A few that have touched our hearts...
1. Feeding Those With Food Scarcity.
Over the course of the past 7 years, METAD has taken part in a continued partnership project with Local Food Pantry's that would involve a yearly donation to their humanitarian work in feeding and giving support to those in need.
The actions of our local food pantry's have been carried out by:
- St. Mary’s Catholic Church
- Presbyterian Church
- The Church of Nazarene
- Saint Patrick's
- Scalabrini Outreach Program
- God's Pantry & more
Saint Mary's and other churches have devoted their heart and soul into this food pantry and it expresses their exact mission at almost every key point. The first: proclaiming and teaching the good news, and this goes beyond extending the mission of the church to others. It is within the scripture itself that there are mentions of serving those that are in need. Countless verses could be found without much effort at looking into the bible; verses mentioning being selfless, open handed, influential, caring, and much more.
By those of the church showing these qualities to their community, they are in a way proclaiming and teaching the very word they follow. Leading, by example. This food pantry spends their time serving members of their church but it does not end there. The hand of the church and it’s services to the community is open and welcoming to those that may feel or be seen as an outcast or stranger; this is their third call and blessing.
The exact counterpart to this pantry fall into place with their fourth mission of serving the needs of the people, body and spirit. This food pantry accepts the countless donations from others and puts them directly in the hands of those in need. Whether it is in the form of food or other needs, being given a yes to something that has otherwise been told no, lifts the body by giving strength and sustainability and lifts the mind by showing compassion and care. The fourth mission tightly ties into the fifth mission of St Mary’s church and central food pantry as it not only directs serving those to lift their body and minds, but to supply so that all may have what they need, not just some.
As a result of the contributions donated to this essential piece of the city, the selfless actions have thoroughly impacted those in the surrounding West Michigan area. Stemming from their local outreach organization, there has been nothing but positive effects in the community.
With an impenetrable faith displayed by this church, they are able to regularly serve 110 families each time the pantry is open; twice a month. Even though most have the privilege to not have to worry about where their next meal comes from, not all of our neighbors do. St. Mary’s Central Food Pantry strives to serve their community as it is a call to action that God has instilled in them.
As frequently mentioned by heads of the church and the saintly Mother Theresa:
“Give the love you have received to those around you. You must love with your time, your hands, and your hearts. You need to share all that you have.”
“It is incredible to be sponsoring an organization that makes a difference in my community”
— Dr. Lesa M Seales
2. Creating Brighter Smiles.
Oral health is incredibly important for individuals. Oral health is not only a reflection of a person's overall physical health but it is really important for someone's self esteem and confidence. METAD has provided grant assistance to those who cannot afford the high costs of dental procedures. Read more to understand how METAD is helping those in your community get back their health and confidence.
Mouth infections can even affect major organs. For example, the heart and heart valves can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, a condition that affects people with heart disease or anyone with damaged heart tissue. Further, digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in the mouth, and problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.
Because of these major health concerns, METAD has acted to help those who cannot afford proper dental procedures to ensure their health. Nathan, from Missouri, is an example of someone we have helped in the past. Nathan is a hard working young man who works two jobs to make ends meet and attend college. Unfortunately, he needed to have two teeth extracted because of the physical pain and illness these rotten teeth were causing. The pain was so bad at one point that he couldn't attend work and this is where METAD intervened.
Calling upon the network of dentists in Springfield Missouri, we were able to find a dentist who was willing to do the extraction at a low cost to METAD. After the extractions were completed, Nathan was able to get back to work and school without any pain!
Another story of Cassandra from South Carolina gave METAD another opportunity to help a single mother of two be able to afford oral surgery to remove all four of her wisdom teeth. At a cost of $1,700, the 27 year-old who works but has limited income, was unable to front the bill while still providing for her family. Knowing that Cassandra was experiencing severe jaw pain and needed to focus on her job and her family, METAD covered the costs for the surgery. God Blessed Cassandra who is no longer in any pain and can eat and speak without any problems!
Erika from Michigan, brings another joyous story regarding her dental procedures. Erika needed 4 bicuspids removed and braces installed in order to realign her jaw and give her a great smile. The procedure was well over $4,200 and her parents were not in good financial shape to be able to ever afford such a procedure. Erika believed she wouldn't be able to get braces until she was well into adulthood. After a grant request was sent into METAD, we worked quickly to ensure that Erika would not only have good oral health, but a smile that could bring her confidence. This is exactly what she got.
The thank you letters and continual check-ins from individuals like Nathan and Erik make this dental assistance program a top priority for many donors. If you're interested in giving someone the gift of proper oral health, and the confidence of a good smile, please donate below!
