

one at a time


BLESSINGS One man in one small village inspires transformation inside and outside his chuch walls.

28 SUMMER 2006


pastor edwin and his wife with a Food for the Hungry Child Development Program promoter.

ARE SWEET If you ever find yourself in Acho Mego, a tiny village outside the Amazon River-side town of Pucallpa, Peru, chances are you will hear of Pastor Edwin. He is the pastor of a small church that has made a big impact on this community, a place you might not even find on the map. And yet, God is at work here through the hard work and dedication of this man. On any given day you can tell where Pastor Edwin Sangama is – just follow the imprints of children’s feet on the dusty, red dirt

paths. As he walks through these neighborhood streets bustling with pedicab bicycles, motorized scooters and sidewalk kiosks, he is greeted with affection by all. He is well known for his commitment to work for the development of the community. His dedication is evident in the time he spends visiting families and praying with them. His heart goes out to the young people in his community who fall prey to drugs and gang fights. He has a big dream for his people. 6:8

SUMMER 2006 29

when many of my fellow pastors who knew about the hardships I went through come to visit, they are amazed at the blessings and growth that the church now experiences.

30 SUMMER 2006


When you see Pastor Edwin, the first thing you’ll notice is his kind countenance. His smile reflects the confidence of someone who knows that his life has a special purpose within God’s plans. But, as Pastor Edwin would tell you, it has been a long, hard road to get to this place.

Humble Beginnings

When his family first came to the community, life was not easy. Although his desire was to begin working with the local church, he had to take odd jobs – from selling containers of water and ice cream to farming his neighbor’s land - just to make ends meet. But his resolve and commitment were strong, and he dedicated himself to seeing the church grow. The church started with very few members. In fact, only his family members attended the services during the early days. Each week, Pastor Edwin invited neighbors to come to the meetings, but attendance remained low. He recalls growing very discouraged. His wife decided to reach out to the children in the community and began a Saturday class for them. They met under

the shade of two mango trees since there were no classrooms. Pastor Edwin says those times were filled with moments of walking by faith, waiting and making do with what they had. Life seemed full of insurmountable mountains. But Food for the Hungry entered the community and things began to turn for the better.Two of Pastor Edwin’s children were selected for the sponsorship program. Immediately, he noticed how the Food for the Hungry staff cared for his children. The staff visited his children regularly at home, provided medical checkups, and invited his children to activities like Children’s Day and Vacation Bible School.

As the child sponsorship program grew in effectiveness, the community felt a new sense of hope and excitement. Soon, even Pastor Edwin’s church was teEming with children and young people eager to learn about the love of God. Pastor Edwin also continued to grow in knowledge and skills as a result of receiving various developmental trainings that Food for the Hungry regularly hosted for church leaders.


“I started to understand holistic ministry and apply God’s principles to my family life and church work,” Pastor Edwin shares.

Walls for Worship

With growth came new challenges. As church attendance grew, the meeting place became too small. Pastor Edwin prayed that God would provide them with a bigger building. God answered his pleas by sending a Food for the Hungry shortterm team in partnership with Christ Lutheran Church in Arizona. Thanks to this group of people, Pastor Edwin’s church was blessed with the construction of a building that they had been praying about for so long. “It was a dream come true when the classrooms were finally built,” he says. “Now the church is able to work with many more children and hold different educational and social activities with greater ease.” The youth group continues to grow and the church is now able to provide musical instruments to help develop the youth’s talents and abilities to worship. And Pastor Edwin remains committed to furthering his call of reaching the delinquent youth in his community.

Speaking about Food for the Hungry’s discipleship training program, he shares, “It has helped me love the most rebellious members of the community. I am always thinking about what I should do for these youth in the community who are hanging around. I started talking to the Lord about it and He put it in my heart to build a friendship with them.”

