"Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy."

Proverbs 31:8-9

Bikeout Hunger

Going Fast Makes the Climb Worth It

SAN SABA – Today was a great day of riding! The team traveled from Fredericksburg to San Saba, approximately 75 miles. We passed scenic spots like Enchanted Rock and had an elevation gain of 2,650 ft. Several of our cyclists reached their highest speed ever – including John Deenie who clocked in at 54 mph.

“Going that fast on the downhill make the climb worth it,” he said.

John is on staff at North Side Baptist Church in Weatherford as Education Director, along with fellow riders Keith Warren, who serves as the Executive Pastor, and Eddie Burg, the church’s Building Supervisor. John, Keith and Eddie, are all cyclists who enjoy a challenge. They wanted to get behind a cause that makes a difference, and joining with Bike Out Hunger was a great fit.

This is the first year for all three riders to join Bike Out Hunger’s week-long ride, but this isn’t their first BOH event. One week ago, North Side Baptist Church hosted a Bike Out Hunger ride at their church, with 112 participants.

North Side became increasingly aware of hunger needs in their community as they began a weekend feeding program for children two years ago. What started as preparing an average of 20 “packs of love” for school-aged children, has turned into more than 140 each weekend. This ministry has impacted many children in the community who would not have food otherwise.

“What concerns me is for some reason the poverty is increasing,” John said. “I hope hunger needs will remain a focus for our church as we continue to reach out and help.”

Since then, the church has increasingly focused on hunger issues, not only in Weatherford, but also worldwide through gifts given to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Last year, the church raised $29,000 on one day to give to the offering. They are hosting a special Mother’s Day Hunger Offering this Sunday, May 11, and hope to surpass last year’s giving.

By participating in a church-wide event and joining with the Texas Baptist ride this week, momentum and awareness have been building in their church for this Sunday’s special offering.

Tomorrow we head to Brownwood. Continue to pray for safety for the riders and for Bike Out Hunger to make an impact on the communities we ride through.

For more information on Bike Out Hunger please visit the Bike Out Hunger webpage.

Hope Backpacks

Backpacks of Food and Hope

FREEPORT – Most children look forward to 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, signaling the end of school and beginning of the weekend. There are roughly 65 hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning when school starts again. Many kids delight in these hours, but for children who do not have food at home, the hours can be long and hard. While many schools have feeding programs for breakfast and lunch for students in need, the weekends can be a time when food is scarce.

Operation Backpack, supported through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, seeks to step in and provide homeless and chronically hungry students in the Freeport and Jones Creek areas with much needed food for the weekend through True to Life Ministries (TTLM).

TTLM works with individuals and organizations to gather donated food and supplies. Volunteers use these items to fill backpacks distributed to qualifying students at the end of each week.

Last school year, over 300 students were classified as homeless within Brazosport ISD and many more are chronically hungry.

This ministry impacted a family of five, including two school-aged children, who found themselves suddenly homeless after the mother lost her job. When TTLM found out about the family, volunteers sprang into action and quickly assembled a backpack of food to deliver to the local motel where they were staying. The backpack provided nourishment, but it was also a vehicle of hope and encouragement, showing the family they were not alone and that people noticed and cared about them.

At TTLM, the mission is to cultivate hope and introduce people to true life in Christ. They seek to communicate the gospel, engage the community in making a difference, and focus on strategies that transform families.

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helps support 180 ministries just like this one around the world that are working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by so many. This year, in honor of mom’s, churches are holding a special offering on Mother’s Day to support the offering. So this May 11th, let’s not simply pass the plate in church – let’s fill it. Please consider holding a special offering in your church on Mother’s Day.

Why? Because every mother’s child needs a meal.

Family Gardens

Growing to Live Through Hunger Offering

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Hands in Service, an organization that receives funding from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, provides family garden workshops through missions and churches in the poverty belt around the city of Guadalajara and other communities, as well as in rural areas. These workshops help train and educate people to grow their own food to provide better nutrition at a lower cost.

Family Gardens is a project designed and carried out in cooperation with Manos Hermanas, in Guadalajara and numerous other areas where space is available to train and optimize intensive gardens to benefit those in poverty to help them feed their families who are not able to support themselves on other means. Families are able to provide food for their own consumption, as well as sell their food for income.

