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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The youth from Mt Carmel Church of the Brethren in Scottville, NC painted this in support of Heifer after studying about the organization and raising $1200.00!! (Photo posted by Tara Temple Hanson)
There have been a number of attempts to snap the Curse of the Billy Goat that supposedly afflicts the Chicago Cubs, but this one might be the best, if only because it’s for a pretty good cause. Heifer International, a charity that looks to end world hunger by handing out livestock along with agricultural training to those in need, is running an “End the Curse” goat drive. Please click the title of the story to read more!
My Little Ones Creating Paintings for Heifer! Photos Submitted by Serena G.
The event featured international crafts and games, live music, delicious food and, of course, farm animals. Photos by Joyce Roberts - http://www.thelandmark.com/news/2016-10-06/Rutland_News/Heifer_hosts_Global_Harvest_Festival.html
Since 1944, communities, churches, families, and businesses have carried forward the mission of Heifer International by providing a hand for those in need all over the world. The impact of these generous and caring hearts is beyond our imagination. Click the title of this story to read about the tremendous goal the Overseas Relief Committee in North Carolina set on giving 'A Cow A Month" for 1947!
Walt and Jean Wist shared a beautiful letter about their church's opportunity to Fill the Ark! 60 Campers experienced a week of singing, reading, and learning during Camp Grand Safari,at the end of the week they raised over $5,000 for families and communities in need. To read the full letter, please click on the title of this story!
In September, First Congregational Church of Perry Center, NY introduced Heifer International to their congregation because they wanted to expose their members to a variety of different giving opportunities. On the last Sunday of the month they held a Living Gift Market. They had a special focus on cows because in Wyoming County (where their church is located) there are more cows than people! They served cow shaped cookies and milk for refreshments. They also made custom Christmas tree paper ornaments shown in the picture to people who purchased animals. They raised over $500 and chose to buy a cow. Some donations are still coming in, so hopefully they will be able to purchase some chickens as well! Way to go First Congregational Church of Perry Center, NY! We are so grateful for your support.
Bring the whole family to a fun-filled festival of food and farming this weekend, October 1st & 2nd, at Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA! Celebrate the harvest at home and around the world with their friendly animals and knowledgeable staff.
The Rozell Family stopped in for a tour of the Heifer International Village over the weekend. Please click on the title of this article to see photos and read about their experience at the Village!