During a presentation on Friday in Abbotsford, Edgar Gonzales shared his story of living in poverty in the Philippines as a child and how the organization World Vision made a difference.
Gonzales was the guest speaker during a luncheon held for about 100 employees at Fraserway RV in Abbotsford.
The company’s 13 dealerships and manufacturing division sponsor 84 children in Mwatate – a rural town in Kenya – through World Vision.
Fraserway RV matches employee donations to sponsor the kids and provide them with food, school uniforms, school fees and vocational training.
The company’s support also helps to teach life skills to 1,500 young people, teach 112 mothers about preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, and train 95 home visitors to provide care and support for those living with HIV/AIDS and provide them with bicycles.
Gonzales, who now works with World Vision as a development adviser, spoke about how he was a sponsored child in the Philippines.
He was one of 10 kids, and “had nothing,” Gonzales said. He said his “toys” included items such as stones, tiny marbles and empty milk cans.
But things changed after he was sponsored through World Vision at the age of six after his father passed away.
He recalled a particular Christmas when his family had no gifts to unwrap, but they received a call to come to a local church. There, gifts were provided for all the kids.
“You can imagine that excitement the time I got my first G.I. Joe doll.”
Gonzales moved to Canada about 20 years ago with his wife and three children, who are now grown.
He said contributing to a program such as World Vision is beneficial for everyone involved.
“When we help or continue our support to anyone … it’s a win-win situation. You’re not only helping the children, but it’s transforming the giver,” he said.
For more information, visit worldvision.ca.