The Reliv Kalogris Foundation is traveling to Haiti with Papa Noel (Santa Claus) to spread joy this holiday season — and we’re bringing Reliv Distributors Tony Pezzullo & Joni Schwartz with us! Tony and Joni won the trip through a special letter-writing contest among International Conference attendees. Participants submitted letters explaining why they wanted to go on the trip, the RKF selected our favorites and we randomly picked a winner from among that group. Here are excerpts from some of those letters.
Thank you to everyone who sent in a letter. Thank you for your outpouring of support for the RKF. And thank you for all you do to help Nourish Our World!
Our nephew and his wife are currently raising money to adopt two boys (brothers) from Haiti. Their journey to finding these boys has been a long, painful one. They were close to finalizing the adoption of a boy in Haiti who died just weeks before they were going to bring him home. The grief that followed was difficult, but they didn’t give up. That’s when they met that boy’s cousin, who resides in the same orphanage. They found out he has an older brother and decided to pursue adopting both… A visit to Haiti would mean so much to us to see where these boys are from and possibly even visit their orphanage and see them. ~Steve & Joyce Holthaus, Mundelein, IL
We know this life is not meant to be lived selfishly — and it’s so easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day challenges. Our family has been through some difficult circumstances the past three years and it has directed our focus to our own problems. Having the opportunity to go to Haiti would get our eyes back on those who are truly in need, solidifying our desire to live a more selfless life. This opportunity will change our lives, our direction, our purpose and our character… while bringing to the surface who we already are and are meant to be, as individuals in a world of people seeking HOPE. ~Matt and Dayna Jennings, Moses Lake, WA
My son, Kale, started using drugs when he was in the 8th grade and by his junior year of high school was addicted to heroin… Kale left for church camp the week I went to this last Reliv conference. I was on the tour at Busch Stadium when he called to tell me he was getting baptized when I got home. I know that being baptized is not a cure-all for his addiction, but it is a huge step in the right direction. My “why” for going to Haiti is to take Kale and give him an opportunity to see the difference that each of us can make and be the change in this world that we all want to see. ~Heidi Hutchins, Arlington, WA
My mom had a heart for the less privileged. She lived her life selflessly, always giving to others in need even when she didn’t have much to give. When she became a Reliv Distributor, her only goal was to help others… My mom is now cheering me on from Heaven. Because of her belief and mine in what Reliv is doing to change lives, it would be an honor to make this trip in memory of her giving spirit, her encouragement and her belief that one person can truly make a difference in the world. ~Judy Gribbin, Gibsonia, PA
Reliv products have totally changed our family. Where there used to be an overwhelming feeling of despair and frustration, we now have hope and an unquestionable feeling of gratitude. We would love to go to Haiti for the opportunity to give back. To be a part of the solution for others who are so desperately in need of what we have. ~Vohn & Tami Martineau, Gilbert, AZ
Dear Papa Noel,
We don’t want to go to the Kalogris Feeding Station in Haiti. That is why we have to go.
Sure, we’d rather forget about, repress, even deny poverty. It’s all the more reason for us to come face to face with it.
To acknowledge it firsthand.
To let it sink in so that it never again is forgotten.
To know that there is an answer to the problem.
To witness our collective contributions at work.
To fully experience what it means to be part of the solution.
To engage in the hope.
To see a frown turn into a smile.
To take that understanding back home with us so that we may shout about it to all the others who need to know.
No, we don’t want to go to Haiti.
We have to go.
Tony Pezzullo & Joni Schwartz, West Bloomfield, MI