By: Emily Lyons
This afternoon I hop in my car, head straight up I-35 and drive about 15 minutes away from Baylor’s campus. Following my GoogleMaps app, I begin to lose familiarity of the area and exit to one of Waco’s many dirt roads. As a senior at Baylor University, I had assumed I’d seen most of Waco’s attractions, but it wasn’t until I arrive at my final destination that I discover a whole new world.
I pull up to this breathtaking farm, housing one of Waco’s most highly reputable nonprofit organizations, World Hunger Relief, Inc (WHRI). From the moment my feet crackle on the gravel pathway, I feel an immediate peace about this place. It’s inwardly and outwardly evident that this land is loved and cherished by its members.
There are multiple points WHRI asserts in their mission statement, but the overarching goal is to alleviate world hunger as a Christian organization. They also place extreme value in the training of their employees, volunteers and interns in a holistic ministry. They fully equip the individuals by immersing them in the farming culture and equipping them with farming techniques. This unique aspect of the organization deeply strengthens the community of those living on the farm, because they are enduring and enjoying the same way of life as one another – a simple and humble one. WHRI encourages individuals to pursue sustainability and advocate for the low-income and poor populations by engaging in various lifestyle changes.
One key point differentiating WHRI from other nonprofit organizations is the way they choose to understand their audience. Instead of just raising funds and selling produce at discounted rates, the people of WHRI truly adapt their lifestyles to a simple one. The individuals working aren’t eating solely food staples, enduring the Texas heat without an air conditioner and partaking in farming techniques alone. They do this as a community of Christ followers, which creates the sturdy foundation of this miraculous place.
WHRI’s mission statement addresses the intense issue of world hunger globally. There are many in need worldwide, but what the WHRI doesn’t fail to acknowledge is the presence of this serious issue in our own backyard. Waco is almost entirely a food desert. With the closing of HEB grocery stores and local mom and pop shops, this city is struggling to support those of low-income who have limited to no access to healthy foods. WHRI recognizes this internal issue within our community and decides to launch their own Veggie Van. This mobile grocery store makes fresh and local vegetables available to all people, but specifically targets the low-income population.
As a fairly recent launch, the Veggie Van is needing more promotional tactics to spread the word of this creative idea. This is where my classmates and I hope to support WHRI’s mission. We are in the process of creating what we desire to be a powerful public relations campaign to educate the public on this new project and the potential for it to minimize the food deserts in Waco. With the various skills and interests each member of our group offers, this campaign could really help engage the community with the mission behind WHRI’s Veggie Van.
Most of the campaign is a collective effort, because we all believe the power of four minds is stronger than one. With that being said, we divided the background report and assigned individual members with particular tasks. Mine involves the research of the WHRI’s current PR efforts and publicity materials. WHRI generously gave each group member a copy of their updated newsletter and other materials used for promotion. I will continue to seek further information on their social media outlets in hopes of improving and expanding their audience. Overall, the individuals in my group are productive, hard-working and intelligent, mixed with a diverse skill set. It’s our hope that we can effectively use our various skills to support and improve WHRI. We look forward to more deeply working with the WHRI and their new Veggie Van.
For more information on the Veggie Van, click here.
The following video was made by World Hunger Relief, Inc.