First-year campus club Beloved International raises funds for Kenyan families.
This past Thursday, Beloved International, a new on-campus club, hosted its first ever Candlelight Kitchen event. In order to raise money for Beloved’s cause, six food trucks and hundreds of hungry attendees were present in support of the non-profit organization that plans on building a dining facility in a Kenyan home.
The faith-based Beloved International was founded in July of 2010 by graduates of UCSD and UCLA that were passionate about finding homes for Kenyan children who were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The UCI chapter launched this fall with seven members, who are led by fourth-years Christine Juang and Chris Choi. Most of the members and attendees of Thursday night’s event were UCI students or members of the local Berean Community Church.
Juang and Choi were inspired to create a UCI chapter after they traveled to Kenya this past March and visited the Rehoboth home — the home that Beloved International first established.
“We got to see everything first hand and that’s when we really fell in love with the country, the cause, and with what Beloved International is trying to do,” Juang said.
Beloved International runs a family home model, where a mother and father are in charge of a home, which often is an extension of their own family but cares for no more than 25 children at a time.
“Over there, the standard of living is very different,” Juang explained.
“For them to have 25 kids, that’s actually really reasonable. If the children were to be in an orphanage, they would be stuck with 160-200 other children in bunk beds.”
Juang also mentioned that families are dedicated for a lifetime, not for just a few months or years of the child’s life.
In the case of the Rehoboth’s, the family already had their own home and four children of their own, in addition to 14 children that they have officially adopted to be their own.
The co-founder of Beloved International, Catalina Chung, was in contact with over ten food trucks who all wanted to come out and support the cause, but ended up having to settle on the six that were present on Thursday.
The profits from Thursday evening were raised by The Burnt Tuck, The Viking Truck, the Rolling Sushi Van, Tornado Potato, Chomp Chomp Nation and Mustache Mike’s — all of whom agreed to donate 10 percent of their proceeds to Beloved International, which totaled $500 by the end of the night.
Although Thursday night’s funds will go to the Rehoboth’s new dining facility, Juang spoke of the goals that the UCI chapter has for the rest of the year, which include raising awareness for Beloved’s cause and what they work toward; acquiring their own family that will be supported by the UCI chapter, and an end of the year showcase complete with dance performances.
The new family that they are looking to support, which they found through local Christian churches in Kenya, has not yet been named, but Juang mentioned that they’re located only five minutes away from the Rehoboth family home.
The UCI chapter hopes that their cause will educate students on the effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has ravaged Kenya and left thousands of children orphaned.