Since February 2022, bags upon bags of food and supplies filled the Grace International School Secondary hallway. Staff, parents, and students came together to donate food and other necessities for struggling families in the Harn Kaew area. Dubbed the Food Basket Program, it was put together by the combined efforts of multiple offices at GIS, but it is Athletics Director Bob Hirschelman who has been the main driving force behind this initiative with the help of Chief Operations Officer Ken Morris.
Passionate about reaching out to the local community, Bob has been going out on weekdays and even weekends to deliver supplies to the local community. With the help of a member of the Municipal Council who is in charge of multiple villages in the Harn Kaew area, GIS has been able to reach out to over 100 families to date. As food and supplies are brought in, they are stored in a pantry and will be ready to be distributed the moment a need comes in. Once the pantry runs out, the Spiritual Life Office will announce another food drive in order to fill it back up again.
“When we hand out the supplies, we talk to and build good relationships with the people in our surrounding community—something that I really care about. It’s been really good to meet and connect with the local Thais. The Municipal Council member who acts as our liaison has introduced me to different school heads and important people. I hope that these connections will open up ministry opportunities for our students in the future once the Covid-19 situation calms down. There’s so much more that we can do for the local Thais.” Meanwhile, Bob will continue to form relationships in the surrounding area and respond to their needs. “What I love about this is that it’s not just me or other school staff members. It’s the entire GIS community coming together to reach out to our neighbors who are struggling. I think that’s really amazing.”
Cultivating community and following Jesus are core values of Grace International School. It is because of GIS staff like Bob living out these values that an initiative to reach out to the local community was started. And it is because of our GIS community coming together in times of need that we are able to show Christ’s love to our neighbors.