3. Bringing Health & Happiness
Health care in the United States is very high due to a plethora of reasons. The ultimate effect is that the economically vulnerable find themselves scraping for change to pay for costly medical procedures and often fall short. Seeing that there are millions of uninsured individuals who have an income, but lack the means to pay for medical problems, METAD has created a fund to help support those who need medical attention to continue providing for themselves and their family.
One example of this program comes from Alex in Michigan, who had the opportunity to get a job but had an eye problem that kept him from being able to drive. Alex had been given a car from his grandparents. Alex was eager to get to work, but in order to get to work he needed a drivers license from the state of Michigan. When he applied for his drivers licence, he could not pass the eye exam. He was clearly willing to work and when METAD learned of the challenge that he was facing, METAD arranged with the local eye care store to have his eyes examined and to purchase a pair of glasses. After getting his license, Alex has excelled at his career, started a family, and is set up for an early promotion.
Another example is from Deborah from Michigan. Deborah is a 50 year-old woman that has been living with a birth defect her entire life. Although it has been operated on three times, the congenital birth defect causes an abnormal bone to grow through the bottom of her foot, and it comes back extremely quick after being operated on. Her foot specialist recommended special shoes and pads that
would form fit to her foot which would relieve the extreme pain that regularly renders her immobile. Deborah works part-time and her husband is under-employed. Without health insurance, the bill was almost $400 and they couldn't afford it. It was either get the shoes and pads so she could work, or be forced to quit. METAD was able to pay the entirety of this bill and our most recent check up revealed that Deborah finally got a form fitting shoe that relieved her pain and brought her a new found happiness while she worked!
Another example is from Jonathan in South Carolina who had such bad stomach pain. that he lost his job and was now no longer able to afford the $630 deductible on his endoscopy. He is a single father with two small girls who depend on him. In addition to providing for his children, he attends college. With bills on the rise, Jonathan needed to have his medical condition taken care of, so METAD stepped in to pay his deductible.
Thanks to METAD and its supporters, people in need of medical attention like the stories above are given relief so they can go on living their life and helping those who depend on them. METAD offers a hand up, not a hand out, so people can help themselves.
If you'd like to help people in need of medical assistance, please donate below!
4. Dr. Marty Graber
The initial instinct of human beings will always be self-preservation. When we as individuals begin to interpret our grand scheme for a successful future and inevitably, retirement, a pattern unfolds. The conceptual ideal of our goals have been consumed by a focus on money, community, health, and a sense of self-worth. Wanting to have success in these areas is not a negative commonality, as we have been nurtured to their relation with success and happiness.
Fortunately, for the committed humanitarian Dr. Marty Graber, these instinctual based goals did not go unnoticed. When his instinct for self-preservation became relevant to him, something unique happened. Dr. Graber did not begin laying out and interpreting how to achieve these goals for himself but instead, for others. Dr. Marty Graber stretched his heart and mind over states, continents, and even seas, in hopes of accomplishing success and happiness in areas that lacked the opportunity to accomplish it themselves.
To a majority, the later years of life are seen as a time when life slows down, as the day to day stress lessens and they can begin to enjoy life to the fullest. It is common for travel and money to be a large apart of this equation. The retirement years have in fact been included in Dr. Graber’s life but not in the ways one would assume. Dr. Graber has dedicated his life to being a medical missionary and his goal became clear as day to see; help those in need, achieve success and restoration. He saw the opportunity to improve the lives of others after experiencing some of the most horrifying possible moments, one of which he recalls in the next paragraph.
While serving at the Tenwak Hospital in Kenya, on a Sunday morning, a man presented himself to Dr. Graber, soiled in blood caked dressing. He asked the man when he was injured and the man proclaimed that he had been stabbed by robbers two days prior. This man had walked over 100 miles for medical care. Dr. Graber was appalled by the need for such actions and so when he was asked by the leaders of the Masai to help them develop a hospital, clean water, and a school, his journey began.
One of the most influential projects that came from Dr. Graber’s attention and care was the Maasai Medical Outreach program at Ngoswani, Kenya. HELP MASAI is a registered Kenyan community-based organization. Multiple years have been spent working in Kenya to plan, fund, and create, a self-sustaining medical clinic so that proper care could be supplied to those whose untreated sickness is causing a deterioration of health and in some cases, fatality.
The main goals of this project closely relate to the goals that we as humans have set for ourselves. Money, community, health, and sense of self all tied in to this project. It was known that this couldn’t just happen overnight and it wasn’t going to be a lightly funded project. Thousands upon thousands of dollars have gone into this project and the projects connected to it in order to provide those near death, with the option of life. As the money began to accumulate through donations and grants, construction went underway and the walls of the medical center went up.
With this starting point alone, a renewal of hope began in the Kenyan people. Even when funds were behind schedule or grants were awaiting approval, Dr. Graber used his personal money to support the workers that were involved in this project and many others like it. The Ngoswani people were given an option to promote their own health and with it, are being reminded that life beyond survival is still possible; living a healthy and happy life is still an option.
