Steve Hull was on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, helping to build a small church, when a young girl with a newborn baby asked him if he would trade his sandwich for the infant. Hull said with that, God had his attention.
Hull returned to Westminster and immediately began working to create an organization that would address hunger in the Dominican Republic. Now the executive director of Least of These Ministries, a nonprofit formed by Hull and his wife, he is able to supply food to approximately 9,000 people in nine villages in the Dominican.
According to Hull, the infant death rate in the Dominican Republic is about 36 percent and most people in the village Hull visited were only eating three or four meals per week.
Hull said that after a year of fundraising, he and his wife returned to the Dominican and hired helpers that would distribute food for Least of These Ministries. They would provide one cup of rice and half cup of beans to people once a week.
"The idea was to supply a little more food but not enough to make them dependent on us," Hull said. "We have taught the people that they can stretch our food to two days instead of all in one day."
Hull said the men are healthier and can get up and go to work every day and wives have a new pride in that they can fix a meal for their husbands when they return from the fields. But Hull said the organization's greatest accomplishment is one they hadn't thought of in starting the Ministry.
"Our greatest accomplishment is one we had not considered when we started," Hull said. "In the nine villages where we give food, the infant death rate has been lowered to about 12 percent."
Thirteen years after creating Least of These Ministries, the organization continues to grow. In June it is planning to start offering assistance to another village, of about 1,300 people, and is in the process of building a storage facility to house food it collects.
Hull said that having the warehouse will save the organization about $900 per month in rental fees. That, he said, translates into another tractor trailer load of food.
Least of These has no paid employees except for Dominican workers delivering the rice and beans.
"Not having a paid staff allows us to send about .92 cents of every dollar donated to the Dominican Republic for the food program," Hull said.
Singer-songwriter Michael Card is coming to Westminster on Saturday, May 5 for a concert at Grace Lutheran Church, 21 Carroll Street. All proceeds will directly benefit the Least of These Ministries. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 410-848-2128 or email at email@example.com. You can also buy tickets online at http://leastofthesemin.org/events-calendar.
To learn more about Least of These Ministries visit www.leastofthesemin.org.