It all started when a group from our church took gifts to an orphanage just a few minutes south of where we live. Before then, we had never given much thought to exactly who were 'the least among us'. The people we associated with were doing o.k. - even those who couldn't afford the extravagance of a cup of Starbucks in the morning were living comfortable lives. Then came the wake-up call. This visit to the Agua Viva Guarderia was God's way of teaching us. We learned that not too far from our homes, children of migrant farm workers were struggling to survive. As their parents toiled in the fields, these children were sometimes left to fend for themselves. Here as the parents work the field, the Guarderia serves as a day care center to meet the needs of the children.
Less Extreme Makeover
Most of the children served at the Agua Viva Guarderia are from poverty stricken families migrating from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. When you look on a map, you'll find that Oaxaca is way down near Mexico's Southern border. You'll also find that they are migrating such an enormous distance for a reason, that is to get away from extreme poverty. And where do they end up? Well, in a little bit less extreme poverty! The need is so drastic that some parents have simply abandoned their kids to give them a better chance for survival. It is in this environment that the Guarderia has accepted the responsibility of caring for these precious children while their parents work in the fields. And we thought living it rough meant having to go to the movies without popcorn and soda.
You've Gotta Be Kidding Me?
Then God's mighty hand began directing us. We heard about a food cannery in the Central Valley of California who was saving food from being buried in landfills. The food was perfectly nutritious and wholesome. But because the cans were mislabeled, dented, or under-filled, they couldn't be sold; it was simply thrown away. Yup, that's the world we live in. Our abundance has lead to regulations which result in wholesome food being buried, while at the same time impoverished kids from our neighborhood go to bed hungry.
On a Roll
So there was a need South of the border and there was abundance North of the border. But we still had to find a way to connect the dots. That's when a trucking company became part of the solution. They graciously provided the transportation and the warehouse space needed. Now the food was rolling from the central valley to a warehouse near the border. We will never forget that first load: 20 tons of canned goods. We were overjoyed. Clearly the children from Agua Viva Guarderia would not go hungry. But God's plan was bigger than that. Soon many orphanages, feeding programs, hospices, and church outreach programs would benefit from the cheerful giving.
As the food kept on rolling down South, we began meeting other people and organizations that also made a difference. We were always so occupied with our busy lives that we had never even noticed all of these saints. But now we noticed the work of countless angels dedicated to giving and serving. Soon enough we built a system of partnerships with dozens of local groups and organizations that helped us distribute the abundance directly to those in need. We also began to receive food from larger agencies such as Convoy of Hope, Feed the Children, Children’s Hunger Fund, Feed My Starving Children, and GAIN International.