As we walked in for Sunday worship service, Sue Bishop greeted my husband Allen and me. She asked us, “Would you like to represent Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Tustin, California, and volunteer to tell folks about Heifer International at the Orange County Fair this summer?” and to Sue’s surprise, we said, “Why, yes, we would!”
You see, Allen and I have been long-time supporters of Heifer International. When our children were small, and we were Sunday school teachers, our Sunday school students collected funds for cows, bees and goats. When Sue Bishop asked us to volunteer at the Orange County Fair to represent Aldersgate, and tell folks about Heifer International, we said YES! In preparation for the Orange County Fair, Sue Bishop asked us to attend a Heifer International training.
During the training, Allen and I learned about the mission of Heifer: to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. Heifer works with families all across the globe. They give the families a hand up, not a handout. Heifer brings communities together and links them to markets in their areas. Because of the efforts of Heifer International, and folks like us at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Tustin, milk, eggs, and fresh vegetables will nourish millions of people. Families that only knew poverty will be building businesses. Heifer International provides long-term solutions to long-term situations.
With the Orange County Fair just a few weeks away, Allen and I wanted to learn as much as we could about Heifer International. We had a trip scheduled to Little Rock, Arkansas, for my dad’s retirement (he practiced medicine in Little Rock for 50 years). We knew that Heifer International was headquartered in Little Rock, so Allen and I planned a visit. What a visit it was!
There were three parts to our Little Rock visit: the interactive, educational building, the “green” headquarter office buildings, and the Heifer Ranch. The educational, interactive building, and the “green building” are located at 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202, near the Clinton Library. The education, interactive building was very informative. Our eyes were opened when we saw how many people around the globe live. I was shocked to find out that half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day. After the interactive, educational building, we walked next door to the “green” headquarter office building.
We were amazed by Heifer International’s Green Building. It’s design set a new standard in sustainable development. Even the parking lot was “green.”
After our tour of the “green” building, we headed to the Heifer Ranch, which is 45 minutes northwest of Little Rock, in Perryville, Arkansas. Heifer Ranch offers programs such as multi-night programs that provide a firsthand look at the challenges surrounding hunger and poverty. For example, Allen and I saw an abandoned bus that participants may live in during their stay at Heifer Ranch.
When it came time for the Heifer International volunteer time at the Orange County Fair, Allen and I were ready! Did you know that a goat can provide a family with a gallon of milk a day? When Heifer International provides a goat to a family, the goat comes to the family pregnant. This allows the goat to be able to give the family milk. The family that receives the goat must promise to give the offspring to another family.
During our brief volunteer time at the Orange County Fair, we got to know the Heifer International goat, Lola. Lola was only six months old. Fair goers were able to pet Lola, and, we were able to share a bit about Heifer International with them.
- Carla Buchanan