In 2003, Floyd and Kathy made their first trip to Tanzania to the remote Nkungi village in Singida Region, for a two-month construction program. While working in the region, they were shocked with the amount of desperation and hunger. Floyd and Kathy returned to the village in January 2004 — Floyd to his construction project, and Kathy to her work in the hospital. When they saw the fifth little child die of hunger, Kathy cried to Floyd, “We have to do something! We can’t allow these children to die like this!”
Floyd purchased truckloads of maize (corn) which were brought to the village. The people in the village were told that they could barter for the grain. Because Floyd and Kathy knew the villagers had almost nothing with which to trade, Floyd asked for construction supplies he knew people could easily find: sand, aggregate, and charcoal. The local pastor suggested “baskets.”
Floyd and Kathy were stunned the next morning when they saw hundreds of women rushing with their beautiful hand-woven grass baskets to the barter site. One by one, they traded baskets for grain. Since then, Outreach has purchased over 65,000 baskets! We still sell baskets today to support artisans in Tanzania.
Kathy asked the leaders of each village in the ward what they needed to make their villages sustainable. She asked for a prioritized list. All the village leaders and elders agreed that they needed four things: water, food, medicine, and education. The Outreach mission was created based on these locally identified needs. These four needs, referred to as cornerstones or pillars, have become the four promises of Outreach. The mission of Outreach is to provide safe water, food, medical care and education to children and those in need at home and abroad. After 10 years of working to fulfill these four Outreach promises, Floyd and Kathy were invited to the White House in 2013 by President Obama and former President Bush to receive the 5,000th Point of Light Award.
Floyd and Kathy have also been inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame and Outreach received the Global Empowerment Award by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Artist and Athletes Committee in 2013.
Since March 2020, Outreach has packaged over seven million meals in Kansas for FEMA with the National Guard. Because the need for nutritious food is increasing and because of COVID restrictions, Outreach is promoting exclusive events, prepacked care boxes and pantry packs of meals. Mechanical packaging is also an option. Meals are also used for emergency relief in America and outside the US. Meals are sent to Tanzania for the Most Vulnerable Children in Singida and Manyoni.
Potable water was a concern for Floyd and Kathy from the moment they landed in Tanzania. Cholera was a huge concern, and there had been many outbreaks. People could not be productive while suffering from waterborne illnesses. At Nkungi Village, one of the first things Floyd and the villagers repaired was the beautiful old windmill which had not pumped water for at least 15 years!
Its purpose was to provide water to the hospital and the entire village.
In addition to continuing its domestic efforts, Outreach is expanding its international foundation in Tanzania. Earlier, Medical Mission teams traveled to the Singida Region providing surgical services and medical clinics. Port-a-doc, a mobile medical clinic staffed with a medical officer, serves the rural communities of Ilunda Ward where medical care is very limited.
Outreach has also built two Children’s Centers, one in Singida and one in Manyoni. At each Center, Outreach provides a nutritious mid-day meal (if the children attend school), school uniforms, school supplies and tutoring to the most vulnerable children. For many of the children, this is the only meal they will receive all day.
At Singida, over 700 children are served each school day. The Manyoni Center, opened in August of 2014, serves over 650 children. You may sponsor a child at one of Children’s Centers here.