Blessings and Growth

Inspired by all the blessings that the church is receiving, Pastor Edwin and the church leaders have started new projects for the community, including construction of gutters, painting schools, digging foundations for the expansion of the school, and cleaning up the area around the school. Today, Acho Mego reflects God’s vision for community transformation. But as Pastor Edwin will attest, the journey was hard, but the blessings are sweet: “When many of my fellow pastors who knew about the hardships I went through come to visit, they are amazed at the blessings and growth that the church now experiences. I give thanks to God and to Food for the Hungry for bringing these blessings to this church.” 9

pastor edwin has big dreams for the young people in his community.

“I started to understand holistic ministry and apply god’s principles to my family life and church work.” – PASTOR EDWIN




vision partners

Jeffrey Houser (above) considers the annual golf marathon of Food for the Hungry a great opportunity for him to bring hope to needy people around the world.

32 32 SUMMER SUMMER2006 2006

6:8 6:8

Houser (above) visited a small shoe repair shop while on an assessment trip to Honduras.


even years ago Jeffrey Houser sat in the lobby of Food for the Hungry in Arizona eager to learn more about the work of the organization. He had met some staff members and advocates of Food for the Hungry in Norway where he had lived for nearly six years, and the passion they had for serving the poor left an indelible impression on his heart. So when he came to visit his sister and brother-in-law in Gilbert, a bustling town 20 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix, he decided to stop by the office of Food for the Hungry and check the organization out for himself. Houser’s unceremonious visit turned out to be a divine appointment. After a few days, he received a phone call regarding a job opportunity at Food for the Hungry. Houser didn’t expect such a pleasant turn of events, but he admits the job offer could not have come at a more opportune time. “My wife and I had been feeling a constant tug at our hearts to let go of everything and see what God was going to do,” he says. Indeed, it didn’t take them more than a day to make a decision.Within hours, they were plotting their move from rainy Norway to sunny Arizona. 6:8 6:8

SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006 33 33

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY President Ben Homan (left) acknowledges William Harvey’s contribution to the work of Food for the Hungry around the world with a President’s Award at this year’s golf marathon.

Golf Marathon Participant Gets President’s Award William Harvey, a Texas resident, was presented with the President’s Award for his generous support to the work of Food for the Hungry around the world. Food for the Hungry President Ben Homan presented the award to Harvey during the Food for the Hungry’s annual golf marathon held this year in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Bill Harvey is an American hero that exemplifies care and concern for those in need and the determination to do something. It is an honor to salute him for how he takes so seriously the needs of people around the world,” Homan says. Harvey serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for Food for the Hungry. In addition to his support of the golf marathon, he provided financing to ship surplus Texas wheat to those affected by the Ethiopia famine of 1988 as well as much needed funds for the survivors of the tsunami disaster in December 2004.

To find out more about the golf marathon and how you can help people in need, visit

34 SUMMER 2006


FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY HAS RAISED MORE THAN $1 MILLION, WHICH WAS USED TO HELP IMPOVERISHED FAMILIES BECOME SELFSUFFICIENT. The next five years saw Houser working hard to build relationships with high-level donors and foundations and raising funds for the programs of Food for the Hungry. His job as foundations relations manager took him to places such as Peru, Jordan, Dominican Republic and Bolivia. Houser says visiting those places and working alongside churches, community leaders and families opened his eyes to the things that mattered most to God. “There’s no way you can travel to foreign countries, especially developing countries, and not be changed,” he says. “People are warm, receptive and joyful

even though they live in very difficult conditions. It made me really see how rich and blessed we are here.” This attitude of gratitude rubbed off on people Houser came in contact with every day. In an assessment trip to a community in northern Cochabamba, Bolivia, Houser brought a donor who ended up contributing a significant amount of money that Food for Hungry was able to build a school and a dormitory next to it. Then, the local Bolivian government, after seeing the commitment of Food for the Hungry to improve the living conditions of the people in the


