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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Submitted by Sarah B | Mount Carmel, UT
I wanted to share my daughters display that she put together for her 4h agricultural fair that she and her club (Doesy Doats Dairy goat club) participated in. The public loved the display and many people took advantage of the pamphlets and goodies that you generously sent her (Sarah L). Thanks again for letting my daughter and her club be part of your wonderful foundation!
1966 - A photo of a Korean mother and her two children who received the gift of livestock through Heifer's mission efforts.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old proverb; “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” Well what if everyone helped their neighbors with this same concept. The news is constantly filled with the growing disproportionate wealth in this world and the middle class disappearing bit by bit. But there are still organizations out there that are trying to help those less fortunate help themselves... Please Click the title to read the rest of the story!
People and farm animals filled the parking lot Saturday of Church of the Holy Nativity for its 10th annual Family Farm Fest. Along with providing the opportunity for families to get up close to, and learn about, a variety of live farm animals, the event supports Heifer International... Please click the title of the story to read more!
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Submitted by Nora L | Armonk NY
The Family of Kysuconova. Grandmother, parents and 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl are thanking most heartily for the generous gift of a fine cow given to them from the American friends of Czechoslovakia; this cow is their saviour from starvation.
One sweet gesture by one 4-H family in Dickinson County, Kansas, has bloomed onto a global scale. In three years, the Tokach family of Abilene, Kansas, has raised enough donations through their 4-H beekeeping project and their small batches of honey to donate 165 honeybee hives through Heifer Project International. That’s $4,950 worth of honeybees that are donated to villagers around the world who are trying to change their lives. Please click the title of the article to read more!
Dear Heifer International, We are students in Miss DeMerell's second grade class in Chandler, Arizona. We earn class money each week for things like showing role model behavior, performing our class jobs, and reading minutes... Please click the title to read the full letter!