“We are working with Jorge Ramirez, pastor of the Jesus Christ is Lord Baptist Church, to initiate this and four other projects in other poverty zones on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Jalisco,” said Lee Baggett, coordinator at Hands in Service.

This intensive garden method for urban areas, teaches how to take advantage of roofs, balconies, and small back yards, that otherwise would be of no use. With an agronomist and a biologist working with the program, they are also able to teach the nutritional and economical advantages of different crops that can be grown in the gardens to improve health in the communities.

“Not only will it better their health as families and a surrounding community,” said Baggett. “It will also improve their economic situations to be able to provide for their families at less cost.”

At the present time, 75 families in three different sectors of the community have received training, and they are scheduled to begin training with other groups around the area later in the year.

The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helps support 140 ministries just like this one around the world that are working to end the cycle of hunger and poverty experienced by so many. This year, in honor of mom’s, churches are holding a special offering on Mother’s Day to support the offering. So this May 11th, let’s not simply pass the plate in church – let’s fill it. Please consider holding a special offering in your church on Mother’s Day.

Why? Because every mother’s child needs a meal.

Kay's Story

Inspiring Others to Give Back

FORT WORTH – This year churches are holding a special offering on Mother’s Day to support the Mother’s Day Hunger Offering. By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother’s Day to end hunger one mom at a time. One mom that has received help from this offering is a woman named Kay Schmenk.

Kay Schmenk is a 73-year-old who has been participating in the Senior Supplement Program, a monthly feeding program at Northside Inter-Community Agency (NICA), since 2006. She lives off of her Social Security check each month of less than $700.

NICA, one of several ministries in Fort Worth that receives support through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, provides food, clothing and self-help programs to families on the north side of Fort Worth and surrounding areas.

Kay has always expressed a gratitude for the food and services she has received from the agency, and last year she made the decision to start living on a little less so that she could pay back the people who have helped her. Now she proudly brings in $10 each month when she picks up her groceries.

“I wanted to give back so that others might also receive the same help and love I have,” Kay said.

NICA’s vision includes the whole family; physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects. Providing a hand-up, not just a handout is how the agency operates their services. The most pressing needs are met through their direct aid programs while long-term goals are met through case management, crisis counseling, employment, education and community services.

“Our aim is to aid and empower to provide or link people to opportunities to get back on their feet, to strengthen their families and ultimately to strengthen their neighborhoods,” said Beverly Hewett, coordinator at NICA.

On May 11th, let’s not simply pass the plate in church – let’s fill it. Please consider holding a special offering in your church on Mother’s Day for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Why? Because every mother’s child needs a meal.

“We are very grateful for contributions from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, which are used towards this important community service,” said Hewett.

#LoveMomEndHunger

Asma's Story

Family Overcomes Poverty in Bangladesh

BHALUKA UPAZILA, Bangladesh – Conditions were hard for Asma Khatun and her family of five, living in extreme poverty in a small village in Bangladesh. While her husband, Babul Dhaly, worked hard to provide, they did not own any land to plant crops and they were not able to earn enough income to provide three meals a day for their family.

Asma was looking for a way to help her family out of poverty. She heard about a savings group program for women assisted by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, and soon she began attending classes.

Not only did she learn about business and agriculture, but Asma was also provided with a micro-enterprise loan, which allowed her to buy seeds to grow vegetables and cultivate sugar cane. Soon, she repaid the loan and took her profits to use as capital for their increasing cultivation work. After taking out a second loan, Asma and her family purchased a plot of land to grow sugarcane. Today, their dreams of building a tin house and sending their children to school are within their reach.

This savings group program, coordinated by SHED Board Pakiechala Project, is one of numerous ministries around the world supported by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. This year, in honor of moms just like Asma, churches are holding a special offering on Mother’s Day to support the offering.

By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother’s Day to end hunger one mom at a time. So this May 11th, let’s not simply pass the plate in church – let’s fill it. Please consider holding a special offering in your church on Mother’s Day. Why? Because every mother’s child needs a meal.

#LoveMomEndHunger

Gloria's Story

Hunger Funds Help Mom Find a Shoulder to Lean On

NEW BRAUNFELS – Gloria Mata needed help. Medical bills from her daughter’s illness stacked up, and the single mother realized she no longer had enough money to put food on the table for her family of six.