community, stepped up to the plate and provided other resources such as clean water and electricity. Houser also worked with a group of donors that became a regular contributor to the organization’s relief work in many poor countries around the world. Now the owner of Shire Properties, a general contracting firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., and two years removed from working at Food for the Hungry, Houser talks about his advocacy for the poor from a perspective of an impassioned volunteer. “When you are a paid staff, you can be more focused about your work, and people expect you to be in favor of your organization. But as a volunteer, when you talk to others about the things that fire you up, I think there is credibility there, and people really listen,” Houser says. One of the things that gets Houser fired up is the golf marathon that Food for the Hungry organizes every spring. He says it gives him a great opportunity to not only relax and have fun but also to rally up friends and family members to contribute financially and make a difference in the lives of people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world. Since the golf marathon started five years ago, Food for the Hungry has raised more than $1 million, which was used to help impoverished families in Africa, Asia and Latin America become self-sufficient and productive members of their communities. Help came in the form of food and medical supplies, access to clean water and irrigation systems, nutritious meals for school children, effective farming practices, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, health education,

and livelihood opportunities. “The golf marathon allows me to use the fundraising skills I learned at Food for the Hungry that I don’t get to exercise very often anymore,” Houser says. This year, instead of simply asking friends to sponsor each hole he plays, he maximized his contributions by putting up money from his business and challenging others to match it. Houser takes pride in the fact that he has participated at the annual golf marathon since its inception. He has five Food for the Hungry golf shirts as

proof. “I have a shirt for each event, and each time I wear it, people notice and it creates conversations about things such as poverty, hope and faith.” To Houser, talking about Food for the Hungry comes easy. And he explains why: “I have seen the work of Food for the Hungry, and I have observed their projects. I can personally say that they really go to the hard places – places where most of us would never choose to go – and they are making a difference in the lives of many people there. A difference that I believe will last for eternity.” 9

Golf for a Cause

The golf marathon of Food for the Hungry is held annually in Scottsdale, Ariz. On May 1, 2006, 27 golfers from across the United States each played 100 holes and raised more than $200,000 to match corporate sponsorships of $300,000 for a total of more than $500,000. Each year, for the past five years, the golf marathon has grown an average of 75 percent in sponsorship revenue. Food for the Hungry President Ben Homan expresses joy at the huge success of the recent event. Having traveled to more than 30 countries where Food for the Hungry walks alongside the poor, Homan understands the impact of generous giving. “Now more than ever it is the time for people in the United States to step forward with heartfelt concern for people in need,” Homan says. To find out how you can be a part of next year’s golf marathon, contact Jack DeGrenier, director of Major Gifts, at “The reason I return each year to participate in Food for the Hungry’s golf marathon is because I share Food for the Hungry’s passion and vision to add to the quality of life of those who are unable to help themselves. If my effort can add to their comfort, then it is worth it all!” – Ron Camblin Lexington, KY


SUMMER 2006 35

ministry highlights

36 36 SUMMER SUMMER2006 2006 6:8 6:8


ine-year-old Jackeline Palma holds onto her letters and photos as one would an extremely valuable piece of jewelry. To Jackeline, a sponsored child in Peru, every picture, note and card that she receives from her sponsor is a treasure and a special reminder that another person, although miles and miles away, genuinely cares for her. She says, “It is very nice to know that someone is concerned about me, prays for me, sends me letters, and even visits me.Very few children have this opportunity.” One might think that it would be easy for Jackeline to lose sight of hope in the small community of Nueva Jerusalem, in the foothill region of Lima. She lives with her parents, sister and two brothers in a home constructed from scrap materials, with dirt floors and little access to clean water. They make ends meet with a meager monthly income of just a little over a hundred dollars. But in spite of her unfavorable circumstances, Jackeline brims with joy and inner strength. And it’s easy to see why: She believes that Jesus is her Lord, the One who takes care of her family. Bonnie Chavez, director of Child Sponsor Services (CSS) at Phoenix-based Food for the Hungry, never ceases to be amazed at how God uses the sponsorship program to bring hope and transformation to children like Jackeline. Chavez believes that each child’s story is a confirmation of God leading her to Food for the Hungry nearly five years ago. Chavez had worked for years as an analyst for a major airline when she felt prompted to make a change. Already involved as a volunteer working with foster children, she wondered if there was a place where she could use her analytical skills while helping children and families. God gave her the desires of her heart. And now she gets to see the impact of the sponsorship program not only on children and communities in the developing world, but also on sponsors here in the United States.

