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
Welcome to the Heifer family. Donors, volunteers, recipients and our teams around the world share a common goal: To end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it's achievable. Together we are the family that can create this change.
Together we can make cows fly
See stories of how lives are being transformed around the globe through Heifer's work in more than 20 countries.
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
A letter from a young Heifer International supporter, expressing her overwhelming gratitude for our mission of ending hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Click the title of this story to read more!
We are a sixth grade classroom at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, IL. In December, we received word from an anonymous donor that they are willing to donate $250 to a charity of our choosing in our name. The students were so excited about the possibility of giving to an organization that offers help to people in need. They were given the challenge to research different organizations and create a persuasive presentation of why that organization should get the donation. Click the title of this story to read more!
December 26, 2014 (This was raised by) my fourth grade catechism class at St. Joseph's in South Lyon, MI after studying scripture... "When you were hungry and I fed you? Naked and I clothed you? Thirsty and I gave you to drink? "When you did it to the least of these, you did it for me." And they each scrimped and saved and came up with $100. Considering they are only six in number, I am so very proud of them. They wanted to send personal messages. I promised I'd send them along... Sincerely, Ann D.
On October 2, 2014, we received a letter from long time supporter Barbara of Ohio. Her letter was a response to a note she received from one of Heifer International's Donor Services Representatives, Christina. We wanted to hear what makes Barbara passionate about Heifer's mission. Click on the title of this story to read more!
I'm not a Facebook participant, but when I read the Facebook "favorite memories" in the current issue of World Ark, I had to share my favorite Heifer memory with you. Click on the title of this story to read more!
Received on December 23, 2014, and in honor of the upcoming holiday season, we thought we would share these adorable and inspiring collages created by some of Heifer International's youngest supporters. If you would like to share your artwork and letters with Heifer International, we would encourage you to either email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to: Heifer International Attn: Donor Services 1 World Ave Little Rock, AR 72202 We look forward to the mail we'll be receiving from you during the 2014-15 holiday season!
Dear Heifer International, I'm happy to enclose a check for $200 raised by our first grade students through a cookie sale and family donations! Our students were very enthusiastic in the roles they played to help purchase animals for needy families.Their awareness of the needs of others was heightened and the realization that children can make a difference in our big world was made clear. Thank you for your assistance with our project! Sincerely, Mary Smith, First Grade Teacher
If we all work together, we can make cows fly!Kamil Madanat, Partnership & Business Development Manager, Heifer International
Saturday is the day! The Heifer Festival, taking place in Richwood, OH, is fun for all kids. Play games, win tickets and trade tickets won for prizes at the General Store! And don't forget to bring your teddy bears that need surgery. We can fix them. Kids not only love to play the games and win prizes at the Heifer Festival, they also love the animals. It's a day they won't forget! Bring the family for a day of fun. To learn more about the Heifer Festival, check out heiferfestival.org. For a list of the scheduled events, please visit the following link: http://heiferfestival.org/2015%20Program.html.
The work we do may be serious, but we always need to find the fun.Pierre Ferrari, CEO of Heifer International
For the fifth year children attending Kids Summer Day Camp at the First Baptist Church in Girard have given their support to Heifer International by collecting their pennies. Click the title of this story to read more!
Cindy Wakeland, Director of Religious Education with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana Champaign in Illinois, recently notified Heifer International of an incredible day camp they hosted. Click the title of this story to read more!
If you want to make yourself happy, serve others. If you want to make others happy, serve others.Pierre Ferrari, CEO of Heifer International speaking at the 2015 YNPN National Conference & Leaders Institute
Heifer would like to thank Avery for participating in our first annual honor card contest!