With the smells of curry and caprese, local coffee house Bodega Bean was transformed into an international dining experience by the Hope for the Hungry ministry.
The organization sponsored Taste of Hope Sept. 22 to raise money in aiding its outreach both locally and internationally. For $25, guests enjoyed a variety of dishes from around the world as well as live music.
Assistant Director of Campus activities Jeff Sutton served food and socialized with guests as a waiter for the evening. He thinks that the event went well and offered something new and different to attendees.
“The overall response to the food was great. People really seemed to love it, and it stretched some people outside their comfort zone of what they normally eat and let them experience something from around the world,” he said.
The dinner also provided a platform to learn more about what Hope for the Hungry is doing.
Director of Children’s Ministry Jen Sutton said that the main purpose of the event was to raise awareness.
“Although we have been in Belton for almost 30 years, some people still don’t know we exist or what we do. This event was a great opportunity for the community to get to know our ministry better,” she said. “For us, it is more than raising funds. It’s connecting our community to God’s work in these local and international areas of need.”
The children’s director said the response was greater than the staff at Hope for the Hungry could have dreamed.
In addition to raising $2,500 from the 100 tickets sold, they also educated people on ways to help and garnered attention from potential volunteers.
“We were able to give attendees tangible ways to get involved both locally and internationally. Whether it be volunteering their time or donating funds and supplies, everyone is now aware of opportunities to make a difference in our community and around the world,” she said.
Senior psychology and theology/philosophy major Brittany Beltran worked as a waitress for the event and is one of the student interns for Hope for the Hungry. She has gone on two mission trips to the organization’s orphanages in Haiti and has seen first-hand how much the money raised through events like Taste of Hope helps.
“To receive the benefits of the stuff that we do here, it changes their whole life,” she said. “They come from off the streets, or from being child slaves, or just completely abandoned with nothing. They come to our homes and our schools, and they get fed both physically and spiritually. It changes them completely.”
Beltran said it’s important to remember when supporting Hope for the Hungry, it is not about how much you give because everything helps.
“The biggest thing is to realize how far a small amount can go. It may sound intimidating, $200 to sponsor a child, but if you can’t do that, give $20. Every bit really makes a difference,” she said.
For all of the people who have supported Hope’s ministry through Taste of Hope and other events, Jen Sutton is grateful.
She said, “You guys are making a difference in lives all across the world, without even leaving UMHB.”