Many kids spend their summers playing sports, hanging out with friends, and avoiding as much responsibility as possible, but not the Gilchrists. This summer Johnny, 12; Joey, 11; Holly, 8; and Hannah, 6, did odd jobs to raise money for the Baraka community in Zambia.
Recently, Bridgette Gilchrist of Northbrook, IL, heard about Hands at Work in Africa from a friend, Chloe Steinke. Chloe had invited a handful of people to a Skype call she held at her house with the founder of Hands at Work, George Snyman.
Bridgette Gilchrist said, “After talking to George, I was really excited about hearing about Baraka, Zambia. I told my four kids about the situation and the first thing one of them said was, ‘How can we help the orphans?’”
Joey immediately responded, “We can take care of other people’s pets over the summer!” A short while later he had a flyer printed up advertising his services with the slogan, “H.E.L.P.: Helping Everyone’s Lives Prosper.” He passed out flyers all over the neighborhood and talked about the vulnerability of the children in Baraka.
"It was hard to raise the money at first because I didn't get a call for awhile,” said Joey. “But as the days passed, the calls started coming in. I love dogs so it very fun taking care of them. I heard all of the terrible things from my mom that happened there and I wanted to help." Joey, with help from his brother, Johnny, ended up having a pet every week from the end of June to the beginning of August.
Hannah and Holly put a map of Zambia up in their bedroom and pray for the village of Baraka nightly. Hannah decided to make her own flyer as well. Since she wasn't old enough to pet sit she listed chores on her flyer like taking in the mail while people were on vacation, sweeping porches, watering flowers, or any other tasks people wanted done. The title of her flyer was "Africa on My Shoulders".
Hannah and her sister, Holly, had a neighbor that called them all summer long to collect her newspapers and mail. Bridgette also put out a bucket at the office where she worked to collect change from all my officemates.
“At the end of the summer we ended up with $500! What a miracle!” said Bridgette. With the success the kids have had they have decided to pet sit and collect mail for the village in Baraka, not just in the summer, but all year round.
While many children are saving up money for the next toy or video game these kids were raising money for orphaned children in Africa. When asked if it was hard to give the money away 12-year old Johnny said, “It wasn't that hard to give the money away because I knew it was going for a good cause. I knew that the orphans needed help." 6-year old Holly added, “"It was so sad that they didn't have anything. I loved working for the orphans because you could actually feel what it was like to give money away to other people. I want to help them because we have everything that they don't have. It feels really nice to give away money."
8-year old Hannah said, “I have drawn a line from where we are to Zambia on a map and I taped it above my bed. I knew that I had to give the money away because I knew that the orphans need stuff more than me. They are a really poor country and God is telling a lot of people to give them money so they can live. I prayed for Baraka and that all the orphans get what they need and that they would have clean water and food. One day I want to visit Baraka."
Hands at Work would love to thank the Gilchrist family on behalf of the community of Baraka and add that I know the children of Baraka would love for you to visit!