What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
Learning that orphans were getting sick and dying because of the toxic fumes from the open cooking fires.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
Gary VanDyke, Food for Orphans' founder and CEO, began helping orphans in 1999. As the father of five, Gary has always had a heart for the needs of children. But in 1999, he visited several children's projects in Lima, Peru and as he tells it, "To watch the pain of these children's suffering was impossible for me to bear. My life was changed forever."
Gary worked with an international charity that works with needy children and orphans around the world. While there, Gary visited the international projects, evaluated their needs, helped to train the staff, and communicated the children's needs to people back home. As he visited more and more orphans, Gary was touched by their helplessness and innocence. He was constantly wounded by the poor health and physical condition of the orphans he met. When asked what their biggest challenge was, orphan caregivers repeatedly said "The lack of food."
Gary knew that he could not continue to stand immobile while orphans starved. Knowing that something had to be done, he began to create an organization that would address the orphans most pressing and urgent need … food.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company