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A Mighty Mission

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Stop in for White Chicken Chili at this Octoberfest Booth

A unique non – profit organization in the Valley aims to help impoverished children through gifts of basic necessities and Christian leadership. Mighty Hearts International reaches out to about 800 children in Peru in the form of weekly bible lessons, medical care, and food. For the fourth year now, the organization will set up a booth on the Avenue to sell food. Though not their only fundraiser, Octoberfest undoubtedly qualifies as one of the most engaging.

Ryan Lins, Vice – President/Secretary for Mighty Hearts International tells of an intense, yet inspiring day. “We sell something that’s a pretty labor – intensive but people really like it,” Lins says. “It’s not just about raising funds; it’s about raising awareness of our organization. Last year I think we sold 900 bowls of white chicken chili, so that’s a lot of people coming to our booth and checking out who we are and what we do.

We started with jambalaya and chicken chili, but the jambalaya was just too labor – intensive. We were cooking the day before for 20 straight hours. The white chicken chili is something that we can mainly prepare on site. We started it about four or five years ago. We had a committee and came up with about 50 ideas, everything from milkshakes to Dutch oven pies, and we finally settled on something that was relatively unique.”

The money raised at Octoberfest is put toward a very special purpose. “Our goal is about $2,000. We usually bring in about $1,500. We reach out to over 2,000 kids in Peru, very poor kids, with the true Christmas message about Jesus. They also get a gift and a Christmas cake with that. We go to the big cities, the rural villages, and there’s even a children’s AIDS clinic in Lima. It’s got a pretty wide reach.”

“It goes on every year, and about every other year we’ll take a trip down to Peru to help support what they’re doing. We’re raising funds every year and then every other year we’ll go down. We’re part of a volunteer group of about 300 volunteers down in Lima.”

It takes about 30 volunteers to make the Mighty Hearts International booth a success. “There’s a lot of work that goes into it, and it can be exhausting. But at the end of the day we have a lot of fun. It’s great to see the volunteers really excited to get involved. We all love Octoberfest. It’s a great venue for Appleton, and it helps our organization get out in the community. At the end of the day we’re always glad that we participated.”

For more information about Mighty Hearts International, go to www.mightyhearts.org.

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