First Baptist Church helps feed orphans in Haiti
Keeling: ‘[It helps] children that are getting out of slavery in the mountains’
The First Baptist Church of Cassville is partnering up with The Pack Shack of Bentonville, Ark., for a meal packing event to help Grace for Orphans Ministry. All the meals will be sent to an orphanage in Haiti.
Scott Conover, First Baptist Church youth pastor, said the Pack Shack will bring people to the First Baptist Church in Cassville, set up and run the party. Then the volunteers from the First Baptist Church will pack the meals for the orphanage.
“They bring a team and throw a packing party for any group or organization to pack meals to feed any non-profit that they choose, at very little cost,” Conover said. “They will be coming on Nov. 16 for students and families to help pack meals for Grace for Orphans Ministry. Then, the students will be playing laser tag afterward in our gymnasium.”
According to Conover, this summer, the First Baptist Church high school girls youth group went to Haiti on a mission trip and worked with Grace for Orphans, which operates an orphanage in Haiti.
“The youth group spent a week in June as a mission trip,” Conover said. “They led Bible studies, fed people who where there and really helped in any way.”
Conover said when they were in Haiti, they found many issues that the people deal with.
“One of those issues is they go every week to get their food, after they received their paycheck from the director of the orphanage located in the United States,” Conover said. “Once they get the money, they go into the nearest town to get the food. However, sometimes there are riots that are going on.
“They, in turn, cannot go into town to buy food, so they may not have food for a week.”
According to Conover, this ministry is to help give the orphanage a security net, so they could still eat for a week, or so, in case they were not able to get into town.
“This is an opportunity to care for those who are in need of food,” Conover said. “Also, this is a way for us to share the gospel with them as well. The people who are able to satisfy their physical needs, as far as food and sustinance, can also satisfy their spiritual needs as well, through Christ.”
Conover said he is excited to be able to do this and give the opportunity for the church’s students to serve the people of Haiti.
Brooke Keeling, of Monett, is the founder and director for the non-profit the church is working with, Redemption for Haiti.
“I started it when I was 18, and it’s kind of an umbrella non-profit,” Keeling said. “We have a feeding program, hospital ministry, street ministry, a part of it that works for child prostitution and what we call safe homes that are orphanages.”
According to Keeling, some of those orphanages are dedicated to children who have been purchased from slavery or children who have learning disabilities.
“The First Baptist Church reached out to me last year with a group of young girls who were asking what opportunities there were for them to help,” Keeling said. “So they actually went and helped in my orphanage with some of the children who had been rescued from slavery. They went down and they painted and fix up projects for the house, they also did a VBS program with the children every night, where each of the girls designed their own lesson, and taught that to the children.”
Keeling said they also took the children to the beach and did fun things, but the idea of going was, of course, to expose the children to a different culture and different part of the world.
“Through this, a lot of the girls fell in love with the children,” Keeling said. “Also, they made long term relationships that have turned into them taking on Redemption for Haiti as one of their projects this year.”
According to Keeling, they are filling a shipping container with donations to send to Haiti.
“My non-profit has used the Pack Shack since Haiti had that flood a couple of years ago,” Keeling said. “Redemption for Haiti is the 501C3, so any donation run through that organization, then Grace for Orphans, is used at one of the safe homes that they own where the supplies will be sent and the youth group went to work.”
According to Keeling, she started this because her entire family is adopted.
“Our parents are Caucasian,” Keeling said. “All of our children are African American. I grew up in a Caucasian society and our parents wanted to expose us to something different.”
Keeling said in 2011, her family went down to Haiti with a relief team, and she fell in love with it.
“I felt like I could be myself there,” Keeling said.
When she came back, she started doing bake sales to help out. Then she filled for a 5O1C3 so it would be official, and when she turned 18, her application was approved.