USA Evalyn Johannes

Evalyn JohannesLast summer, 7-year-old Evalyn Johannes went away to summer camp for the first time all by herself. Little did she know that would be just the first of the summer’s milestones.

Evalyn, along with the other campers at Carol Joy Holling Camp in Nebraska, soon found out that they were on a mission. In a first-of-its-kind partnership between Lutheran World Relief and Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM), campers would assemble 35,000 Personal Care Kits bound for earthquake-torn Haiti — enough to fill an entire ocean freight container!

When Evalyn heard about the project, she was excited. “It sounded like it would be fun,” she said.

Personal Care Kits contain soap, towels, and other items that help families stay healthy when sanitation is not available. Assembling that many Kits is no small feat. But campers weren’t daunted by the task. Instead, they were inspired, often forgoing other activities, like taking a dip in the camp pool, in favor of assembling Kits.

“My group made over 700 health kits,” Evalyn reports proudly. “I helped put in the nail clippers. It was awesome."

Evalyn’s mom, Gina, was also glad Evalyn got to take part in the project. “Doing things like this helps her to develop a servant heart and I think that’s so important,” she says.

By the end of the summer, not only did campers meet their goal of assembling all the kits. Area congregations even assembled an additional 5,000 Kits! Those Kits then traveled to LWR’s warehouse facilities in New Windsor, Md. before heading to Haiti, where they arrived in early 2011.

To LWR, engaging children in service to their global neighbor is more than just a cool project. It’s also the opportunity to invest in the promise of children in the U.S. to participate, as good neighbors, in an increasingly global society.

“Each person who receives a Kit that these children assembled will know that someone around the world cares about them,” says Melanie Gibbons, who coordinates LWR’s Quilt and Kit ministry.

To Evalyn, this project was a really fun way to spend her summer days and an opportunity to put her budding faith into action. “We prayed for the people getting the Kits. The kids prayed too. I was sorry for what happened in Haiti but I was glad I got to help.”

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