written by: Lorraine Zachary
First grader Alivia Fox was excited to share with her classmates the stories her dad, Rob, relayed to her after returning to IN from a medical mission trip with us in January. Alivia was personally touched by these stories because she was born in Haiti. She was born with a serious medical issue which required life-saving surgery in the states. The Fox’s took care of Alivia for several months after her surgery and eventually adopted her. Alivia’s enthusiasm became contagious and Mrs. Ryan, her first grade teacher at East Elementary School in Pendleton, Indiana, invited Rob to share with the entire class his personal stories and experiences. Mrs. Ryan was looking for a project that would teach her class the value of helping others, but to her surprise, they created a project on their own. These first graders were so touched by the stories Rob shared that they took the initiative and decided to help RHFH as a class. Knowing that a container would be leaving IN at the end of May, they came up with the idea of collecting peanut butter for two weeks. They set a goal of 200 jars; however, to their delight, their excitement spread to the entire school! Soon, children from other classes were dropping off jars of peanut butter, and in exchange, receiving a hug from one of the first graders. At the end of two weeks, they collected 282 jars of peanut butter, received $87.50 in quarters for shipping, a $100.00 donation from the Parents Club to defray shipping costs and an anonymous check for $1273.00.
The class invited Zach and Lorraine to personally pick up the peanut butter and share with them what life is like in Haiti. Zach has been living in Haiti almost 20 years and he was delighted to share with this class Haitian culture, struggles and hardships Haitian children endure, and explain the consequences of malnutrition and how their peanut butter will be used to save the lives of precious Haitian children.
Mrs. Ryan stated that in her 24 years of teaching, this was the most rewarding project she and her first grade class ever undertook. Her goal was to teach the students how to count, subtract, interact with other children in the classroom and goal setting. However, to Mrs.Ryan’s excitement, her first grade class shattered her expectations by taking complete ownership of the project. Without any guidance, they kept a daily count of the peanut butter, used their math skills by stacking jars in groups of ten and decided to reward each child who brought in a jar of peanut butter with a hug. Mrs. Ryan’s entire class will be together again next year as second graders, and they are already planning a school wide peanut butter drive in September to coordinate with our fall container.The peanut butter will immediately be shipped to Haiti.
The peanut butter is in the cardboard box, #16. It is one of the 40 pallets of supplies which left for Miami May 16th.
This is our container of supplies. After reaching Miami, it will be loaded onto a barge and taken to PAP. Once the container is cleared from customs, it will be loaded onto a trailer and driven to Christian Aid Ministries (CAM). For the last several years, CAM has generously allowed us to use their loading dock to unload our containers. Their support is critical to our success in shipping supplies to Haiti, and as always, we are extremely grateful for their friendship and generosity.
Thank you Mrs. Ryan and all those in your first grade class! Your creativity, enthusiasm, ambition and most importantly, love for others, was abundantly blessed. You are true Christ like examples of how to be God’s hands and feet!
Each year we try to ship a container out of Indiana at the end of May and again at the end of September. If you are interested in participating as a school, church, small group or community in a fundraising project, please contact Lorraine Zachary at 952-649-7107 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.