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The extreme poverty Ditty and Juliana Reasor witnessed in Russia during the adoption of their son, motivated them to found Giving Children Hope, a place to help the needy children, both locally and worldwide.
More than 20 years later, Giving Children Hope has grown into a non-profit organization that provides support and help at the local communities and different countries around the world.
Since the beginning, they have relied on the help of local churches and businesses that provide them with the supplies to make donations in the counties of Los Angeles and Orange and other countries when they are needed.
For the first 10 years, says Sean Lawrence, CEO of Giving Children Hope, the organization’s work focused on international aid however today, half of its work is focused on local aid. Its motto, «loving thy neighbor across the street and around the world,» summarizes its work to help as many needy people and children as possible.
‘Across the street’
According to Lawrence, the organization works with 60 different schools that in Southern California. These schools identify the low-income children, who are provided with a bag full of food each week.
“We deliver a backpack full of food every week to these kids at these schools, making sure they have enough food so they can concentrate to do well in school.”, said Lawrence, noting that their deliveries range from Lynwood to Santa Ana.
Lawrence notes that the organization is not a food bank but rather distributes food directly to the needy children.
Giving Children Hope also offers nutrition and financial literacy classes for low-income mothers.
«We are truly trying to patch a path for these families. We have really got success stories of families who saved money, improved their living conditions, and saved money to send their kids to college and those kind of things”, said Lawrence
«It’s really a approach, to not just feeding them every week. We are helping them find a path out of poverty” he added.
‘Around the world’
Savannah Esquivel, communications and marketing director for Giving Children Hope, says that the organization is always ready to send pallets of medical or food supply in the event of a disaster. Each container can help 30,000 to 40,000 people.
«We also partner with global organizations that are hosting clinics clinics or hospitals. We have the capability to send them those supplies,» said Esquivel.
In recent years, they have sent supplies to Haiti to help those affected by the earthquake in 2010, and to Japan, after the 2012 earthquake and tsunami. Ecuador, El Salvador and Venezuela are some of the Latin American countries they have supported in the middle of crisis.
Giving Children Hope has collaborated with the All for Venezuela organization to collect and ship three pallets of food and medicine together with organizations and groups in Miami, which are in charge of dividing them into boxes for distribution in the country. The first one was sent in October 2016 and the most recent one was at the beginning of August.
A place with resources for the community
In order to distribute food to the needy children, Giving Children Hope depends on the help of hundreds of volunteers who help to pack the backpacks.
“If you care about serving. «If you care about the poor, there is a place here where you can give your time, treasure and talent,» Lawrence said.
The organization accepts donations of clothing or food. They also receive monetary donations that can be sent by mail or through their website.
Plans for the future, says Lawrence, is to continue to improve their services, by making the maximum out of the headquarters they now have. They currently offer a medical clinic in site and through a mobile unit, but they hope to open a resource center.