For this year's Philanthropic Week, Tracey had the opportunity to serve abroad with Pantheon's very first nonprofit partner, Jesus the Hope of Romania as they celebrated their 25th Anniversary!
A well established nonprofit in the heart of Timisoara, JHOR is known throughout the region as the legacy of Peter Dugulescu, former Romanian parliament member and hero of the 1989 revolution that overthrew Ceausescu and Communism.
Living James 1:27, JHOR is a ministry that cares for the orphans, widows, and those in distress throughout Romania through a host of services and programs. Upon arrival, Tracey jumped right in and joined the Manna Program for a day, first feeding the elderly, disabled, and poor in their homes, and ending the day feeding the street children and homeless families that abound throughout the region.
Soon, it came time to visit Onesimus House, a group home for more than 50 orphans ranging in age from 2 years old to early adulthood. Thanks to American donors she arrived with Easter gifts for each child; a first for all the kids, who had never before received an Easter basket.
Leaving Timisoara for a few days, Tracey then headed out to survey the children's summer camp currently under construction in Vadu Motilor near the Apuseni Mountains.
Returning through Hatag, Tracey spent a day with the seniors and disabled men and women living at Bethany House. A nursing home for those without resources or family, the seniors and special need residents adored the blankets, hats, and scarves Tracey brought with her from the States as gifts, as much as they enjoyed her warm hugs and the chance to speak German with her for an afternoon.
Easter in Timisoara brought amazing insight into the traditions and culture of the people, as well as the joy of serving over 200 of Timisoara's orphans a special lunch at the annual Orphan's Easter, just hours before heading out for the city-wide Resurrection March and civic concert.
One of the great highlights of the trip was the chance to celebrate JHOR's great reputation of over 25 years of serving the people of Romania with the Board of Directors, including Pantheon's own President, Elizabeth Schick.
In Tracey's own words:
"This experience was immensely impactful, not only to me but also to those benefiting from our visit and other participants in our group. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of poverty and struggles, a world that is rarely seen here at home. Imagine a society where only the wealthy, elite, highly educated or criminally minded and corrupt are those that prosper...imagine you dedicated your life to an education, received a degree but couldn’t remain employed because you can’t afford the medication that manages an illness you have, therefore you are left to fight for a very low income that barely feeds the need of your family each day. The unimaginable hard work and effort that JHOR does ranging from raising a child with love and dignity and teaching self-worth, to supporting young men as they explore and find their purpose, to feeding the destitute and caring for the elderly whose families have given up on them. One can only imagine the time and money needed to do what we should be doing for each other in the first place; love, care and support."