Deliverance came in the form of a voucher from her daughter’s school that referred Mata to the Harvest Food Pantry, a ministry of New Braunfels Christian Ministries, which is funded in part through Texas Baptists’ special Mother’s Day Hunger Offering.

“When I came here, I didn’t feel like I was receiving a hand-out. I found a shoulder to lean on,” Mata said. “As a mother, it meant so much to me to look in a bag of groceries and see everything I needed to make a meal for my family.”

Volunteers at the Harvest Food Pantry arrive early each Friday morning to pack bags of food for low-income families in New Braunfels. From dried beans and cereal to eggs and milk, the food prepared for these families is making a significant difference in individual lives.

“I want to intentionally give families food that will help them prepare meals,” said Laurie Tieman, director of Harvest Food Pantry.

Tieman intentionally plans each week’s bag of groceries with nutrition in mind. She works to ensure families receive fresh produce, meat, and dairy items, along with several dried and canned goods.

Opening four years ago as a ministry of Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, the Harvest Food Pantry is run entirely by volunteers who give of their time during the week to share the love of Jesus by helping meet basic physical needs in their community. The ministry also partners with Communities in Schools, a local non-profit organization, who identifies children in schools that are in need of special assistance and refers them to the food pantry for help.

Harvest Food Pantry is one of numerous ministries across Texas and around the world supported by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. This year, in honor of mom’s just like Gloria, churches are holding a special offering on Mother’s Day to support the offering.

By uniting the efforts of Texas Baptists, we can raise $1 million this Mother’s Day to end hunger one mom at a time. So this May 11th, let’s not simply pass the plate in church – let’s fill it. Please consider holding a special offering in your church on Mother’s Day. Why? Because every mother’s child needs a meal.

Ana's Story

Physically Disabled Single Mom Happily Gains Independence

Anapoorna lives in Bangalore, India, a single mother of three and physically disabled. For many years, Anapoorna had to depend on everyone else to help her with the basic needs of her family. Some of her friends heard about a place called Provision Asia who helped disabled people with whatever they needed to become mobile.

Her friends took her there, anxious to see if the kind people at PVA could help her. Anapoorna received a beautiful new scooter that day at no cost to her. Anapoorna’s mobility now enabled her to get a job and, for the first time, provide adequately for her family. The smile on her face expresses her great joy over her newly-gained independence.

Even though she wasn’t asked, working for decent wages allowed Aanapoorna to pay back the $600 cost of the scooter so someone else could be blessed as she was.

Alfonso's Story

The Heartbeat of an Inner City El Paso

For nearly 26 years, community service has been the heartbeat of Pastor Alfonso Lopez and Iglesia Bautista Peregrino in El Paso. For two and a half decades, Lopez has instilled in his congregation the importance of “Hispanic people reaching back to Hispanic people.” And “love for the Hispanic people in the culturally growing Hispanic community” has been the driving force of Lopez’s heart even longer—since 1969, when he immigrated from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The congregation, which averages around 30 people during Sunday morning worship, contributes to its community in various ways. Through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, the church uses its inner-city building to distribute dry food, canned goods, pastas and occasionally potatoes to families. In one quarter this year, the food pantry fed 60 families. The pantry is designed specifically for single mothers who can’t afford to feed their children three meals per day. Lopez estimates single mothers head half of the families in the community.

School supplies

Iglesia Bautista Peregrino doesn’t just provide families with food. It also helps provide for children’s basic needs, such as clothes and school supplies. Last month, the church set up tables with a variety of donated clothing, including new tennis shoes, and assorted school supplies. The church invited families to take whatever they needed, free of charge. Maribel Cuellar, a student at El Paso Community College, volunteers at the church. She consistently teaches eight to 10 middle school students in the church how to pray, and answers questions they may have. She has found the experience satisfying because of the fruit her investment yields. “The most rewarding thing for me is when they actually accept Jesus as their Savior and they ask me questions, because then I know they want to learn more,” she said.

Kids in the park

Lopez and Cuellar go to the students if the students don’t come to them. During the summer, the two launched “Kids in the Park,” an outreach activity in which they played gospel music and performed children’s Bible stories in local parks. However, Lopez is not interested in serving just single mothers or just children. He seeks to be the hands and feet of Jesus to entire families. Few people know that better than Cuellar. When her parents experienced financial struggles, Lopez assisted them by offering a paid custodial position to Cuellar’s mother. He also biblically counseled the family through economic hardships and most recently after the birth of the Cuellar’s third daughter.

