Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clothing is Optional, Formula is Life, Special Request from Heritage House

Will you help us? There is a huge need for formula in orphanages we support in Ethiopa. We get to fill 14 suitcases full of formula (while the travelers leave lots of their clothes at home) which will make the trip across the ocean and then 15 hours by bus to Gimbi. We don't get this opportunity to send formula this deep into Ethiopia that often - will you help? Details are below.

The Details

Our Promise

We don't take out ANY expenses from donations. We are volunteering our time and resources and will make sure all your money will go directly to purchasing and/or shipping formula.

The Need

Orphans in the hard to reach orphanages are in need of a large supply of formula due to the upcoming rainy season (which makes it very hard to travel). Most babies would normaly be fed by their mother's milk in Ethiopia, but as orphans they need expensive hard to find formula. The need is great - but there is a way to get it to them.


To donate, please send Wal-Mart brand (Parent's Choice) milk-based formula to 919 S. Main Street, Snowflake AZ 85937. You may also send a gift card for Wal-Mart and we will buy the formula for you. Please send to the same address with "Formula Program" in the attention line.

Clothing is Optional...

Suitcase "What do they give the babies if they don’t have formula?", I asked. "Powdered milk" was the answer. At that moment, I knew we needed to do something. We needed to find a way way to get formula to the babies who needed it. That is when we knew that the "Clothing is Optional, Formula is Life" project needed to grow and build.
This project has been sending much needed formula to orphanages in Ethiopia for over a year. Many people have helped, and now we need your help (again). We have 7 people going to Ethiopia and traveling the 15 hour van trip to Gimbi. This orphanage, so far out of the way from the capital Addis Ababa, does not get regular shipments of formula. But, with 7 people making the trip, we now have 14 bags to fill full of formula - for a total of 700 lbs!

Will you help us (and the babies!) get the formula? There is a true need which you can read about below - and that need is easily answered. We need formula! You can purchase 6 packs online here and have it delivered to us (see address on the left), you can purchase one or two cans on your next trip to Wal-Mart and just ship them to us yourself, our you can purchase gift-cards here that we will use to buy formula (we will be happy to send a receipt of the purchase to you - just ask!).

The need is great and so is the opportunity. We will be asking at church, but we also knew we can rely on you, our pro-life customers, to help get formula to babies who need it. Please, help if you can. Your support and prayers are appreciated.

Our History

When Mike and Dinah went on their first trip to Ethiopia, part of their trip was devoted to traveling to the various orphanages to minister to the children and the widows. Traveling in Ethiopia involves driving through the countryside in crowded, hot, dilapidated vehicles over washboard roads for hours and hours. Bathroom breaks consist of finding the nearest suitable bush for modesty, if you know what I mean.
When they arrived at the first orphanage, Dinah held a tiny baby boy who had been born two-months premature and was having a difficult time catching up. Dinah could count his ribs and his arms were so skinny that you could fit a ring around them. He was in desperate need of a high-calorie preemie formula.
Before leaving for Ethiopia, Mike and Dinah asked what they could bring that would be helpful. The director told them that formula was needed.
International air carriers only allow a specific amount of weight to be taken on the airplane, so Mike and Dinah opted to use the bulk of their allowed weight to bring the requested formula. We held a formula drive at our church, pitting Sunday School classes against one another in a contest of which group could collect the most formula. The youth class won, and Mike and Dinah were able to bring over 90 cans of formula in three suitcases.
Standing in the baby room, Dinah saw several cans of formula lined up against a window sill. She pointed them out to Mike thinking they seemed to have a good supply. Mike shook them. All the cans were empty except one, which was only half-full. Mike and Dinah were so excited to open their suitcases and some of it was even the preemie formula that the tiny baby needed. Three months later, in pictures he was nearly unrecognizable with chubby, chubby cheeks.
Formula is difficult to obtain in the outlying rural areas of Ethiopia. If the babies do not have formula to eat, they are given powdered milk, which does not contain all the nutrients they need to grow. Mike and Dinah realized the desperate need for a steady supply of formula for these babies, but the cost of shipping it was prohibitive. But, as Joy talked about work teams and couples coming from the states, they realized others could do what Mike and Dinah did... bring it in their suitcases. Powdered gold to these babies!
Thus the program, “Clothing is Optional, Formula is Life” was born. Rather than filling a suitcase with extra clothing, people going over are asked instead to fill at least one of their suitcases with a 50 pound limit of life-giving formula - more if possible. Our “dot-connecting” God once again provided all that was needed. Our Crisis Pregnancy Center in Show Low, AZ had been given a donation of a pallet of formula that was more than we could possibly use in our local centers. And since Mike and Dinah own a mail-order business, we already had the space, resources and personnel to begin sending the formula to whomever was going over in 50 pound increments.
But is it still needed?
Oh boy is it! Here is an excerpt from the sweetest mommy and daddy who came back from Ethiopia:
When we arrived at the orphanage in Gimbi we saw no formula. There may have been a can or two left that we didn’t notice, but it is also possible that they simply had run out. With 13 babies and young children who are still dependent on formula, every crib is full (some holding 2 babies each) and they run through the donated formula very quickly. We unpacked 200 pounds of donated formula from our van and helped the nannies stack it in the nursery. They were overjoyed with the amount we brought. They danced and clapped and thanked us far beyond our comfort level. They were so thankful because they know what life for these babies was like just a few short years ago before donated formula was introduced to their region. They know that every baby they have helped nurture and grow over the past two years survived solely because of the formula. They are all too aware that for every baby surrendered to the government and placed in their orphanage, there are literally hundreds who don’t survive.

Even if you aren’t on your way to Ethiopia, you can still participate in this wonderful life-giving ministry by purchasing formula or donating gift-cards the purchase of formula to send along with those who are going (see left for information).
As always, we thank you for your support of life!
Clothing is Optional is a project in partnership with Heritage House '76, Living Hope Women's Center and Just Love Them Ministries.

Heritage House '76 | 919 S. Main Street | Snowflake | AZ | 85937