Talking points for the interview
*Tell everyone about yourself and how you created Begin to Serve and Why.
As a Navy veteran, I had the opportunity to travel extensively and witnessed poverty on many levels in various countries and even here in the USA. One day a man knocked on my car window in pouring rain to ask for .25c! I wondered how could anyone benefit from that amount. I went to find others in the same position and was amazed! When I learned that veterans were committing suicide at the rate of 22 each day, I knew I had to do something to bring some joy into as many lives as I can.
*What is your mission?
Is to help individuals in desperate need who care to leave their cardboard castles to return to living a normal and healthy lifestyle whenever possible, to maintain that hope and enjoy some bright moments while they wait.
*How did you establish this organization?
I started by asking friends I know who have a passion for outreach activities and through Facebook. I began to share our videos and photos on social media and requested volunteers.
*What is their primary purpose?
The volunteers who come to serve enjoy giving of their time, their talents, and donations to help others who are in need.
*What programs did you put in place?
In Kenya-Africa, and Orissa State in India, we are building deep water wells. The tribal people are desperate for water and crops. We have been donating chickens and teaching them generational growth, we’re taking a variety of food producing seeds to India in the second quarter to start our farming projects there as well. We’ve donated solar lanterns for night time visibility and hope to bring solar powered radios later in this year. All these programs are successful due to good leadership by individuals who are caring and want to see their countrymen and women prosper. These projects with an increase in donations will be ongoing for many years to come.
In USA we have a group of committed teamsters who meet each month to serve the poor and homeless in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We’re presently planning on diversifying or service activities to include: Veterans visits and Homeless outreach in Pompano Beach and California. Pakistan, we care for poor village and school children.
*What population do you serve and how?
Geographically speaking, we’ve had activities in Philippines where we raised funds to build a home for a family of 8, provided wheelchair, food and clothing enough for ¼ year, Haiti (Medical missions, clothes distribution for the poor), Jamaica West Indies (fostering 3 orphans), through strategic partnerships. We’re currently evaluating farming projects for poor Filipinos living in the mountainous regions of Baguio and other provinces, 125 Poor school children in Pakistan.
*How can people volunteer
By visiting our website and opting to volunteer for local or global projects. The one coming up shortly is the outreach trip to India to assess our progress thus far and to scale for future expansion. This trip will be offering on hands experience with planting crops, digging wells and helping to transport hundreds of chickens to mountain villages.
*What were your goals for 2018 and how many did u fulfill? 75%
What we have done in 2018
- Prepared and served over 34,200 meals to the poor and homeless (Accomplished)
- Distributed 21,600 LBS of clothes (Accomplished)
- Served 49, 680 bottles of water (Accomplished)
- Feed and clothe over 400 individuals monthly (Accomplished)
- Issued more than 1,500 pieces of reading materials (Accomplished)
- Conduct several Bible studies throughout each calendar year (Accomplished)
- Assisted many to overcome drugs and obtain employment (Accomplished)
- Continue feeding of the Poor and Homeless. (Accomplished & Ongoing)
- Provide and support new leaders across America and the globe who are interested in serving the poor in their communities. (Accomplished)
- Conduct workshops for Churches and organizations desirous of having and engaging an active outreach program.
- Reaching many schools on all levels, law enforcement agencies and private outreach clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc), interested in enrolling individuals in community service programs, to fulfill curriculum or service requirements. (Accomplished)
- Will be in relentless pursuit of obtaining housing and various counseling services for the homeless. (Accomplished)
- Ensuring that all homeless are aware of services currently available to them, and that they understand how to obtain them. (Accomplished)
- Continue locating and replacing/refurbishing Primary schools needing repair in poor areas locally and abroad.
- Continue support of existing projects and evaluating new requests we constantly receive. (Successful)
- Securing weather resistant housing, delivery and installation for Haiti and Bahamas.
- Renovate/Replace portable primary schools in the Caribbean, starting with Jamaica.
- Building water wells in tribal areas of India. (Accomplished)
- Building more wells in Africa. (Accomplished)
- Acquiring more land for growing crops in Kenya.
- Building wells, farms and chicken growth in India. (Accomplished)
*What are your goals for 2019?
To continue serving. Engaging new leaders in different parts of USA to take up the mantle and help others. Visit India and Pakistan. Scale up promotions to heighten awareness. Work on funding sources in order to do more for those in need. Build more wells, planting more crops and supplying food and fruit bearing seeds and plants in India and Philippines. Identify and serve pockets of poor and homeless individuals locally and nationally.
*How do you reach the public?
Social media, We’re currently giving our website a facelift- presently under construction but accessible through a generic link: https://authorconnect.wixsite.com/serve-the-poor, By email: Begintoserve@yahoo.com and Phone: 954-298-9479
*What have you done for people in other countries and who are your primary people that work with you?
My wife and her family are doing an outstanding job for the poor children of their communities, poor people who are tent residents on the side of local roads by planning multiple events annually for about 300 neighborhood children and issuing bags of flour, wheat, rice and bottles of oil for food to roadside residents.
In India, we work with a local village Pastor Tejoban who is awesome in caring for some of the poor tribal Indians there. In Kenya, Africa, Leakey Ababu handles that operation (fighting jiggers, well construction supervision and farming operations.), Jamaica-there’s a team of mostly educators to foster the boys at the moment. Philippines– Strong partnership with their local Police to handle construction and supply drives when needed.