Building a Bond of Love

That “someone” who is concerned about Jackeline’s well-being is 42-year-old JoLynn Sirak, a stay-at-home mom from Beaverton, Ore. She has been sponsoring Jackeline since 2003. As a sponsor, Sirak recognizes that she and her family also are beneficiaries of God’s generosity. Sponsoring Jackeline, she says, is a “spiritual food for my family,” adding that the relationship she has with her sponsored “daughter” is a “divine relationship” that fills her heart with joy and love. “We feel blessed beyond measure for this relationship,” she says.

Left: Jackeline and her family live in a home constructed from scrap materials with dirt floors and little access to clean water. Top left: A beaming Jackeline (third from left) with her family and sponsor JoLynn. Top right: Jackeline gets a big hug from JoLynn.

6:8 6:8

SUMMER SUMMER2006 2006 37 37

JOLYNN SIRAK, shown above with her husband and children, calls her sponsorship of Jackeline a “divine relationship.”

While others may see child sponsorship as simply writing another check with the rest of the monthly bills, Sirak and many others like her attest that it goes far beyond that. She says the program allows her and her family to establish a deep connection with people from another part of the world. Although separated by vast oceans and mountains, Sirak feels a special bond with Jackeline, and she keeps the relationship strong by communicating with Jackeline regularly. She sends her notes and pictures; they talk about pets, sports and dreams; they share prayer requests; and she encourages Jackeline to continue her studies. Sirak’s children take notice when a Food for the Hungry envelope arrives in the mail; they’re all excited to hear from Jackeline. In her


38 SUMMER 2006


letters to Sirak, Jackeline shares her love for Jesus and the Sirak family as well as her dreams and desires for the future. In early September 2005, Sirak received a letter from Jackeline with a simple request: “I hope you can come to visit Peru someday. I would be the happiest child in the world.” Much to Jackeline’s surprise, Sirak showed up at her door less than a week later on a Food for the Hungry short-term mission trip. “I got to hold our Jackeline and meet her family,” Sirak exclaims. “Her mother held my hand and asked me to never forget her daughter, and she thanked me for loving them. It is difficult to put this experience into words, but I am forever changed because of it.”

“Angel is my Teacher”

During Sirak’s trip to Peru, she also met Angel Vasquez, a Food for the Hungry child development promoter in Nueva Jerusalem. She was deeply touched when


Angel Vasquez (above), a child development promoter in Nueva Jerusalem, helps sponsored children find their way to God. Top photo shows Vasquez with the child development team in Peru. Right: JoLynn with her sponsored child, Jackeline.

Vasquez told her that Jackeline tells everyone in the community that she has a family in America that loves here.Vasquez has worked in the community since 2002, and he cherishes his role as a promoter – a role that allows him to come alongside the people in the community as they go through the ups and downs of life. He visits the sponsored children at their homes, leads child development activities, and helps educate parents on how they can encourage their children to pursue their dreams and become responsible, productive members of the community. “I am happy to guide them on the path to God,” Vasquez shares. Jackeline concurs: “Angel is my teacher…he is like an older brother and a friend at the same time. He teaches me how to live for Jesus.” The love of God, manifested through the child sponsorship program of Food for the Hungry, is the common thread that weaves through the stories of Jackeline,

