In the third-world countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, preventable diseases and poverty run rampant. Christine Cloyd has seen this for herself during her missionary work in southern Mexico.
“So many people in poverty don’t want a handout. They don’t want someone coming over and just giving them charity. They want to have a way to make a living themselves,” Cloyd said. “I started collecting crafts in Mexico so they could earn a living through those, and my missionary friends also would bring back crafts from people.”
With these items, Cloyd founded the HOPE Ministry store in Goldthwaite in 2012. Today HOPE — which stands for Helping Others Provide Essentials and Helping Overcome Poverty Everywhere — has locations in Austin, San Antonio and Blanco as well. Now Cloyd wants to spread the word about her ministry to help fund more fair trade purchases with craft makers and mission projects like well drilling.
“It’s really a double blessing,” Cloyd said. “We’re providing artisans a good wage, and we’re making a profit for mission work.”
Cloyd said the HOPE Ministry stores have a “good variety” of items — purses, jewelry, bird houses, wind chimes, ornaments, art and toys. “There’s something for everybody,” she said.
Cloyd’s husband Carlos is the former pastor at Goldthwaite’s Methodist church, and the couple now lives in Blanco. Cloyd said that every HOPE Ministry worker is a volunteer, not an employee, and that the store’s only expense is its rent payments. That way more funds can go directly to the artisans and mission projects that HOPE supports.
“What’s cool about HOPE is that we don’t ask for donations — although we love to get them, we won’t turn down a donation. But we’re just asking people to shop with us. They can make a difference just by doing that,” she said. “They get something really nice in return for their donation to missions.”
HOPE stores contain crafts from over 25 nations including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Mexico, Haiti, Nepal, Bolivia, Ghana and the Philippines. “Just by buying one item, that can give a family more money than a whole week of hard labor,” Cloyd said. “It’s a hand up instead of a handout.”
The Goldthwaite HOPE Ministry is located at 1105 Fisher St. More information is available at www.alotofhope.org.