Eagle Scout aids Guatemalan orphans

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 21, 2009) – Adopted as a baby from Guatemala City, Boy Scout George Bagay used his Eagle Scout project to give back to his native land. With the help of Troop 834 and the Christian relief organization Food For The Poor, George collected and shipped supplies to an isolated boys orphanage and school in Guatemala.

“Jesus taught a valuable lesson about sharing when He performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand,” George said. “Our blessings in this country can be shared with a group of orphan boys at San Francisco Xavier Boys Home in Mixco, Guatemala.”

In October 2008, George began his Eagle Scout project. The experience helped George find his passion, build his character, and raise awareness about poverty within his community. George was an eighth-grade student at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Pittsburgh when he, with the guidance of troop leadership, organized four collection and packing sessions, and the transportation of 43 boxes to Food For The Poor’s headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla.

In addition to the supplies, troop members illustrated note cards with favorite hobbies. These illustrations and troop photos were collected into an album.

“It was a way for there to be a connection between our troop and the boys at the home,” George said. “I would like the boys there to remember that there are boys just like them who are growing up and have cared and done this for them.”

The album was delivered to the home along with the 840 pounds of supplies.

“I think this album means something to us also because our troop personally did this,” George said. “We actually gave them something from ourselves, and not just items that others provided.”

On Oct. 15, George, a Scout since the first-grade, passed the Eagle Scout Board of Review. Only 2 percent of boys who participate in Boy Scouts earn the distinguished Eagle Scout award. This fall, George started his freshman year at Bishop Canevin Catholic High School. The school’s motto is, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.”

“I wanted to personally deliver the hygiene items and socks to the boys at St. Francisco Xavier Boys Home this summer, but could not,” George said. “I would very much like to travel to Guatemala someday to see the country and visit that home.”

The Brotherhood of the Divina Providencia runs the orphanage, where approximately 70 children receive primary and secondary educations. The vision of the orphanage is to promote the dignity and self-esteem of all youngsters. The orphanage receives some local funding towards general expenses, but not enough to meet all the needs of the children.

To assist the orphanage, a Food For The Poor donor raised money to establish an agricultural component. Horticulturists have determined the orphanage’s location is
well-suited to growing oyster mushrooms. The mushroom farm will provide the children nourishment, farming skills, and generate much-needed income for the care of the children and facility maintenance.

Food For The Poor has a monthly giving club designed to sponsor orphans. Throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, children who have been orphaned or abandoned by their families need love and support. The cost of sponsorship is only $34 a month - about $1.13 a day.

All gifts are tax-deductible. To sponsor an orphan, visit Food For The Poor’s secure Web site at www.foodforthepoor.org/help/angelshope, or call 1-800-427-9104.

When you sponsor a child, Food For The Poor will send you a brief biography of the child, photos, a map and a fact sheet about the child’s home country. Your gift will provide these children the nurturing care they need to grow up happy and healthy.

Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. We provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Jennifer Oates
Public Relations Coordinator
954-427-2222, ext. 6054