Monday, July 26, 2010

Rickshaw Wala

Amrita, of Yesu Garden, recently posted the following heartwarming story that is fully in keeping with the H2 Helper challenge. Here is the situation:

During the cold season a rickshaw wala sought shelter in our church porch. He is a street dweller and usually camps beside his rickshaw with his few possessions .His means of livelihood is ferrying passengers and earning a few rupees everyday. He eats at cheap roadside food stalls and uses public places to wash. One night someone stole his clothes and blanket an elderly couple in our neighbourhood had given him...

Read the rest of the story at Yesu Garden: Rickshaw Wala.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Guyanese Village Built by Dog Biscuits

The following story was originally published in Florida Catholic and re-printed on the website, Food for the Poor. The Food for the Poor organization is dedicated to helping the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Joe and Judy Roetheli of Kansas City, Mo., made their fortune with a treat that cleans dogs’ teeth, and now the Catholic couple are using the fruits of their labor to house and feed those in need in far–off lands.

“We’ve been fortunate to have been successful and to have made the kind of money we’ve made,” said Joe Roetheli, 61, a parishioner of Holy Family Catholic Church in Kansas City. “There is only so much that we need and God wants us to do something righteous with our good fortune.”

Last October the Roethelis answered that call from God, partnered with the Florida–based Food for the Poor international nonprofit relief agency, and broke ground on the Lil’ Red Village, a 100–house development in Guyana, the only English–speaking nation in South America.

Their $800,000 contribution allowed Food for the Poor to build enough houses to shelter up to 600 people in the village and provide them with sanitation facilities, a community center, a school, several retail shops, a water tower, electric service and a 5–acre community garden to grow food.

Their path to building a village for the poor in Guyana began with their Catholic faith — and an intervention from two priests, one from Ohio and the other from New York, Joe Roetheli told Catholic News Service. But, their means to be able to give so generously began much earlier, with an idea for a business and staggering achievement.

Roetheli was a federal government employee and his wife was a high school teacher in 1996, the year they invented “Greenies,” a dog treat that cleans the teeth of canines and freshens their breath.
By 2003 they had sold hundreds of millions of the dog treats, allowing them to form the Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation, a charitable organization to help those in need. “Judy and I have always believed that it is important to give back, whether it is to your local community or to the world as a whole,” Roetheli said.

Their foundation funds a pet visitation program in nursing homes, mostly in rural Missouri; helps finance documentaries and books; and with their involvement in the Guyana project it now has branched into building stable villages for the poor in developing nations.

The Roethelis got the idea of joining forces with a relief organization to build a village when a substitute priest came to their church and discussed the great need in third world nations like Guyana. Shortly afterward, another visiting priest from New York told them about Food for the Poor and the work it was doing to help feed and house those in need in the Caribbean and Latin America.
“I almost see it as divine intervention twice,” Roetheli said. “Both times we heard things that we needed to hear.”

Initially, the couple had decided to develop their village in Jamaica, but after a year of trying unsuccessfully to get through government red tape in order to build, they moved the project to Guyana and broke ground on the Lil’ Red Village in October 2008.

“The Roethelis are amazing people and so generous with their talents, time, energy and money,” said Angel A. Aloma, executive director of Food for the Poor, during an interview with CNS. “They are a great example of altruism. They have taken the rewards of their labor and used it to help those in need.” Last March –– when the project was about 75 percent complete –– the Roethelis made their first trip to Guyana to attend the dedication ceremony of the village they helped build. “We were taken aback at the extreme poverty in that country, and even though the houses we built are not the kind of houses Americans would live in, it’s such an improvement from what they had,” Roetheli said. Though he’d like to build another village soon, he said his foundation will have to recover from the financial hit it took when the stock market nose–dived in late 2008.

“We’ve got to weather the storm financially,” Roetheli said. “We took a monstrous hit. But, we’ll get there. I’m confident of that.”

For more stories of how Food for the Poor has been helping poor people in the southern hemisphere, visit the organization's website by clicking here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Ticket

Since I have not found anything of particular interest to readers in the past almost ten days (well, of interest to me -- I am not always certain what is of interest to readers), I thought I might re-post here a blog entry I posted on 100th Lamb a couple of days ago. It has to do with a use (again) of God's credit card and how God seems always to help us when we are in the act of helping others. Here is the story:

On Monday, one of the members in my prayer group told me of someone, a certain Jose, who has been mostly unemployed this year, who needed a plane ticket for Texas (from California) this coming weekend! I have offered my frequent flyers miles from time to time, but this time would be quite a challenge. It is a holiday weekend, and it was a last-minute ticket. I knew I would not have been asked had it not been important, but could the airlines help?

I called the Premier Executive line for United's elite flyers. The agent on the other end was very pleasant. She found one flight only from San Jose and one flight from San Francisco. Then she volunteered that both required the same number of FF miles; however, for those miles the flight from San Jose was first class and left a tad bit later although still very early in the morning and the one from San Francisco was economy and really early. Well, that was a no-brainer, especially since San Jose is the closer airport.

The agent patiently entered all the "gift" information for Jose and sent him a copy of the itinerary. Then she charged me the required $35 for the telephonic, last-minute transaction. I used God's credit card to pay for it.

Later, my friend called and said that Jose had noticed the charge on the itinerary. Should she pay it, she asked, or would he be charged at the airport. Neither, I explained. I had used God's credit card to pay for it, and I was certain that the money would appear before the card payment was due.

Then I settled down to work on bills since it was pay day. As I worked through the budget, I found a $35 bill that I had planned to pay this pay day but for some reason that I had not caught, it was already paid! I think it is fair to count those found dollars as payment for the $35 I owe on God's credit card.

My only comment: well, that did not take long! I think my friend Omar is correct -- God spoils me in not making me wait!

Oh, and one other comment: I love having this credit card; it has given me many opportunities to help people that I could not otherwise have done!