2022 - Emergency response & lifted restrictions
Chad Martz — Director of Operations
This year was unprecedented for Hungry For Life.
Ukraine, a country that has been close to our hearts for 19 years, was launched into war by the unprovoked Russian invasion on February 24th—sending HFL into a full-on emergency crisis response. HFL is not typically an emergency response organization; however, having facilitated projects in the country for 19 years, with two of our own staff members already working remotely in the country, we were set up in a unique and strategic way to be able to immediately respond to the needs of those fleeing the conflict. In addition to that, we have and continue to respond by providing food and supplies to those in the most desperate situations. We have been able to implement over $2.5 million and are so grateful many of you were, and continue to be, part of that huge response.
We have also continued our work with other partners around the world. For the past two years while travel was not possible, we have continued to engage the 32 groups/churches with our 27 international partners as best we could through virtual connects and opportunities to respond to the most critical needs of those our partners serve. We were preparing for the day when restrictions at home would be lifted to enable us to facilitate the growing number of groups/churches wanting to reconnect in person with those they have served alongside.
That time finally came in September when travel restrictions lifted, and we hit the ground running. We were thrilled to be able to send 9 teams out, all representing relationships that had been waiting with anticipation for these in-person connections. We facilitated reunions in the Dominican Republic, Philippines, Middle East, Ukraine, Kenya, Uganda and Mexico. What a joy to see how God has been working and moving while we were apart.
We continue to strive towards equipping others to successfully engage in long-term development projects, while also meeting immediate needs. Thank you for your partnership that makes this all possible.
Statistics from 2022
Olya is a 70-year-old widow who was living in a village that was taken over by Russian troops. Russians occupied her house and took all of the food, firewood, and animals in the community.
A rocket hit her 90-year-old neighbour’s home and Olya tried to rescue her from the burning home by pulling her out of the front window. Russians opened fire on them and hit Olya in the arm. She lost consciousness, but with the help of a neighbour, they were able to get the 90-year-old out of her house. Once they succeeded in rescuing the woman from her burning house, the three hid in Olya’s freezing cellar for days. Olya’s new wound continued to bleed and, because she has asthma, the thin, freezing air made it hard for her to breathe.
When the Ukrainian army pushed Russian troops out of the community, it opened up an opportunity for HFL’s partners to help those like Olya with food and supplies, as their small village was left with nothing.
HFL’s partners have made numerous trips to villages like these—not only to provide much needed food, but also to walk alongside those who are healing from immeasurable pain.
Return on Investment - Short-term teams
Angela Goertzen — Director of Canadian Operations
I’m entering my 20th year with Hungry For Life. Throughout my time with the ministry I have primarily worked with the teams travelling—the preparation of their trips, their orientation pre-trip, and also travelling with them to various communities around the world. The work HFL’s local partners are involved in is very diverse, but is all focused around eradicating needless suffering through direct partnerships in global communities.
In my time working with teams, I have had many conversations with leaders where we discuss the effectiveness of short-term teams and if the relationships and work spark a movement of lasting change. This past November, I personally experienced one of the biggest return on investment moments to date.
I had the privilege of working with the EVE group (Ending Violence Educators) in Uganda, where we partnered with Peace Portal Uganda and Pastor Michael Masembe. The EVE group is a local partner of HFL, officially forming in 2011. They are a group of women who are passionate about working to create a world where interpersonal violence and gender-based exploitation is not commonplace. They do this through facilitating discussions and the exchange of knowledge to increase awareness of the dynamics and impact of violence and exploitation.
This was EVE’s third time in Uganda and second time with Peace Portal. Part of the purpose of this trip was to follow up with community leaders who attended the EVE sessions hosted in 2018. The connection with this group was a highlight for the whole EVE team. The attendees at these sessions recognized that poverty, youth idleness and lack of openness contributed to the cycle of violence they were experiencing in their own communities and families. The group felt empowered to work collectively to address their poverty and to start having conversations in their families and communities about violence. Three different groups of about 5–10 members each, formed that time in 2018—they called themselves EVE Uganda. The EVE Uganda groups have grown to 6 groups of 20–60 members. They work together on small business initiatives and collectively share their finances and resources.
