“I’m going to come back, and when I come back, I will bring more people and more food,” SERV International founder Steve Kasha promised a woman in a remote Kenyan village. Years before, he had heard a call to feed the hungry. This call became clear when later a colleague would facilitate a mission trip to the drought-plagued Turkana area in Kenya. Steve saw many starving people there. Five weeks after this trip, he went back to the same village with more food. The same woman he spoke to about coming back ran up to greet him, weeping. Steve asked the interpreter, “Is she happy I brought food?” The interpreter answered, “No. She is happy you came back. No one ever comes back.”
Since that trip he has gone back 32 times.
Since SERV was started 16 years ago, millions of meals (produced in the U.S. and Kenya) have been distributed to Kenya, as well as South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia and beyond. The nutritious food costs only eight cents per meal, which includes shipping and logistics costs. In 2016, 2.6 million meals were distributed around the world. SERV also helps families locally, and gave groceries to more than 500 Cherokee County families.
But SERV International does more than provide meals. The food/water/shelter/life programs are used as a platform to spread the love of Christ around the globe. Wells are dug, clean water is delivered to drought-stricken desert regions, and filtration buckets are deployed in Kenya, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Shelter is given to 59 orphans at the House of Hope in Lodwar, Kenya, with lots of amenities like a new library, sewing room and greenhouses.
Thousands of lives are changed through the many mission trip teams sent every year. One team member said, “The most fulfilling life purpose journey I’ve ever been on. To stand in the middle of nowhere and pump fresh water for people who’ve never had it changed my life. If you let the little things get to you, or you’re stressed out at work, join SERV International on a mission trip and come back feeling truly grateful.”
Locally, the SERV Store operates to fund the operational costs and global projects of the ministry. Founded in 2011, SERV Store is a for-profit discount retail store that contributes a large percentage of profits to SERV International. The closeout liquidation store carries product lines from popular retail and online stores and offer deals on furniture, small appliances, home décor, clothing, mattresses and more. The two locations are 3145 Marietta Highway in Canton, and 1274 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Cartersville. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The opportunities to serve are numerous. You can go on a mission trip (five trips planned so far in 2017), sponsor a precious orphan, or make a financial contribution. SERV International is a 501(c)3 corporation that is growing and needs corporate, church and individual funding to assist with growth of local and global projects. To donate, visit servone.org. Ministry organizers also are seeking funding for the Food First campaign to help the villagers of Tiya, Kenya (to learn more visit servfoodfirst.com). For more information, call 770-516-1108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Susan Schulz, contributing writer