It had been three years since my first Reliv Kalogris Foundation (RKF) trip to Haiti, a trip I will never forget. While I had not forgotten that experience in my heart and head, from a sensory standpoint, my memory of what it is like to physically visit an RKF program had faded. Then I visited our programs in the Philippines.
The stench of rotting garbage and stale water, the blanket of searing heat and near-100% humidity and the landscape of makeshift living quarters and communities of indescribable poverty and squalor are, in isolation, painful and disturbing. But those sensory elements are dwarfed by the light and vibrancy of the RKF programs:
• The sparkling eyes, beaming smiles, excited laughter, radiant skin and affectionate displays of appreciation and respect from all our RKF kids.
• The shining heart of our volunteers and their commitment to work tirelessly every day to provide
life-changing nutrition and support.
• The Foundation’s buildings rising amidst the shanties and rubbish — bright, beautiful monuments to the hope and change possible through the generosity of Reliv Distributors.
• The glistening reflection of the sun on the watery trail of a mother’s thankful tear as her child drinks a life-saving Reliv shake.
The sensory experience adds an indescribable context, depth and palpability to the lustrous light and impact of the Foundation’s programs. I was honored and humbled once again to bask in their glow.
Old Friends, New Faces
by Senior Vice President and CFO Steve Albright, RKF board member
This trip to the Philippines included my third visit to the RKF home in Cavite. I always feel a sense of pride when I go the Cavite house, our first major project for the Foundation. Sister Beth Perez and her team have done a wonderful job of making the house a place of safety, comfort and well-being for the local children over all of these years. You can see that in the happy, healthy smiles on all their faces!
We also visited the newest RKF facility in Welfareville. Welfareville is a neighborhood of metro Manila with block after block of pieced-together shanties — right in the shadow of the city’s high-rise buildings and gleaming office towers. Pastor George and Blessie Padilla are the driving forces behind the RKF’s efforts in this area, and this was the first time I had spent time with these dedicated souls.
Children wearing hats made from Reliv Now® for Kids labels greeted our arrival — what a beautiful sight! Kids took our hands and placed them to their foreheads — a sign of respect in the Philippines. We served the children their afternoon shake. For many, these shakes represent the only decent food they will see all day. Yet they all waited patiently for their cup, making sure the littlest children got theirs first. If we mistakenly offered one of them another shake, they politely declined. Their gratitude was humbling.
Our stories, photos and videos provide a window into the vital work of the RKF. But there is nothing like being there in person to see the bright, sunny faces of the children your generosity helps every day. On their behalf, I thank you. Together we can BE THE CHANGE!