Nachos + Chickens = Opportunity

Where does all that money you spend at the concession stand on candy, soda, and nachos end up? At De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, the profits go towards hens, roosters, and a whole lot of hope.

When Spanish language teacher Carmen Bowman, the moderator of De Smet’s Spanish Club, heard about Amigos For Christ’s Gift of Opportunity campaign, she knew it was the perfect fit for the club’s Christmas fundraising program. Each December, Señora Bowman and the students in her Spanish Club gather together their earnings from volunteering at the school concession stand and put that towards making someone else’s Christmas.

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Last year, part of that money went to buy a flock of chickens for a family in rural Nicaragua. “We try to make them aware of their surrounding. That not everybody lives in their bubble, that there’s so many people out there in need,” explains Señora Bowman.

“Before, we didn’t even have eggs to eat,” reflects Ernesto Montoya, who lives in the remote Nicaraguan community of Matilde with his wife, Xiomara, and two daughters Wendy and Ana Francela. However, just 7 months after receiving a loan of ten chickens and one rooster, the flock has grown to over 65 chickens. “Now, we can sell a chicken to buy rice or beans. We even used the profits form other chickens to buy shoes, backpacks, and notebooks for the girl’s school this year.”

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And not only is their flock growing, but so are their hopes and dreams for the future. “Sometimes people out here don’t make plans for their future because they don’t have the means to complete them,” explains Ernesto. “When you don’t have the money to do something it feels impossible. Now that we have these chickens we feel like these things are possible.”

And what’s their biggest goal for the future? Saving as much income from their chickens as possible to prepare for the expense of sending their daughters to high school and college, where their elder daughter Wendy hopes to study to become to a teacher, just like her new hero Señora Bowman.

“Not only do the students form lasting friendships volunteering together,” continues Señora Bowman, “but sharing their earnings also gives them a way to say thank you for everything they have back home in St. Louis.”

There are 7,158 people living in the 17 communities where we work. Many of them have animals that significantly improve their quality of life; however, most of them do not. Our goal is to ensure that every single one of these families has access to the life-changing opportunity to stabilize their income and achieve their dreams.

Señora Bowman and her students might not call themselves heroes, but we think the Montoya family would disagree. This Christmas, #FindYourHero by giving the life-changing Gift of Opportunity to a family in need at www.amigosforchrist.org/hero.

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