A December to remember

December has been an incredible month for our organization, and we are so thankful for all of the volunteers, donors and individuals who have contributed in any way to help us further our mission of touching the lives of orphans and children in need of feeling loved across the globe.

Recently, I returned home from my 12th visit to the Oasis de Amor orphanage in Honduras. The children at Oasis are so special and full of love, words cannot describe just how precious these children are.

I am also personally thankful for the friendship that I have established with Pastor Boris and his family, who operate the orphanage and do an amazing job caring for the children, especially given the limited resources they have.

I was able to deliver stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons donated to our organization to Oasis.

But more than taking the items to share with the kids, I will forever cherish the many memories I made on this trip. One of my fondest memories was hanging out with young Jose, who is starting to learn some English and is very intelligent.

I will never forget saying to him “mi amigo, Jose,” and he responding with “my friend, Kevin.”

As I was ready to leave for the final time, Jose kept looking at me, and then ran up and gave me a big hug.

I will also cherish the memory of little Elmer, who absolutely loves to have his photo taken. On my final morning there, he kept saying “hello, my name is Kevin.”

The children at Oasis are special. They have so much love to give, yet have been through some very tough times in their young lives that many of us would find unimaginable.

Father’s Hope will be evaluating even more ways we can advocate for and support these precious children.

Also this month, I was thrilled to be able to purchase supplemental gift items for over 60 children served through a Watsontown-area Angel Tree program. The purchases were possible thanks to a $500 grant we received earlier this year from the Warrior Run High School’s Youth in Philanthropy program and the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.

The Angel Tree program is spearheaded by our friend Sharon and volunteers from Revival Tabernacle Church. Items included in the gift bags included educational books, coloring books and crayons, Hot Wheels cars for boys, Play Dough for girls and stuffed animals. Father’s Hope was also able to present a $110 check to the Angel Tree program, to be used to purchase additional needed gift items served by children through the program.

Numerous individuals entities from across Central Pennsylvania supported our mission this month and we are so thankful to everyone who contributed in any way.

A volunteer, Pete, picked up a carload of stuffed animals collected by the Hershey Bears during the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss. It was an honor to be one of the approximately 30 organizations to receive donations from the hockey team.

We are also very thankful for Lewisburg’s Campus Theatre of Lewisburg, which recently collected donations of stuffed animals for Father’s Hope during a recently holiday movie showing. Thanks also goes out to members of the Outdoor Survivors 4-H Club for presenting stuffed animals to our organization.

As always, Father’s Hope is looking to be connected with orphanages or missionaries from around the world who would appreciate receiving a shipment of stuffed animals from us to distribute to children they work with. We can also provide stuffed animals to groups or individuals traveling on mission trips.

I welcome the opportunity to share about Father’s Hope, and my international travels, with community organizations, church groups, school or youth organizations, or any other entity. I can be contacted by email at fathers.hope@gmail.com or through the Father’s Hope Facebook page.

Tax deductible contributions to support the efforts can be sent to: Father’s Hope, 9 Greenbriar Drive, Milton, PA 17847. We are an all-volunteer organization so all donations will directly benefit the children we work with.

Thank you again for all of your support in 2016. I look forward to growing our mission even more in 2017. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Kevin Mertz, director

Father’s Hope

Donations received from the Hershey Bears as a result of the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Donations received from the Hershey Bears as a result of the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Volunteers with the Outdoor Survivors 4H Club presented Father’s Hope with a donation of stuffed animals.

Volunteers with the Outdoor Survivors 4H Club presented Father’s Hope with a donation of stuffed animals.

Children from the Oasis de Amor orphanage in Hondruas, looking through a bag of goodies delivered by Father’s Hope Director Kevin Mertz on his recent visit to the orphanage.

Children from the Oasis de Amor orphanage in Hondruas, looking through a bag of goodies delivered by Father’s Hope Director Kevin Mertz on his recent visit to the orphanage.

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Erik, a child from Oasis de Amor, was happy with the Papa Smurf stuffed animal he received.

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The children at Oasis de Amor love receiving stuffed animals!

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Jose and Elmer, of Oasis de Amor, love posing for photos.

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The children from Oasis de Amor enjoy climbing a tree at the orphanage.

From left, Father’s Hope director Kevin presented gift bags filled with items for children to Angel Tree volunteers Sharon and Geneive. Father’s Hope received a $500 grant to purchase the items from the Warrior Run High School’s Youth in Philanthropy program, offered through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.

From left, Father’s Hope director Kevin presented gift bags filled with items for children to Angel Tree volunteers Sharon and Geneive. Father’s Hope received a $500 grant to purchase the items from the Warrior Run High School’s Youth in Philanthropy program, offered through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation.