RU4Children was started in 2001 when Trey and Jennifer McAlister witnessed first hand the need to serve the orphaned and abandoned children. Their original idea of RU4Children was to show love to children living in orphanages in Ukraine and Russia. They felt that if they could encourage community leaders, businessmen, and volunteers on the struggles and needs of the local orphans then the children's lives would improve systematically. They began working in Russia and Ukraine by applying this philosophy 12 years ago.
Trey and Jennifer spent the first eight years working primarily in Ukraine serving the orphans by providing summer camps, secondary educational classes, life skills courses, trade skills training, and Alpha Course Studies. The original group of orphans consisted of sixty-four children in Kharkov, Ukraine’s Orphanage #4, Kharkov’s largest government run orphanage at the time with more than 400 children. The children we chose to work with ranged in age from 8-10 years old. Orphan statistics in Eastern Europe at this time include high rates of prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of higher education, suicide, homelessness and joblessness once they “age-out” of orphanages. Over the next twelve years, those sixty-four children took advantage of the opportunities provided, changed the course of their lives forever, and have taken the initiative to reach into the next generation of orphans. They have encouraged, mentored, and to provided hope to the younger orphans. The love and care that was given to them is now being poured out to other orphans in that region and beyond. One of the ongoing projects that was launched in 2008 was the Destiny Center, built and designed as a “safe place” for all orphans in Kharkov, Ukraine. Several orphans along with volunteers now manage and operate the Destiny Center, where they continue to provide educational courses, life skills classes, and Bible studies.
In 2009, the McAlisters had the opportunity to expand their reach into Guatemala. However, not only were there orphans that needed basic food and nutrition, but also entire communities and villages that desperately needed food and nutrition. The focus at that time quickly went from serving just orphans to broadening their scope and also focusing on the needs of women and children. Many of the women were raising multiple children with no access to nutrition, safe-cooking stoves (they were cooking over open fires), education for themselves or their children, or even clean water. After building the initial relationships with local business leaders, feeding centers, and churches, they realized they needed to take a step towards providing basic needs for the vulnerable children and needy families in Guatemala. RU4Children’s primary focus remains in attaining a goal of providing 50,000 nutritious servings to Guatemala children by 2015.
In 2010, the devastating earthquake shook Haiti. For the next eighteen months RU4Children helped provide emergency relief and reconstruction support to organizations and churches on the ground. They have continued their relationships with Bataille boys home, just outside of Port Au Prince, and played a the key role in repairing the damage that happened as a result of this catastrophic earthquake.
RU4Children works diligently to improve the lives of women and children in the greatest of need and to ultimately Nourish the Hungry, Inspire the Broken, and to Connect the World.
Nourishing the Hungry: On average, 21,000 children die each day worldwide from poverty-related issues according to the World Health Organization. RU4Children has seen this first-hand in Guatemala. Malnutrition is one of the key roadblocks for any third world community and one of the poverty-related issues that RU4Children is now working to fight. Malnutrition ultimately leads to a compromised immune system, physical ailments, and even death. Right now, RU4Children is providing nutrition to over 5,000 kids each day in Guatemala. They do this by partnering with local organizations to provide vitamins developed specifically for malnourished children; they have seen tremendous change in the children through the school meal program in Guatemala.
Inspiring the Broken: Women living in extreme poverty represent 70% of the world’s 1 billion poorest people according to the Global Poverty Project. Women in this situation must provide for their family on less than $2.00 a day. Consequently, this not only impacts the mother’s livelihood, but also the children’s health and education. RU4Children has inspired thousands of disadvantaged families to prioritize health, education, and social responsibility. They have provided food to women and children in need, furnished hundreds of clean water systems for homes, and installed over 250 safe cooking stoves.
Connecting the World: RU4Children believes that by connecting individuals to the women and children at the center of poverty and childhood malnutrition, they can further impact lives. They aim to communicate the needs and problems and collectively engage solutions.