Hands Against Hunger 8

Local Organization Offers Hope

If you’re looking for a way to accomplish that New Year’s resolution to make a difference, look no further. Down the road in Sharonville, a local non-profit organization offers a chance to do just that. A Child’s Hope International (ACHI) seeks to mobilize the community to help care for vulnerable children around the world by sending them healthy meals and clean drinking water.

One of the organization’s programs, Hands Against Hunger™, provides more than 10,000 meals every day, a number that Executive Director Larry Bergeron hopes to double over the next few years.

“Since we started in 2008, volunteers have produced 25 million high protein meals and 3 million gallons of clean drinking water,” Bergeron says. This significant milestone of 25 million meals was reached in November, and volunteers were treated to a special celebration to thank them for their contributions and commemorate this achievement.

More than 50,000 volunteers have offered their time, efforts and money to help this Cincinnati organization, which delivers food locally through outlets like the Cincinnati Free Store Food Bank, regionally in Appalachia, and to 15 countries around the world, including Haiti.

“Volunteers serve at the Hope Factory or at their place of work or worship to produce Hope Boxes™,” Bergeron explains.

Hope Boxes™ contain high protein food and clean drinking water supplies. These materials are then shipped to Haiti and distributed to trusted partners on the island. The needs of the people of Haiti are staggering. By all standards, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated 3.8 million Haitians not having enough food to meet their daily requirements.

Bergeron humbly explains, “Without our help, many of the Haitian children would not be alive today.”

As he talks about the work of volunteers, Bergeron grins. “All of our materials are assembled by hand for a reason. Volunteers have a soul, a heart and an ability to change the lives of those far less fortunate than them.”

These volunteers are saving a life they will probably never meet. Bergeron says the Hope Boxes™ are called by that name for a reason: a simple cardboard box that is packed by Cincinnati volunteers who genuinely care to provide hope.

In addition to its volunteers, ACHI is made possible by donations and local businesses.

“Even though we only need 25¢ a day to provide a child with high protein food and clean drinking water, those costs become significant when serving large numbers of children,” Bergeron says.

Churches, schools, civic organizations and businesses can support the trustworthy efforts of ACHI, which was recognized in 2015 as a finalist for the coveted BBB Torch Award for Ethics and Integrity in the marketplace. Additionally, 90% of all donations go back to program expenses.

McSwain Carpets & Floors is one of the local businesses that contributes time, money and support with the office and warehouse space where ACHI is located off Kemper Road. President Jason McSwain is humbled to be a part of the unique cause.

“It is not often I come across someone who is the real deal. Larry and the team at ACHI are those kinds of people. Consistent, genuine motives. A passion to be life-changing,” McSwain says.

Why would a business become involved in this? McSwain beams, “McSwain Carpets & Floors has a foundational tenet of partnering with organizations like ACHI, but my ‘why’ is found in Scripture. Luke 14:13 says when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and blind, and you will be blessed.”

Volunteering to create Hope Boxes™ can be a great opportunity to spend time together with your family, church or business. “Twenty-six members of our extended family, three generations, recently worked together in a common cause of serving others,” McSwain says. “It was humbling and memorable.”

For additional information about the organization, its needs and volunteer opportunities, go online. TheChildrenAreWaiting.org