USA (MNN) — Disabled young people and adults with Elim Christian Services are using their skills to help Food for the Hungry reach kids around the world.
Food for the Hungry supplies Hope Kits, or school kits, to reach out to poor and needy children, but assembling them is difficult. That's where the partnership comes in.
President of Elim Christian Ministries Bill Lodewyke says Elim is a ministry to children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Lodewyke says a part of their outreach is providing assembly work for the adults they serve. "Those tasks that are very repetitive are tasks they excel in and they enjoy."
Since Food for the Hungry needs Hope Kits assembly, this was a perfect fit. This provides work that utilizes Elim's expertise. "They're assembling notebooks, erasers, pencils — putting them into packages. Knowing that those things go to third word countries to help kids in tremendous need gives our workers a great sense of fulfillment," says Lodewyke.
Director of Gifts In Kind Resources with Food for the Hungry Andrew Crawford says they need Hope Packs. It is an integral part of their work, but they can afford the approximately $3 cost. Elim supplies them for free. "With the absence of volunteers and manpower, and staff and resources, we're grateful to have a group like Elim who is committed to engaging people collectively and being on the forefront of soliciting resources and donations."
Lodewyke says Elim workers are assembling kits, but the work is limited. "Right now, we're limited, not by their time and ability to put the kits together, but by the lack of supplies. Somebody has to pay for those supplies, so that's a real limiting factor at this point."
That means they need large corporations or businesses to donate large quantities of school supplies not only to give work to disabled Elim workers, but to help the poor around the world. Lodewyke says, "A better way to go about doing this is to mobilize a church to actually have people in the church go out and get the supplies, donate them, get them to Elim, have our adults assemble them, and deliver them to Food for the Hungry."
Crawford says since Food for the Hungry works primarily through the local church, these kits position them to share the Gospel. As they become the providers of desired Hope Kits for school, this gives them a higher stature in the community, giving them even more opportunities to share the Gospel.