Sponsors in Action
A firsthand look at how much just $22 a month can do.
You don’t need to have a lot, or give a lot, to make a big difference in the life of another. One day, 9 volunteers, and 61 bags of rice and beans. This is all it took for University of Florida Gainesville’s Alive Church group to help an entire school in Honduras, and to impact countless families along the way.
Shaila Segal was one of these volunteers who traveled to Roatán, Honduras and spent the day with ER International’s Backpack Program in March. Going into the trip, she knew about ER International’s mission to keep children in school and feed families. Every week, the Backpack Program gives the 61 students at Samuel Raymond Christian School (SRCS) a backpack filled with enough food for their whole family. This way, the children can stay in school and have the full tummies they need for learning, while also helping to provide for their families. But during her time at SRCS, Shaila saw firsthand some things about the Backpack Program that others may not know, and that make the program truly wonderful and unique.
ER International is a small organization, so they can pay attention to details and take the time to really love and know the people they serve. Shaila says, “Robyn (ER International founder) and her family are so great with the children at SRCS, they are a true blessing in their lives. They work hard to process sponsor paperwork, and to keep track of what food every child and their family needs.” She adds, “It’s a very honest program, and a great opportunity to truly help children and their families.”
To start their volunteer work at SRCS, the Alive Church group first went to the local grocery store in Roatán to help buy the food and household products for the backpacks. Shaila says she could tell immediately that each sponsorshipgoes a long way. “I was really amazed by how much food was purchased through the donations of sponsors. We got bags of rice, beans, and Crisco-like products so the families would have the basic cooking ingredients.”
After loading up on groceries, they went to SRCS and split into two groups. One group helped students with their schoolwork, and the other assembled the backpacks and laid out lunch for the children. Shaila excels in math and values education, so for her getting to spend one-on-one time with the students while reviewing their schoolwork was a highlight of the experience. “I loved getting to know these sweet children on a personal level.” The group played games and ran around with the children during breaks, and wrapped up the day by helping the students finish their assignments. Shaila says the visit was nothing short of eye-opening. “We got to see how happy the children in Honduras are, even though they don’t have many luxuries, and how much fun they had during their breaks and how different their day at school is from a typical American school. They have great hearts and personalities, and the joy that our visit brought was a heartwarming experience.”
Upon returning home, Shaila decided to sponsor one of the children she met at SRCS! About sponsorship, she says, “Sponsoring a child is absolutely worth it. The children at SRCS are very smart, and keeping them in school for as long as possible is so important. After seeing the Backpack Program, I can tell you that all of your money is being spent to help improve the lives of these children. ER International is a family-run organization, and they care deeply about the students at SRCS and the people of Honduras.”
Volunteers like Shaila’s group from Alive Church in Florida are always welcome at the Backpack Program. There is nothing better than introducing the amazing students at SRCS to others. Receiving a good education is critical to breaking poverty cycles and improving the futures of these students and their families.
Sponsoring a student in the Backpack Program costs only $22 a month, all of which goes directly to feeding families and keeping kids in school. To become a sponsor, or to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Backpack Program, please email email@example.com.
For the Children,
Ernie and Robyn Breaux