A main goal that was set for the health of the Kenyan people was to decrease the spread of malaria, infant death rate, and the spread of HIV and TB. Dr. Graber lived in a tight knit town in South Haven, Michigan for a significant amount of time and knew what that sense of community meant to him and so he applied it to the Maasai Tribe. When people feel safety and comfort with each other and their quality of life, they themselves inevitably feel as though they have the option for a good future. Knowing that this center would positively effect 34,000 people, Dr. Graber exerted himself as a medical servant to those in need day in and day out, striving to establish this communities sense of humanity. This hospital was a big step for Ngoswani but it wasn’t the end.
Problems in Kenya still lurked. Although sickness was more assessable to treat, the sickness itself was still a problem. Evaluating ways to create rapid testing for Malaria and TB was worked on as well as programs to educate and instill hope in those aware or affected by HIV. These human beings are direct targets of illness because their poverty greatly affects their access to nutrition and proper drinking water.
The wealth of the Masai was greatly reflected in the number of animals they owned as the wealthier owned up to 500 cows. Until recently, Masai were pastoral, following the rain to greener pastures across the open ranges, and this allowed them their fortune. Unfortunately, other tribes have been encroaching on the once free grazing land of the Masai and now the government has demarcated the land with male Masai receiving title deeds that minimize the encroachment. Since many fences have been erected those Masai with many animals now find it difficult to feed them. Masai were then forced to find other ways to feed their families and pay school fees. Now, a once rich community was now forced into monetary poverty.
Poverty is not something a single man can fix, but with 36 years of passion towards missionary work, Dr. Marty Graber did his very best. The work that went into creating micro industries for the locals to run themselves (such as a bore hole with clean water) successfully allowed the consistent supply of proper food to sustain the health and progress of the people and their homes. This tribe did not need to be given food and water, they needed to be given the tools to access and self-supply proper nutrition, water, and income. Survival of a human being relies on 3 things; food, water, shelter; but the people of Ngoswani deserved much more than to just survive and Dr. Graber recognized that. If the people were only taught to survive, then they would never be able to progress on their own. By creating hospitals and industries for these Kenyan people to thrive meant that they needed to become the kind of people that could sustain progressive educated individuals. This brings up the sense of self-worth aspect that humans desire in achieving success. A final step of what most people idealize for their personal success in life, but where Dr. Graber’s focus is on the Maasai Tribe.
If the people were only taught to survive, then they would never be able to progress on their own. By creating hospitals and industries for these Kenyan people to thrive meant that they needed to become the kind of people that could sustain progressive educated individuals. This brings up the sense of self-worth aspect that humans desire in achieving success. A final step of what most people idealize for their personal success in life, but where Dr. Graber’s focus is on the Maasai Tribe.
When education is an option, then so is one’s sense of self as a participating member of society. There is not much that an individual can do if they lack the mental capacity to do so. Let us shine a light of Fernanda Teresa Castellón Sanchez; an individual being supported through a scholarship with their studies in school. They have a goal of working in the medical field to continue promoting health and wellness of others. This particular individual exerts themselves to the fullest extent with their education because of how blessed they feel to be getting the opportunity to learn and eventually help save lives.
This story is not unique to the people of Ngoswani. All over Kenya there are young minds craving opportunity to do something important and make a difference in their country. Individuals like Fernanda that have these desires and are able to reach for this sense of self and hold it confidently. As well as giving support to this individual student, Dr. Graber also put much time and energy into constructing 8 new classrooms for the Masai tribe. This has allowed students with dreams just like Fernanda to keep their minds sharp and their faith strong.
There is no doubt of the immense dedication that Dr. Graber showed towards the east African country of Kenya and specific organizations did not allow his work to go unnoticed. This past May 2017, Dr. Marty Graber was honored to receive the International Rotary’s Service Above Self Award, the highest honor of the organization, given to only 150 people every year. With the valuable financial support and time provided by METAD, Dr. Graber, and others, the assisted communities in Kenya such as the Maasai tribe in Ngoswani have begun to transition into a life being beyond self-preservation and survival. These individuals and their families are now blessed with more than that; opportunity to thrive.
Over time, the projects that Dr. Marty Graber initiated and created will allow these survivors to create lives of their own and make them successful. Money will lessen as a barrier as they begin manufacturing food and water and health services for the community. The community itself will feel stronger and entirely closer as they are able to confide in one another for support and betterment. The health of the people will exponentially begin to increase as better nutrition becomes available and illness can be properly treated. Lastly, the sense of self among the individual Kenyan will be rejuvenated as each and every one of them begin to find purpose within the abounding opportunity for growth in the country as a whole.