The saying that charity begins at home is true, but charity should not just stop at home, and for Chef Max Hardy, the need to impact the hunger epidemic here and aboard is a continuing passion that has taken him around the world. This time partnering along with the ‘I Am Hope Foundation’ for a return mission to the villages in Kenya.
I AM Hope Foundation’s mission in one word is HOPE! “The foundation’s mission is restoring hope into young people lives all over the country and all over the world. It started four years ago with founder Teshanne Phillips, who spearheaded traveling abroad to help communities and schools through faith-based mission trips.” Said, Chef Max Hardy.
According to Hardy, the initial mission was to see what impact was needed and from there every follow-up mission has built on the last, starting with building a kitchen which is an outdoor cookhouse to painting the walls and paving the dirt floor of the village schools. “They don’t have electricity, all they have to use is a wood burning stove. The school is two hours outside Kenya, in the village, there are two-hundred families. It’s very moving to see that they have so little, but they are so grateful for the resources they do have.” Hardy, said.
Although a cookhouse and updated schoolhouse are needed, the necessities that we take for granted are also in demand. “There is a need for sanitary napkins, toothpaste, combs, toothbrushes, tampons, shoes and we supply those items. We also took over three hundred plastic plates three years ago, along with forks and cups, which they are still using today.” Hardy, said.
There is also a great need for food, being that the daily diet of most of the villagers consists of boiled matza meal to create a portage. “The reception from the families of the village seeing us returning was great. We had only planned on feeding the children, but when the village heard we were arriving the families showed up. We only planned to cook for one-hundred-fifty people, and we had to make the food stretch for three-hundred people.” Hardy continued. “We took seeds over two years ago, and they now have a harvest of corn, cabbage, sugar cane to add to their meals.”
Hardy’s no stranger to the fulfillment that comes from giving to others with his foundation; One Chef Can 86 Hunger and be able to partner with the I AM Hope Foundation to further the commitment to leaving an impact on someone’s life is a reward that keeps on giving.
“It’s fulfilling to see the enrollment rate go from one-hundred-fifty to two-hundred-eighty students. It’s great to see the impact. It’s one thing to cook here for the enjoyment of food, but it’s another thing to cook for people who need the food for substances.” Hardy, said.
What to get involved? Visit www.IAMHopeFoundation.org for information on donations and sponsorship opportunities.