Sirak and Vasquez. Three different people, but all testify to the grace and power of God to change lives no matter the circumstances surrounding them. Chavez is quick to point out that no one story is more moving than the rest. The needs of the children and families in each community are unique, she says. “Food for the Hungry does not simply bring a carbon-copy program to a community, but walks alongside leaders, churches and families to determine how to best bring about genuine, sustainable transformation.” For example, in Africa where children constantly feel the effects of HIV/AIDS, Food for the Hungry has implemented ways to combat specific challenges that these children face. As Food for the Hungry addresses the physical and spiritual needs of impoverished children and communities, it provides opportunities for children like Jackeline to dream big. “I want to become

a lawyer,” Jackeline says. By the grace of God and through the help of many people He puts in Jackeline’s path, it’s not presumptuous to say that Jackeline’s dream will come true. God already has begun a work in Jackeline’s heart. She has hope, the kind that doesn’t waver in the midst of difficult circumstances. And this hope is just as alive in Sirak’s heart. “Jackeline and her family are a part of us; they are our family. God has used this relationship to bring us closer to Him,” she says. “We love to hear our own children pray for Jackeline and her family, and see their hearts being changed.” That God allows Food for the Hungry to play a role in bringing people to meaningful relationships with one another and with God is a privilege that Bonnie Chavez and her staff will always be thankful for. 9


SUMMER 2006 39

As a result of the AIDS pandemic in Africa, more than 11 million children are left to fend for themselves. Many drop out of school to care for sick relatives, and others are forced to work in dangerous settings to survive. One such child is Mwenda Nebat. Food for the Hungry helps him and many other children like him deal with the challenges they face and find hope in the midst of suffering. Nebat is 9 years old and lives in Kenya. His father died of HIV/AIDS in 1999, and his mother, Florence, is HIV positive. Nebat and his brothers and sisters perform the majority of the household chores and take care of their sick mother. There was very little hope for Nebat, his mother and siblings to experience a better life until Food for the Hungry came into the community and helped them find a way out of poverty. Nebat is just one of many beneficiaries of hope through the work of Food for the Hungry in areas affected by HIV/AIDS. Food for the Hungry helps HIV/AIDS orphans come to grips with the pain of losing a parent by providing:

40 40 SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006

6:8 6:8


mwenda NEBAT (right), and with his mother and sister (below). NEBAT is a beneficiary of hope through the work of Food for the Hungry in areas affected by HIV/AIDS.

through education, prayer, counseling, community and church support, and other services, Food for the Hungry helps children infected and orphaned by HIV/AIDS cope with fear, discrimination, physical and emotional neglect, and the emotional trauma of losing a parent.

6:8 6:8

SUMMER SUMMER 2006 2006 41 41


Child Sponsorship Services walks alongside sponsors, sponsored children and Food for the Hungry field staff. The CSS is responsible for: • Maintaining and updating the child’s data and photos • Sending the child’s packets to volunteers, concerts and events • Receiving registration cards, setting up sponsorships and sending new sponsor information packets • Receiving the child’s mail and sending it out to sponsors • Receiving sponsor letters and sending to the field office for translation and delivery • Reassigning a new child to sponsors when a child drops out of the program • Encouraging sponsors to be consistent in their financial gifts “We are a bridge between the sponsor and the sponsored child,” says Bonnie Chavez, director of Child Sponsor Services. “Everything we do is geared towards helping bring about transformation for all parties involved.”

42 SUMMER SUMMER2006 2006 6:8 6:8 42

Help make dreams come true today! I want to sponsor a child:




I’ve enclosed a check or money order for my first $28 gift. I authorize Food for the Hungry to charge my $28 monthly sponsorship gift to my credit/debit card: VISA


American Express


Card Number_________________________________________________ Expiration Date_ ______________________________________________ Signature (required)_ ___________________________________________ Name_______________________________________________________ Address_ ____________________________________________________ City_ _______________________State_ ___________ Zip_ ____________ Phone_ _____________________________________________________ area code

Email_ ______________________________________________________

Food for the Hungry

Food for the Hungry will not rent, sell or share your personal information with third parties.

Mail this coupon today or call 1-800-2-HUNGERS to start your sponsorship! NA6X-2ZZZ

Meeting physical and spiritual needs worldwide

Child Sponsor Services 1224 E. Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85034 6:8


2006 6:8 Magazine Summer Edition  

6:8 is a quarterly magazine of Food for the Hungry that highlights stories of physical and spiritual transformation through the grace of God...