Rough times

“There have been rough times in our family. He has helped us and guided us to meet new people to help us out and learn about our situation,” Cuellar said. Her father is a new believer in Jesus, and she appreciates how Lopez encourages her father in his walk with God, even consistently pulling him aside to have “man-to-man” conversations with him. A few years ago, Lopez declined an invitation to pastor a bigger church in DeSoto, Kan. He knew he had a divine calling to stay in El Paso, though, because of his great love for the Hispanic community. “I’m driven with the mercy gift to help,” he said. “But above all, I feel like that’s God will for my life. I’m in the center of God’s will for my life.”

Isabelle's Story

Texas Baptists' Save a Life

Civil war displaced 190,000 people in the Central African Republic, including Isabelle, a young mother who fled her home with nothing. Central African Republic Baptists discovered her on the brink of starvation. Thanks to help from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering,Isabelle was given rice to eat which saved her life. When she asked the African Baptists why they were helping her, a volunteer was able to share how Jesus is the bread of life and that “the disciples of Jesus who are scattered around the world have contributed to this rice.” These words began a series of conversations that led to Isabelle professing Christ as Lord. She then led her mother to the Lord. “We really thank God for the conversion of the wife and mother,” said Singa-Gbazia Nicolas Aimé Simplice, who leads the feeding effort. “Other women and children were also converted to Christianity.” Feeding the hungry and caring for those in need reflect the heart of Christ. Like in the case of Isabelle, meeting physical needs often opens the door to sharing the gospel. Your generosity through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering has reached thousands in need like Isabelle and offered physical as well as spiritual salvation to a starving world.

Samuel's Story

Through the Generosity

A couple of friends were walking to work in Burma. That day, they were running late so they decided to take a different path along the railroad track. They were engaged in their usual early morning banter when a puzzling sound surfaced. It wasn’t a cry. More like a heavy wheezing. As they came around a bend in the road, they saw a small shape lying between a couple of railway ties. Dirty and covered with insect bites, a little boy clung to life. They took turns carrying him as they made their way to a neighborhood clinic. As they entered the clinic, the wheezing stopped. They handed the little boy to the nurse, fearing it was too late to save him. They went to work wondering how the little boy got to be on the railroad track. They shared their morning’s experience with their co-workers, and learned a sad truth about poverty in their country. They learned that sometimes parents leave their children on the railroad track in hopes that their son or daughter would be killed quickly rather than experience the slow death of starvation because they didn’t have enough food for the entire family. The next day, they stopped by the clinic to learn about the condition of the little boy. They were surprised to learn that he was alive. A few days later, the little boy was taken by a director of a Christian orphanage. She had been contacted by the clinic staff who was aware of the good reputation of the orphanage, and knew it was the little boy’s only chance at long-term survival. Through a combination of Christian-based nurturing and the food supplied by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering in partnership with Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown, Samuel continues to improve. Samuel is one of 17 orphans in this particular home. Although one of the home's primary goals is to share and have the orphans accept the wonderful news of Jesus, they must first meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Through the generosity of Texas Baptists, Samuel and many other orphans are fortunate to have enough to eat each day. More importantly, as he matures within a Christian environment, he will better understand the love behind the meals, the caring behind the giving and the purpose behind the saved life of a little boy discovered on a railroad track.

Waco's Story

A Neighborhood Without Vegetables

In an impoverished Central Waco neighborhood, there are no grocery stores nearby. It’s what sociologists call a food desert – a place where healthy food such as vegetables is hard to come by. Children here eat what’s convenient, which too often means hot Cheetos and soda for breakfast – if they have breakfast at all. Nearly every elementary student here is eligible for the free and reduced lunch program at school –their most secure food source. In the midst of this desert, a Texas Baptist Hunger Offering-supported ministry is injecting nourishing life. World Hunger Relief, Inc. has long led after school garden clubs for elementary students here through which young people receive bags of vegetables every other week and are taught simple recipes they can prepare for their families. The program exposes young people to healthy eating principles and introduces them to new meals. The students are excited about to see what vegetables they’re going to learn about next and what they will taste like. “It has been incredibly rewarding to see students eating their sample snack at garden club, and reacting positively to healthy foods they weren't previously familiar with, or thought they didn't like,” wrote Krista Pereira, education director for World Hunger Relief. The assistance goes well beyond showing students new food. They take their bags of vegetables home to their families and cook healthy food, furthering the reach of nourishment. “The raw calorie need is there,” said Matt Hess, executive director of World Hunger Relief. “We’re helping meet that need. But we’re also restoring food cultures, helping young people learn how to eat healthy.

