Compassion International, Honduras, October 2019

Since 2018, KeHE employees have been sponsoring children in Honduras via Compassion International. To date, over 800+ children are sponsored at the four Child Development Centers supported by our employees and KeHE Cares. In October 2019 we lead our first team to Honduras to meet the children our employee’s sponsor. Take a short trip with us and watch the video.

Jesus Hurtado, Warehouse Operations

Before I knew about the opportunity to sponsor a child partnered with KeHE my family and I visited a compassion project at a local church. We visited 3 different countries with the stories of 3 different children and their background story. As heartbreaking as it was to hear and see the conditions they had to endure, it was also very inspiring to know that through efforts of the compassion experience those 3 children were able to have a better life. After compassion gave them the hope, the support, the means to have food, and more these 3 children grew up to be successful people who were set to help more people in the communities. My family and I wanted to be part of this mission as soon as possible but were still unable to meet the financial requirements, that is until I knew KeHE Cares partnered with Compassion. Now we are able to sponsor a child and fulfill their essential needs, my wife and I can teach our children how to care for others and about the circumstances around the world and we are happy to spread the word to others.

I never expected that I would be picked to travel to Honduras, and never did I expect that I would meet the little girl the whole family awed over and immediately wanted to sponsor. Not only that but knowing we sponsored her also came with concerns and doubts. Did they actually take care of her, is she fed? Is she getting the essentials she needs? The day came and when I got to Dariana’s home I was happy and relieved. Happy to see and meet this spirited little girl with hope in her and relieved that she was safe, fed, clothed and she now has the care that she didn’t have before. Visiting different parts of Honduras, the conditions varied. You see pictures and or videos, even movies that give us these momentarily glimpses into life of poverty but going into the heart of it is a different level. The realness hits you hard. My family and I write to Darian and her family, we saw a few pics of her, and her area but when you are in the midst of it all your world becomes a new world. What you think you know and what you think your heart knows become a reality on a different dimension. Happy isn’t a strong enough word to describe how anyone could feel when seeing a child you are sponsoring in a better place, just because you write a letter here and there, and the little bit of money you donate makes a huge impact.  It gives you a different view and feeling about the work we do here at kheer. I have always enjoyed my job and know that I am part of a team, but now my joy is renewed, I have pride in my work and I know that my presence here is a lot bigger than myself and KeHE in Romeoville. My work brings hope to others on another scale.

Marissa Martinez, Supply Chain

My trip to Honduras was quite the experience. What really stood out to me and impacted me the most was getting to meet two Compassion graduates who were close to my age and were working in Honduras as young professionals. One was studying to become an engineer and talked about how he leads his Church’s youth group to give back to his community. He thanked us on behalf of all the Compassion children who are benefiting from our monthly sponsorship because he shared that being sponsored changed the trajectory of his life. The second graduate was a lawyer named Melissa who got emotional talking about how much Compassion has helped her along her way to fulfilling her dreams and becoming successful. They both shared how important and impactful it was to be sponsored. What stood out the most to me was Melissa, who said growing up she viewed her sponsor as a guardian angel who was watching over her. So, it was great to see them giving back to their community, witnessing their testimonies, and hearing firsthand what being sponsored through Compassion meant to them.

When we went to visit the center, the children in the program lined up at the front of the church to greet us with signs and sang songs to welcome us. It was so special because as they walked out, we were able to hug each of them and that was so sweet. During that visit, the staff workers + volunteers were emotional when they saw us and got to meet us face to face. Dijana and I discussed this with Eric later that night and he asked the compelling question – why do we think they were crying? So, her and I thought about this and it hit me…they were emotional because this entire time they had heard of ‘sponsors’ and the name KeHE but I’m sure it was too abstract of an idea for them. We showed up and made it real. Us showing up validated that people who didn’t even know them- were rooting for them, cared about them, and appreciated them. We traveled all that way there to meet them and see the work they were doing. I felt so privileged to be able to see firsthand the difference they were making for the children of Honduras.

