Emily Bark

Three Purpose-Filled Adventures we saw in 2019

It’s been a great year for adventurers seeking to restore the planet while challenging themselves. From paddle boards to bikes to running trails, we saw so many of you in the Plant With Purpose family embark on creative fundraising adventures. All funds raised went towards supporting our mission of restoration.

Will Allen and Emily Bark paddle boarded from Santa Catalina Island!

Will Allen and Emily Bark crossed 22 miles of ocean Santa Catalina to Palos Verdes to support Plant With Purpose back in September. Their adventure raised money to plant trees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of Plant With Purpose’s newer countries, where communities are working on restoring a watershed on the side of a mountain and trees are a critical part of that.

“We decided to do this project at the beginning of summer when we went for a paddle one day. We thought, wouldn’t it be cool to do a fundraiser channel crossing? This is our first fundraiser project together, but I have gone on a fundraiser paddle with the Bark family before. They are one of the best families I have met, servant hearts and very genuine people,” explained Will.

Emily added, “The environment has been big on both of our hearts, and since we spend so much time in the ocean and in God’s creation, we want to make sure we are taking care of it. As stewards of God’s creation, we are supposed to care for each other and the Earth. Seeing how Plant With Purpose works towards spiritual renewal as well as working to combat both poverty and deforestation is very inspiring and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be able to help out as much as we can.”

The two are experienced paddle boarders. Emily has crossed the Catalina channel four other times, and Will has twice. However, the two continue to have ambitions for further paddles in the future.

This venture is far from Will’s first effort to support Plant With Purpose’s mission. Back when he was only 10 years old, he participated in person-to-person fundraising efforts to support our work in Haiti. An especially memorable moment came when he handed those funds over to Plant With Purpose Haiti Director, Guy Paraison.

Corbyn Small, Colorado Representative
Corbyn Small

Corbyn Small and a group of fundraisers inaugurated our Ethiopian program on bikes.

In January of 2019, Plant With Purpose began its program work in Ethiopia. The year consisted of recruiting an all-local team and building the infrastructure leading to empowerment groups and farmer field schools. The year was a successful first.

The opportunity to begin working in a new country is an extremely special one for Plant With Purpose. The needs we are trying to address are all over the globe. There will always be a desire to be in more places than we have the ability to commit to. We also seek to make sure the countries where we currently work are constantly improving and further saturating. Expanding to new areas requires steady, sustainable growth.

Plant With Purpose Colorado Representative, Corbyn Small decided to show support for the new launch by taking a group of fundraisers on a bike ride through the new territory. In addition to being able to see the landscapes of the regions where Plant With Purpose will seek to increase tree cover and environmental health, he also gained insight into the country’s history and culture.

“Our trip was really three parts with fellowship woven throughout as I got to travel with nine awesome Christian guys,” he shares. “The trip started some of the most world class cycling that you would never expect engaging the travelers around the vision of Plant With Purpose’s budding Ethiopian program.” 

Corbyn adds, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible church history, monasteries, and tourism that we were able to experience too. Ethiopia is a most unique and remarkable place.”

 Jenny Gruber
Jenny Gruber

Runner Jenny Gruber found a way to support Plant With Purpose through the Houston Marathon

Jenny Gruber is an engineer, a Plant With Purpose supporter and a marathon runner. While she had already ran 29 marathons that month, she wanted to do something a little bit more personal.

“As an adoptive parent,” she notes, “I’m passionate about family preservation, which is so often impacted by poverty. I’m also passionate about stewardship of God’s creation.”

In January, Jenny completed the Houston Marathon. It was her 30th marathon and she celebrated it in a big way. She decided to say a prayer for every mile of the marathon, and ran with a bracelet featuring the names of people she had in mind to pray for. Among them were members of the Plant With Purpose team, and those in Haiti and Ethiopia.

She also ran to raise funds for those programs. Jenny sought 100 people to donate a dollar for each mile of the marathon, or $26.20. Both her run and her fundraising efforts were a big success.

At Plant With Purpose, we greatly appreciate all creative efforts to fundraise for our programs that bring environmental restoration to communities around the world. Want to start your own creative fundraiser? Visit our fundraising set-up page here!

Shriya Asher

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