“You don’t have to have much to make a difference.”
A group of TTH staff and volunteers piled up into the gray condor, our trusty ministry vehicle. It was filled with all the typical supplies for the After School Programs for the week: vegetables in bulk, bags of maize meal and beans, beef bones, dishwashing soap, and some supplies for the program. But there was also something else very special: two huge sheets of cake… Birthday Cake.
Something incredible about having open doors at TTH is that we meet people in unexpected ways who can use their passion to make a difference. Recently a woman from the Nelspruit (South Africa) area approached us and asked if she could help out at the After School Programs in a special way.
“Children are very close to my heart, and all I want for any child is to be happy; their genuine smiles and love just melts my heart. Everyone loves to be celebrated. What better way to show them they are loved and valued beyond the basics than through a birthday cake. I didn’t just want to buy food and take it there or donate money, I wanted to do more, something with a personal touch that would leave the kids with memories and happiness and make them feel that they are not different than other children because of their situations.”
“I like that my birthday is at the beginning of winter. I hope that she [the lady who bakes the cakes] continues and that she can have a big company that continues to help others.” – Simanga
We have learned over time that holistic care for children is deeper than providing for basic needs.
It is so valuable to be able to show them they belong and are loved enough to feel special. We are so blessed that we have people on our team who make this aspect of care possible.
“As a baker I always see how children lighten up at the sight of a birthday cake….. even adults actually (haha!). It actually dawned on me that there is a child out there who has never had a cake for their birthday, just because finances only allows for basic needs… Baking these cakes for my kids, as I call them, keeps me humbled and gives me so much joy because I know they will be happy and will feel important, valued, and celebrated. You don’t have to have much to make a difference.”
Opportunities like this are not just coincidence; circumstances are sculpted together so that we have opportunities to connect, network, and partner with each other. This is not despite, but because of our differences, unique perspectives, and skill sets.
“I first learned about the organisation when I booked their airbnb for an evening away from the house just to relax and reflect… I believe it was God directing me and my husband to this place. Being in the hospitality sector, I immediately went to read their room directory and understand the property; there was information about the organization and how it started. While we were there, we walked around the property, and I immediately knew this is the place I would like to make a difference, as it’s always been a wish for me to help the less privileged. After we left, TTH was always in my spirit, and I went onto their website to see exactly what they do and where I could fit in. I saw they had an after school program for kids and I knew that was my space.”
“I like that my mom gets me a cake and I get to share with my siblings. Thank you so much for the cake, because lots of kids love cake.” – Gcina
The most impactful thing we can do is offer up pieces of our stories.
When we use what we have to help others along the way, that’s where we see transformation happening. Not only does it affect the people who receive what you give, but it inspires your peers to also get involved:
“I started baking at age 7, as I would always stand around when my mother would be baking until she taught me how. It has always been my hobby since. I then took a basic decorating course to up my skills as I thought, ‘If my passion can pay bills, why not?’ For me baking is a therapy more than anything else… I’m already sharing my journey with those in my circle to show them they can make a difference with the little they have, as long as it is done with love. I must say, a few have had that lightbulb moment and said this is an inspiration to them. Most people think to contribute you need to have a lot, and you can only do so with money or just materials. I personally believe it takes a village to raise a child, and charity begins at home. You don’t need only money to make a difference in one’s life; [your] skill and talent can be of importance to someone. I really urge people to start at home, locally, and uplift those in need. I believe if you are helping with something that you love it brings so much joy and never feels like a task.”
We want to say a huge thank you to the people and businesses who partner with Ten Thousand Homes on a local level! We believe you are the backbone to your community’s health, and we are so grateful for you.
Story & Photography by Phoebe Giffey-Brohaugh