Earlier this month, the SAP Retail Forum kicked off in Dallas, TX with a very special community activity as part of the Retail Orphan Initiative, in conjunction with the Food for Orphans organization. Over 100 SAP employees, partners and customers gathered to assemble nutritious meals for orphans all over the world. Together, we packaged over 30,000 meals!
Gary VanDyke (or “Coco” Grandfather Gary to the orphans in which he personally visits in Africa) is the amazing humanitarian, founder and CEO behind the Food for Orphans organization. He shared a touching story about his trip to Zimbabwe to visit a group of orphans, two years ago. The children’s hair had turned orange and their bellies were bloated malnutrition; half of them suffered from fevers. After Gary began feeding the children through the Food for Orphans program with a specially developed formula of rice, soy proteins, vegetables and 21 vitamins and minerals, the children’s health improved significantly. When Gary visited them 2 years later, the orphans’ hair color had returned to normal, they were energetic and most of all, they were happy!
Besides feeding orphans in third world countries all over the world, the Food for Orphans program also sets up care and educational programs for the children by mentoring orphan caregivers. Gary performs personal visits to orphan sites all over the world to inspect educational projects and books and to ensure that donations are being used properly.
But how can we as individuals, corporations or retailers help Gary to save the lives of starving orphans? If you have just a $0.25 to spend, you can provide a meal for an orphan. For just $92, you can feed an orphan for an entire year. As companies or retailers, we can develop creative ways to raise money for orphans, such as through a contribution of 25 cents per certain units of product sold or through match donation programs. Another fun and interactive way for companies to participate is to organize a food packaging activity for orphans at a company event, just like we did at the SAP Retail Forum. It’s a fun, hands-on, team building activity, and the returns are life changing. By incorporating the Food for Orphans program into the Forum, we provided these orphans with more than just a meal; we provided them with the power to ward off diseases and gave them a chance to thrive!