When we met on this past October trip, we asked them what has changed. Many testified: “I felt alone, but now I know I’m not alone.” Whole groups stated,
“We had violence in our homes, but now we don’t.”
Others said they have worked their way out of poverty and can now send their children to school. All the groups stood up and testified that they want to empower their communities and take this message to them. As well, they have experienced increased prosperity and when the hard times hit they know they have a community that lifts them up.
This time spent with the EVE Uganda groups was a gift. The whole Canadian team got to experience firsthand the incredible impact of their work. Over 80 households are no longer experiencing violence because of the investment of this Canadian team.
This return on investment was immeasurable.
Miracles - A story from Haiti
Matt Stam — GIVE Team, Dominican Republic
Today I witnessed a miracle.
My role in the clinic has been to work in the pharmacy and to record the medications distributed and patients treated to allow both the GIVE/HFL team and the local doctors to have records that are easily accessible and useful. The team moved from New Jerusalem to a bayette near La Romana this morning. About a third of the way through the clinic, I was working through a small stack of patient records when I heard Elaine exclaim, “No No NO.”
She was consulting with a mother who had brought in her one-month-old baby who was clearly emaciated. The mother had difficulty breastfeeding the baby and had been feeding him tea and cornmeal porridge, and had managed to give him Nestogen formula 2 oz twice daily (FYI—a newborn starts at 3–4 oz every four hours). Learning this was what had caused Elaine’s reaction, as the baby had been starving for a month. Dr. Galicia estimated the baby could have gone into a sudden cardiac arrest within a week if nothing was done, due to malnutrition.
Jason went to look for a wet nurse among the remaining patients; as he walked to the door, the next patient in line was a mother with a healthy young baby of her own (she needed treatment for her older daughter). She was asked if she would be willing to assist and she quickly agreed, as she was from the same village as the
first mother. The baby was able to eat a full meal for the first time in its life and shortly after, the family was connected with community health workers who will be able to check in and support her moving forward. The wet nurse had tried previously to help, but there is a strong stigma surrounding this in the community due to a lot of HIV cases (and it can spread via breast milk).
It had been a slower day—but God brought us all here for a purpose. It was an amazing experience to see the incredible impact that the medical team has been able to have, both on larger groups (155 and 131 patients in the first days) and on individual patients.
In that moment, God worked to bring the exact right group of people together in His timing to save a life, andI will always count it a privilege that He allowed me to witness it.
Dave Blundell — Executive Director
Fullwell Leadership continues to help leaders and other non-profit organizations grow their impact. Having served 28 organizations including churches, global NGO’s, and community-based organizations, our team of leadership coaches and consultants serve leaders by helping them with organizational and team development. Here is what one leader said about how Fullwell has brought value to their organization:
“Fullwell has transformed how we develop leaders at Bethesda. Their highly-skilled team took the time to listen to our unique needs as a faith-based non-profit and collaborate with us to design a program that fits our mission, vision, and corporate strategy. We are already seeing a noticeable impact on the skill and confidence of our leaders, the trust within our staff teams, and the health of our organizational culture.” — Dan Steenburgh, Bethesda Christian Association (COO/CHR)
Fullwell helps fund Hungry For Life’s international leadership development—a gross of $64,762 was generated this year through Fullwell contracts.
To learn more, please visit fullwell.ca
As we look ahead to 2023, we are gearing up for a big year of teams and projects. Along with growth comes the need for more staff. Do you know anyone who is looking for meaningful work and wants to be a part of a vibrant work community with opportunity to travel? Check out the positions below or here, and feel free to contact us if you’re interested!
– Provide organization and support to keep the office running smoothly
Mission Focusing Consultant
– Oversee the interaction between groups and projects
Teams & Project Services
– Administrate all aspects of teams prior to and during their trip