Who We Are
Our story began with a mission and medical relief trip to Haiti in 2010.
On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, claiming over 300,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. What we saw was pain, loss, severe poverty, and disease. Mothers fed their children “mud cookies” just to fill their empty plates. Our founders, Kim Gould and Karen Freeman returned home asking themselves, “what can just a couple of people do to make a difference to those who need it so badly?”
Once the ladies returned home, they began to pray for answers. The Lord opened doors and the hearts of the people of Verde Valley. Four local churches generously donated the funds needed for us to form Manzanita Outreach in 2011. Shortly thereafter we adopted the Kids Against Hunger (KAH) program in Verde Valley.
With the help of thousands of volunteers and donors, KAH Verde Valley has packaged over 1.5 million meals. These meals have been delivered to emergency food providers in Yavapai County and to starving children in Haiti.
We believe there are even greater things to come as we work to alleviate the suffering of others by providing life’s basic needs.
We envision a world where everyone has their basic life needs met.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.~ Mother Teresa
Locally, our immediate plans are focused on helping feed the hungry in the Verde Valley. There are approximately 60,000 residents in Verde Valley. With a poverty level of over 17%, there are over 11,000 of our neighbors living in poverty. That is a minimum of 1 in 6 that are food-insecure. Many of these are children and seniors.
We plan to expand our efforts on the Kids Against Hunger program so that we can provide even more food to area emergency food providers. The Latin rice and beans meals have been well received locally. Our goal for 2018 is to provide 400,000 meals in Arizona.
While there are many awesome emergency food providers in Verde Valley, there are significant gaps in the total emergency food system. We are focusing our local efforts to fill these gaps.
GAPS AND SOLUTIONS
Gap: Food deserts – Low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food.
Our Solution: Pop-up Pantries in low-income, low access communities
Gap: Food-Insecure children – Children who live in homes that are at or below the federal poverty level.
Our Solution: Hope Food Packs 4 Kids that are delivered to their school. The food is meant to provide food for the weekends when the kids aren’t eating at school.
Gap: Homebound and the working poor – Those who aren’t able to physically get food from emergency food providers. Working poor often work during the times food is distributed.
Our Solution: Mobile Outreach program that delivers food-boxes to the home.
Abroad, our immediate efforts are focused on supplying aid to Haiti. As the poorest country in the northern hemisphere, over 100,000 Haitian children under the age of five suffer from malnutrition. We will continue to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Since 2011, we have packaged over 800,000 meals for Haitian children. We work closely with the Air National Guard’s Denton Shipping Program to transport our food.
Our nutritional food feeds hundreds of orphaned children. It most cases, our food is all they have to survive. In addition to food, our work has helped provide water, shelter, and clothing.
Our goal for 2018 is to provide over 300,000 meals to Haitian children. That will be a 50% increase in food provided over 2017. Additional programs are under development.