*What about the clothing drives, how do people connect with you to donate clothes and how does it work with the homeless?
*How do they learn where to go?
We know it can be a major challenge for them to come to us due to transportation, health or other issues, so we go to serve them.
*How many of these goals have you accomplished and what do you plan to do in 2019?
We’ve accomplished about 75% of our goals.
We plan to continue feeding of the Poor and Homeless
Provide and support new leaders across America and the globe who are interested in serving the poor in their communities.
Conduct workshops for Churches and organizations desirous of having and engaging an active outreach program.
Reaching many schools on all levels, law enforcement agencies and private outreach clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc), interested in enrolling individuals in community service programs, to fulfill curriculum or service requirements.
Will be in relentless pursuit of obtaining housing and various
counseling services for the homeless
Ensuring that all homeless are aware of services currently available to them, and that they understand how to obtain them.
Continue locating and replacing/refurbishing Primary schools needing repair in poor areas locally and abroad.
Continue support of existing projects and evaluating new requests we constantly receive.
* How do you people in these countries receive you that is what kind of reception do you get? How does the government respond to your trying to help?
They greet me with lots of love. They are very grateful and always asking me to come visit. I don’t usually connect with Governments.
*How do you get the funds to support each of the ways you help people with housing, primary schools, staffing, water wells in India and Africa and other countries? What other ways do you help? What about medical care?
I ask my teams, businesses, I sell my books, self fund, conduct seminars. I even ask my parents….LOL. The poor locally get medical services from the Government hospital in town, veterans have benefits, but the poor in far away countries have nothing!
* You provide so many services for so many people in so many countries: How do you manage to do you this and do you visit all of them and who monitors things when you leave?
I manage and monitor these activities through the WHATSAPP APP via VIDEO, text messages and Facebook. M able to maintain on target transparency and accountability through strong committed leaders in each place who is required to send videos and photos of project status there.
* Who do you contact to let them know you are coming and how many people accompany you?
The local leaders I work with. There are over 2,500 people waiting in tribal India at the moment waiting my visit! Looking forward to seeing them and reviewing the work we have been doing there.
* How do you bring this to America and why do we all need to understand the importance of your work and your goals?
It is my sincere hope to get the opportunity to meet major influencers one day (Oprah, Ellen, Steve Harvey, Chris Mathews and others) who have the platform to spread the fact that great things can be accomplished in the lives of those less fortunate and share the joys that serving brings to both giver and receiver. TRUE STORY: I bought a $6 battery-operated radio for a homeless Purple Heart Navy Seal veteran named Steve who had stage 4 stomach cancer. He found his favorite radio station, placed the head phone on, turned up the volume and danced with a fever, knowing the following days ahead might be his last! HEART BREAKING! I never saw him after that day! I think him asking for the radio motivated his last dance and part of his final farewell!!
Tell us about how you get the message across using social media? With videos and photos provided by mission leaders.
*What other ways do you get to the public and how do officials react to what you are doing?
By direct invitation. Some are open some not. The goal is to focus on those who show care.
Besides donating funds, foods and clothing what else should people donate and how do you get these items and where should they be sent?
They can send care packages of any kind to us at 7491 W. Oakland Park Blvd. Lauderhill, FL 33311. If unsure of what to send, we love those phone calls! For International outreach, it’s best to make a tax-free donation as good are very expensive to ship and recipients at times never receive their packages. Another challenge we have with sending packages by mail, are the high tax rate which at times make those packages more costly to receive that the contents of our gifts.
* Where can everyone learn more about you, your work and the books that you have written that are so inspirational?
Thank for saying Fran. My books (REVIVE THE CHAMPION IN ME AND EVERLASTING BENEFITS OF OBEDIENCE are available on Amazon. They are distributed at no cost to the poor and are mostly self-funded. Revive the champion in me is truly appreciated by hurting veterans, so we plan on distributing lots of copies to them.
I need the following information if you can send it to me
YOUTUBE: Begin To Serve Foundation (for lots of our videos)
We also have a Facebook page: Begin To Serve Foundation
Describe the purpose of begin to serve
ANSWER: The purpose of Begin To Serve Foundation is to not only help those less fortunate, but to provide a gateway for those who may have wanted to help others but weren’t sure of the process or how to start. (Homeless, extremely poor individuals (Locally and Internationally), Bringing joy to veterans (Free distribution of my books to the VA Hospital Miami, and those living on the streets). There are Pastors in India who are using my books to share messages of hope and joy to the people they serve.
Source of funding:
Mostly from individuals who have a heart for the poor and a few corporate sponsors who benefit from tax free giving
Major programs or services
Provide warm meals, donated clothes, books, Festive events: birthday celebrations, Assistance with locating Drug and alcohol referral programs, accountability partnership programs, planting water wells in India and Africa, Seeding programs and chicken farms. (2) Families who were evicted in need of housing or need temporary lodging for a night or few. (3) Provide for pregnant mothers living on the streets.
Eligibility of recipients for services
Someone living on the streets and in remote parts of a foreign land having very little resources to live on. Where there is an area of homeless individuals, that becomes an opportunity to serve within that community. We build relationships and make great efforts to help those wanting to opt out. Mothers and with children experiencing great hardship. (Mom and her many kids sleeping in their vehicles).
I am doing a show on non-profit organizations that help people: WOW! Amazing! Praying for the best.
Yours if first that I want to showcase
Thank you so much Fran. I’m truly grateful for your kind consideration. God bless you!