Our founder, Erica Rust, and Executive Director, Lori Pyle, recently spent an extended period of time in Sierra Leone. During that time, they had the opportunity to participate in community outreach through a rice feeding program. While our kids are the heart of The Raining Season, it has always been about more than just serving the kids. We serve not only kids but also our staff, the Freetown community, and beyond. Over the years feeding programs and vacation bible school are just two ways we have served the community. Erica shared, “We have a lot of needs within our center, but there are even more needs outside our center. Anything we can do to assist the community and the women and children is really vital right now.”
The opportunity to serve The Raining Season community through a rice feeding program allowed TRS to meet an ongoing need in Sierra Leone. Inflation is incredibly high in Sierra Leone right now. The price of commodities, including rice, is very expensive. A bag of rice large enough to feed a small family for about a month is $36. Erica and Lori set out to raise enough money to share rice with one community, and through the generous support of others, were able to raise enough money to feed multiple communities!
Erica and Lori’s goal was to raise enough money to support a war widows camp in Grafton. Grafton is a community that teams have visited many times over the years. These women were displaced by the civil war and were never able to return home, so they raised their children there. Despite the years that have passed, their struggles have continued, and they live in very difficult conditions. With an outpouring of support, they were able to bring some light into their world on a cloudy June day.
When they arrived at the camp, our co-founder, Osseh Kamara, shared with the women how people in America had learned about their struggles and wanted to help. He told them that a small amount of money had been raised for them, and they were going to gather some food for them. Lori and Erica then went to a nearby supplier and purchased nearly all the rice they had on hand. They gave out fifty bags of rice, which meant each woman received enough rice to feed her family for two months. This was the largest rice donation we have ever made to this camp!
Because of the generous donations, there was enough that they were also able to share rice with a nearby orphanage that is home to more than ten children. Now they have food for the next few months as well.
Several days later, as the donations continued to pour in, Erica and Lori traveled to Waterloo. This location was special because Uncle Osseh has family in Waterloo. They once again gathered the widows together and told them they had friends across the world that wanted to give them a gift. They went out into the community, bought all the rice, and this time tracked down a taxi driver to help them deliver all of the rice. On this day, they were able to give out forty-six bags of rice, mostly to widows.
The final rice distribution was during a visit to Kono. In Kono, they handed out rice to a local orphanage, a school for the blind, and a local village. This time, they were able to share forty bags of rice.
The kids at the Covering and the Roots Home are our number one priority. However, at the heart of TRS is helping those in need - regardless of where or what the need is. The rice feeding program was an opportunity to love and serve those in need. Thank you to the many people who donated to this. Your generosity allowed us to serve others in need.
The Raining Season