Arjan's Story

Future of the Family Kindergarten

Arjan is an Albanian high school student living in Macedonia. Albanians are among the “poorest of the poor” in a place where they are not always wanted. Despite growing up in poverty, Arjan has thrived, winning several awards in school, and is planning to be the first in his family to attend a university. A ministry funded by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering has made Arjan’s success possible. Since 2005, a nutritious breakfast or lunch has been provided every day for children attending Future of the Family Kindergarten in Skopje, Macedonia. “This nutritious meal is much more than they have ever known prior to coming to the school,” comments Shelia Earl, CBF on-site field personnel. “Their normal meal usually consists of bread and sometimes potatoes. They are introduced to vegetables and fruits for the first time. The new knowledge about what they are eating and how it affects their health is shared with the parents, making it possible for the whole family to learn a better way to eat.” As the children leave the kindergarten and attend elementary school, their teachers report they are well-behaved, quick learners, and healthier than many other students. “We attribute much of their success to a healthy diet which the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering funds have made possible,” Shelia affirms. Future of the Family Kindergarten is saying goodbye to Arville and Shelia Earl who have served the children and staff in Macedonia faithfully since 1998. During these years, they have witnessed many children succeed in school because of the solid foundation received at this small kindergarten. The kindergarten will continue its great work under the direction of Jeff and Alicia Lee, also CBF Field Personnel. “There is still a great need to help these children in the future,” Shelia says. “There is no way the families can thank Texas Baptists enough for all they have done to give them opportunities for happy successful lives.” Arjan’s success story can be repeated many times over again. More than 250 families have been given a better way of life because someone on the other side of the world followed Christ’s example and gave to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.

Trina's Story

Graffiti NYC

Trina and her children found themselves living in a homeless shelter in lower Manhattan and needed help. She heard that Graffiti Church on the Lower East Side served free lunch in the park on Saturdays and a meal at the church on Wednesday nights. Coming to Graffiti for food began an exciting adventure for Trina that she would realize years later. Through this time, God’s ministry at Graffiti was expanding, and the caregivers there saw how much people needed employment to break the cycle of homelessness and continuous poverty. With funds from the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering, an employment program was started which included computer skills, ESL and GED classes for all ages. Trina first came as a student and it wasn’t long before she became the lead teacher for computer skills and ESL classes, as well as overseeing GED. In all that Trina does to help prevent hunger by giving individuals job skills, she has not forgotten the importance of feeding people who are hungry. Trina now helps coordinate the free lunch in the park on Saturdays and cooks our weekly Wednesday night meal for our community. Because of Trina, the Wednesday night meal and Saturday free lunch in the park program are filled with volunteers that Trina has trained and encouraged to help feed others. Graffiti Ministries writes, "We are so grateful for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering for supporting hunger and employment ministries at Graffiti for many years, as we have been able to encourage many like Trina to feed people in need and help prevent hunger. This offering has been an essential part of the history, present and future of God’s ministry to many hungry New Yorkers".

Camelia's Story

Romanian Gypsy Receives Bread and Gains New Life

Seventeen-year-old Camelia was on her own. No one cared about her. Her husband abandoned her when their son was six months old, leaving her struggling to raise an infant. She wanted to die. Out of food and hope, Camella turned to a place she thought might help- one of several bread bakeries supported by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering that serve impoverished Gypsies in Romania. A Baptist church that runs the bakeries gave Camelia bread and other food. Members who volunteer to make the bread shared the gospel with her. She started reading the Bible and asking questions about the Lord. Now she is preparing to be baptized. God Is changing Camella's life. She's one of many, said Doug Powell, associate pastor and minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, which partners with the Romanian church that runs the bakeries. At least 7,500 Gypsies live in the five villages where hunger offering supported bakeries will eventually run. An agrarian people that are treated in many ways as second-class citizens, Romanian Gypsies have nowhere to find food when the heavy winter snow falls. The bread bakeries provide crucial sustenance for Gypsies and create opportunities to share the hope of Christ. In a country where many people Ignore them, Gypsies sense when people truly care about them. Gypsies want to know why they are being cared for. "Someone showing a genuine Interest in them really sends a message," Powell said. Powell said It Is a privilege for First Baptist Church to partner with Romanian Baptists in ministry to expand God's kingdom. "The Joy of the Lord in the Gypsy believers is obvious, " Powell said. "They don't have material goods, but they love their families. They love the Lord."

