People who give say they feel happier and more fulfilled when they are able to share their blessings with others. Those sentiments were expressed by Kansas City businessman Joe Roetheli and his wife, Judy, who traveled to the remote Essequibo Coast in Guyana, to inaugurate the fourth self-sustaining village they have commissioned in partnership with Food For The Poor.
“We have been blessed in our lives to be able to bless you,” said Judy Roetheli to village residents during the dedication of Georgeville in Capoey. “It is a great blessing for us to be able to be part of the building of this village.”
This was Judy’s first trip to Guyana, and the village was named for her father, George O’Brien Hill. The Roetheli’s wanted to create a living legacy to honor his memory and philanthropic spirit.
“For four years, Joe and Judy Roetheli’s generosity and love of the poor has been evident through their actions and words of encouragement,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “Together they are doing more to help the destitute than simply replacing deteriorating shacks – they are restoring the poor’s dignity, enabling them to dream again. Their joy of giving selflessly to those living in abject poverty has been shared with their children and grandchildren.”
The three previous villages also honor Roetheli family members. The third village, Princeville, was named in honor of the Roetheli’s oldest son, Steffan. His name means ‘prince.’ The second village, New Haven, was named in honor of Roetheli’s granddaughter, Haevyn. The first village, Lil’ Red, is for the Roetheli family name, which means Little Red.
“Judy and I hope to inspire, challenge and energize the residents of these villages,” said Joe Roetheli, the creator of “Greenies®,” a dog treat designed to clean teeth and freshen breath. “It is amazing what people can accomplish, when they want to accomplish it.”
Food For The Poor’s contribution to housing in Amerindian and other villages has been significant, with Georgeville being the sixth of its kind in Guyana. Representing the Amerindian community both nationally and at the U.N., Guyana’s Minister of Amerindian Affairs and the local Toshao chief attended the Georgeville ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ceremony included music from a steel drum band, and cultural performances and cuisine.
The self-sustaining village, complete with 50 two-bedroom homes and access to safe, clean drinking water and sanitation, was funded through The Roetheli Lil’Red Foundation. The community poultry project provides a future source of nutrition and income. To allow residents the opportunity to earn a supplemental income, income-generating projects are being implemented in all four villages.
“By adding the chicken coops and nursery school, to help with the educational component, we are changing not just this generation but generations to come for the village,” said Susan James, Guyana Project Manager For Food For The Poor.
Judy, a retired school teacher, shared a special connection with the children. The students welcomed the guests with outstretched arms and thoughtful recitals, created to demonstrate their skills. The village’s community center soon will be equipped with 12 computer sets to provide residents with hands-on skills training.
The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire people to use their skills and talents for the betterment of themselves and others. The Foundation participates in a variety of inspirational projects including pet visitation programs in nursing homes with a focus in rural Missouri, encouraging entrepreneurial talents and skills and inspirational documentaries and books. To read about other inspiring Lil’ Red Foundation projects, and to make a donation that would help continue their work, visit www.lilredfoundation.org.
Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides 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, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054