If you asked Zoe Prekop about herself, she would say she is a junior from Chicago that loves traveling, exploring new places and even cliff jumping! But in addition to being a fun-loving teen open to new ideas and experiences, Zoe has been a huge advocate for ending hunger and poverty and organizing support for Heifer International.
As a member of the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church--a congregation of about 60 people--she has been doing Living Gift Markets in her community since she was 9-years old. Over the years, Zoe has raised approximately $7,000 and says she plans to continue doing this popular fundraiser as long as she can. Zoe recently spoke with Beth Gunzel, Community Engagement Coordinator for Heifer in Chicago, to share her story.
Beth: What inspired you to get involved in hunger and poverty issues?
Zoe: My family has always been one to give back to the community in one way or another, so I grew up with not only an expectation, but wanting to help those in need. When I was nine years old, back in 2005, I saw a Heifer magazine [World Ark] in my grandparents’ house. I looked through the whole magazine and loved the idea of a sustainable donation. I’ve been working in LPPCs homeless shelter for many years and I find myself attracted to helping the homeless and hungry, which is probably why I was so drawn to Heifer.
Beth: How do you get church members to support your Living Gift Market?
Zoe: I sell Heifer [animals] during LPPCs Alternative Christmas Fair where there are multiple people from different organizations selling a variety of merchandise. Everyone is so supportive and they realize that even though they don’t walk off with a physical gift, what they bought is more important than anything they could have gotten wrapped from a store.
Beth: Are there any particular countries that Heifer works in that you are most interested in?
Zoe: As of now the Goats Give Back project in Nepal seems very exciting! Most of the time I don’t have a specific country that I want to send to, it’s always been about helping as many people as I can. One day I hope I can travel to all these different places and participate in person.
Beth: What three tips would you give on having a successful Living Gift Market?
Zoe: I would say that make sure you have enough information about what you’re selling and why it’s important. Having an honor card as proof of purchase never hurts, and lastly you need to be passionate about what you’re doing because people will feel that energy and it will not only get you excited about their purchase, it will get them excited too.
Beth: What words of encouragement can you provide for other teens considering doing a Living Gift Market?
Zoe: Never give up or get discouraged about not selling tons of stuff. In my very first year I sold around $80 in chickens and geese. It didn’t seem like I was doing anything, but then I realized that even if I’m only helping four people, that’s four more people that won’t go to sleep hungry for years to come. Do what you can and know that every bit helps.
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
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Members of BRAVE from Sedgwick Middle School, Smith STEM School, and Conard High School with founder Meaghan Davis. BRAVE recently raised more than $6,600 to send 24 girls in other countries to school. Please click the title of the story to read more!
Velasco Family Supports Heifer International in Memory of their Daughter, Yvette
A music recital benefiting Heifer International’s Empower Women Movement will be taking place on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. Organized by State College native Raina Arnett, the concert is intended to showcase some classical musical talent while also highlighting a terrific social cause. “I believe classical music is something that everyone can enjoy, no matter your age, background, occupation or knowledge of the subject,” Arnett said. “I’ve played on the Young Artists Concert Series at the UUFCC before and each time I like to raise money for a different cause supporting young women around the world. After some research, I decided to support the Heifer International’s Empower Women campaign this year.” Please click the title of the story to read more!
Upon learning that there is enough food in the world for everyone but it is not distributed equally, fifth-grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) students at Mabel Hoggard Magnet School in Las Vegas, NV, got rocking on a solution. They rocked in more ways than one. In two short months, students established their own company, created more than 200 original pet rocks, and raised $550 to fight world hunger... Please click the title of the story to read more!
Project recipient, Frank V, expresses his gratitude after his family received a cow from Heifer Int'l in Poland in the year of 1949. Please click the title to read his letter!
In 2013 I took my son, then a second grader, to the Hunger Banquet at Misericordia University where I was a student. There he learned about the difference between poor, middle, and wealthy classes and just how many children go hungry around the world. The distended bellies in the photos really upset him. Afterwards he asked if he could mail food to the poor kids. I knew of Heifer from when I was in youth group and found it was still helping those around the world and explained how it works to my son. He was immediately on board. He approached the school about holding his first physical fundraiser on campus during the Hunger Awareness Week. He now does a fundraiser annually, creating youtube call-to-action videos... Please click the title of the story to read more!!
Our Sunday School has been participating in the Heifer Program for the last four years. In the past, we have purchased chickens, ducks, bees, a lamb and this year the children decided on a calf. They have raised $1277.69. Last Sunday one of our dairy farmers brought a calf so the children could see what was being sent. Praise be to God for this gift of two calves.
I am the adviser of our school's Character Council at Summit Road STEM Elementary in Reynoldsburg, OH. We have been doing outreach fundraisers which impact our school, our community and globally. The council chose Heifer International as the global outreach. They challenged each person in our school to donate 5 "little" pennies which equaled 2,500 pennies. In doing so, we as a building would be able to raise $25.00 dollars. After collecting our "little" pennies, the total was 11,664 pennies equaling $116.64. This number will be changing because the council received more pennies after they made their announcement. The council had originally thought they would like the donation go towards a flock of ducks or honeybees. Now they will need to review the options and decide what the donation will go towards since they collected $91.00 over their goal! I am so proud of the council members and our school community for exceeding our goal!
Our Church (West Lebanon NH UCC) just finished a very successful 2016 Heifer drive. We initiated the month long Fill The Ark calendar on April 3rd by introducing the Fill The Ark program to both the Sunday School youth and the entire congregation. Over the next month the Sunday School would paste paper animals they colored to fill up a large cardboard Ark set up in the Sanctuary. During the Sunday May 1 service the Sunday School youth collected the boxes from the congregation and filled the front of the Ark. This Sunday the youth will decide what animals to purchase with the $1,000 raised. Also in June the youth and interested members of the congregation will travel to the Heifer farm in Rutland MA to learn more about Heifer and have an afternoon at the farm. Heifer's Fill The Ark calendar was a terrific tool that helped energize our congregation's 2016 Heifer project.
Earlier this spring, the Youth of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Southington, CT organized and participated in a ‘Famine Weekend’ to raise money and awareness for Heifer International and other like-minded organizations. The Church Youth, grades 6-12 begin fasting after school lunch on Friday and did not eat solid food again until Sat evening at 6:00, sustaining themselves on only water and some juice during that period. They asked people to support their efforts through monetary donations. After school, they joined together at the church to play a variety of games and exercises... Please click the title of the story to read more!
Heifer International Supporter, Ms. Fitzgerald, shares an article from the Okanogan Independent written on Thursday, May 2nd, 1968, in Okanogan, WA... Click the link below to read the article!
H. Frank Carey High School held a small presentation at which students were awarded with a $1,000 donation to Heifer International... Click the link to read the rest of the story!