James' Story

Fort Worth Man Moves From Need to Hope

Suffering from multiple medical issues, James was forced to quit his job. Next, his wife left him. Depressed and hurting, he needed to move out and start all over on disability assistance. After cutting his expenses "down to the bone" and stretching his resources as far as he could, James still needed help. He turned to Christian Community Assistance in Fort Worth, a food and benevolence ministry supported by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. "I had never thought I'd be in need of a service like that," he said. But things don't always go the way you planned." His mental and emotional state, he admitted, must have been clear the moment he walked in the door."I was about at the lowest point a person could get. I had been rejected by my wife. I had lost my ability to work." He came to the outreach once a month where volunteers gave him a cart full of groceries. The food was a great need, helping him make It through the month. But it's not the most precious aid he received. "More than anything, Ineeded some ministering to. Instead of talking to me like someone with their hand out, Ms. Cruz talked to me like a human belng who was worth aomethlng. And talked to me that God has plans for my future." "She was a friend when I needed a friend. Whenever I left there, I felt like I held my head higher." In many ways, the staff served as counselors as James worked through his depression. They helped him find hope for his life. They were beacons of light where he could only see darkness. After five months of coming to the ministry for food, James no longer needed the assistance. He found a way to support himself. Later when the outreach needed clothes for large men, James sorted through his clothes and donated much of what he had. Occasionally, James still visits the ministry. He may no longer need their help, but he still enjoys the staff's company. They are a part of his past, but he also wants their friendship into the future. "I've got plans for the future. I may be disabled, but there's still things I'd like to do. Just because I can't work a full-time job doesn't mean my life is over."

On the Border

The Hunger Offering Helps Border Children Along the Tracks

After much rain, Paulo, 8, sweeps mud out of his house, which is made of wooden pallets nailed together resting on a dirt floor. His shack is one of many by the tracks on the Texas/Mexico border where he lives with his coal-miner father, mother, two younger brothers and sister. They sleep on wooden pallets on the floor, while the wind and rain howl through large gaps in the walls. Rats and mice run in and out, helping themselves to the little food the family has. One cooking pot sits outside on an open fire for their usual meal of beans. The same pot will be used to heat water on laundry day. Paulo and his family came to Cornerstone Children’s Ranch because they had no food. Because of funds sent to Cornerstone from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, there was plenty of food available to share with them and others like them. “We have watched these children change from very thin, shy children to ones who have a bright twinkle in their eyes and smiles on their faces – and a little tummy, too,” explained Lori Mercer, director. Hunger is a way of life for children of the tracks. The needs are great and increasing. “Please do not forget the border; even though violence is great, we are standing in the gap for the children,” Lori says.

DOM Gypsies

Does Anybody Want to Help These Throwaway Children

Jabur, 12, desperately rummages through garbage cans and trash, searching for discarded milk cartons. If he’s fortunate enough to find one, he will add water to it and serve it to his younger siblings for breakfast – one as young as 2 years old. They live as orphans in a dilapidated house in danger of collapsing. They are Dom Gypsies. Many children like Jabur, born into the Dom community in the Middle East, are so marginalized that orphanages will not accept them, nor do they qualify for international aid. Does anyone care about this rejected society? For several years, the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger has significantly relieved the suffering of the Dom – their extreme poverty, illiteracy, unattended orphans, housing, educational and medical needs, as well as basic food, clothing, and clean water. In Jerusalem, funds support a community center whose director, Amoun Sleem, a Gypsy woman, uses tutoring programs to tackle the crippling problems of high dropout rates among Dom children in primary school. Texas Baptists are extending the hand of God to Dom Gypsies, sending a powerful message that they are people worthy of respect and God’s love.