Dijana Siljanoska, Finance

In October of 2019, I was blessed with an opportunity to join a KeHE Cares vision trip to visit some of the Compassion projects in Honduras that KeHE sponsors, and gain a firsthand understanding of how the programs work towards accomplishing their mission of lifting children out of poverty through faith.
Thinking back, I was hesitant to sign up for the trip. I was afraid of the dangers of physical safety, disease, and visiting a culture I knew very little about. However, I felt it would be hypocritical of me to continue to write my sponsored child to be strong and brave while remaining in the safety of my personal bubble, so I decided to go. This was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, not only because I will forever remember the excitement the moment I met my sponsored child in person for the first time brought to my heart, but also because I got to meet the welcoming, passionate and dedicated staff and the local church centers who provide nourishment, love, care and hope to the children daily, experience the local culture and environment, and create a lifelong bond with my KeHE sisters and brothers in the group.
What was so different about this trip was that it was very relational and very personal. You get to know the people in your group on a much deeper level, and sponsorship takes on a whole new meaning when you get to meet your child and realize they are as real as you and me.

Alexis Dyson, Human Resources

It started with “why not” …. One day back in November/December 2018 I walked into our breakroom and saw a sign about KeHE’s partnership with Compassion International to sponsor children living in Honduras. The opportunity to sponsor a child was available to all employees and your contribution would be matched by KeHE. In the moment I didn’t think much about it, but I saw a need; thought to myself, it’s nine dollars a pay period “why not”. That’s like the spare change in the bottom of my purse but I didn’t realize what great impact it would have in a child’s life who lives over a thousand miles away from me and who I would probably never met face to face. But I made a simple decision to help and chose a 10-year-old girl to sponsor, her name is Alejandra Martinez. She enjoys art and Spanish is her favorite class at school. She like to play with dolls, listen to Bible stories and spending time with her friends. Alejandra’s desire is to be a doctor and help many sick children some day in the future. By choosing to sponsor Alejandra I’m helping her dream become a reality. We write letters back and forth so we can learn more about one another. I remember in one letter she wrote me it was about her mother been very sick and Alejandra asked me to pray for her mom. In my letters to her I encourage Alejandra and keep her mom in prayer. In October 2019 I had the chance to meet Alejandra, that’s also when I met her mother Maria and learned that she was battling breast cancer. In that moment, I realized this is the reason I chose her as my child to sponsor not only do our moms have the same name Maria or Marie but they both have a breast cancer story and the thought of possibly losing your mother to this disease is very scary at any age for a child. But the difference between her mom and my mom was that my mother was able to focus only on her treatment and getting better. In Alejandra’s mother case, she’s not only focusing on her treatment and getting better, but due to cancer she can no longer work and provide the basic needs for her daughter. By choosing to sponsor Alejandra, her mother has a few less things she must worry about. For example, will her child get to eat today or hoping Alejandra doesn’t get sick because she wouldn’t be able to afford to take her the doctor. Now she can focus on getting better because of a why not moment in the breakroom.

The first time Alejandra and I met in person was on Fun Day. So, the night before meeting her I was very nervous, it felt like I was getting ready for a first date. The next morning, I woke up, did my morning routine and got ready for the day. As we are waiting for the children, the nervous and the excitement begin building up inside of me. Then I hear her name called and the doors open. We run to each other with opened arms and give the biggest, tightest hugs to each other. It was a very genuine and authentic moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was one of the best moments ever…even though we couldn’t communicate with words due to our language barrier in that moment we both felt and knew we were liked and loved by each other forever

Elizabeth Hemphill-Burns, Account Manager

Travelling to Honduras with fellow KeHE employees on behalf of Compassion International was one of the most enriching and stimulating experiences of my life! I went on the vision trip to experience a different culture, meet new people, practice my Spanish, and gain a better perspective about how Compassion International operates. I came back forever changed with a heart full of gratitude for all that we have, an aversion to privilege and excess and a call to action to make giving back a greater part of my life. We enjoyed time with our sponsor kids, families, and the communities at large. It was a breathtaking experience to meet our sponsor children in person and the trip was well coordinated by Compassion International. The energy and sheer joy we observed in the kids as they welcomed us into their hearts and homes was indescribable. The bond that was created between the KeHE employees was amplified by the kindness of the Hondurans and it enriched our experience of giving back to make lives better.