by Kayla Raymond

A significant need has been brought to my attention in the last week and so I figured I would give you all a chance to rally together and help me ensure this need is met.

A commitment we make to our Starfish families is sending them home with dry food each week. We do this for a number of reasons, but the biggest is making sure their families are well taken care of during the year they participate in our program. Another big reason I believe in this act is because I want to do whatever we can to help them get as far ahead as they can in this short year we have with them. Most of the women will be starting small businesses through our loan program, so helping them with food throughout the week, allows them to invest more into their businesses instead of taking some of the profit for food. That may seem weird to you and maybe this sounds hypocritical since I’m such a firm believer in not giving hand-outs. But, if you look at the bigger picture, their loans start at $100 – $150, so they’re still just working with minimal resources. Why don’t we give bigger loans, you ask? Because we want to make sure they have the skills to run a business with a small amount first. Once their first loan is repaid, we add to their amount.

The point is, we do all we can through this program to make sure these families stay together, pouring all of our resources into them. At the end of the day the resources still seem so small in comparison to the big, complex problems they have. It’s a double-edged sword, but I still have faith in the program. I truly believe it paves a way to women realizing who they are in Christ, to families being equipped to stay together and to children having a brighter future by their mamas participating in the program.

The goal of the program is to see women standing firmly on their own two feet, having been given opportunities to learn and grow in who they are as an individual, mother and member of society. Also realize this, these women’s reality is choosing if they can keep their children or would it be better to put them into an orphanage. Our families have gone days without food prior to our program and most of them are living in severely critical conditions.

With that as my opening argument, our funds to buy food and send our families home with food each week has run out. For a time, I was able to source free food from Kids Against Hunger, but they’ve been unable to import food to Haiti so that door has closed. We had a few churches raise money specifically for this need, but those resources have dried up as well. The cost of food has gotten significantly more expensive due to the failing economy and inflation. For example, a large 55-pound bag of rice use to cost $15, today it’s costing about $23. We divide these large bags into smaller bags to send home with the families each week and simply put, it’s costing more and more to do so.

Our budget today is around $300/week to ensure all of our families go home with food for the week. What that boils down to is $8.57/person as we have 35 participants. With 12 weeks left in our Starfish year, I’m looking for 35 one-time donations of $111.41 which would mean a fully-funded program that is sending food home and keeping all of our families fed. Due to the recent unrest in Haiti, I also believe going back to the basics and making sure people are fed is more important than ever.

So in the spirit of giving and in the spirit of changing the world and making a direct impact on families in need, who is in?

Drop a comment on my Facebook shares so I can keep track and I will know when we get to 35 donations!

to make a one-time donation via PayPal, click here

or send a check to

Touch of Hope   PO Box 230   Rock Rapids, IA 51246

Mesi anpil! Thank you so much!