Lanny York aptly named his mission outreach to poor families in Honduras “Project Poultry.” “We are reaching out to try to help poor families by providing what they need to begin raising …
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Lanny York aptly named his mission outreach to poor families in Honduras “Project Poultry.”
“We are reaching out to try to help poor families by providing what they need to begin raising chickens,” the Parker businessman said. “We build the chicken coop, provide them with 10 hens, a rooster, 1o half-grown chicks and 500 pounds of grain to feed the chickens. We also help them learn what they need to do to care for the chickens.”
He said the chickens can grow into a flock that provides food for the family and also can be a source of income, since the family can sell eggs and — as the flock grows — some of the chickens.
York said he has gained a lot of knowledge about how to care and raise chickens since he started the program in 2014.
“I knew I liked eating chicken but I knew nothing about the care and raising of chickens before we began this program,” he said. “It was a steep learning curve at first, but I was fortunate that the Hondurans I worked with knew all about chickens and helped me learn about how to help families care and raise chickens.”
He said he also talks to them about the Gospel and provides each family with a Bible.
The Parker merchant established a nonprofit organization that he named Operaton Hand Up International in 2004 when he began seeking to help poor people living in the rural mountain villages of Honduras.
“I chose that name because we want to provide the Hondurans a hand up, not visit them and give them a handout,” he said. “It is sort of the same idea about teaching a man to fish instead of just giving him a fish.”
The program is funded by donations. York said he tries to make at least four trips a year to the poverty-stricken areas of Honduras where he and local volunteers set up at least 10 families with chickens.
The local government and schools have asked York to help them with a project to help about 300 undernourished children in the valley where he does his mission work.
“Most of these are children of single mothers and get an average five meals a week,” he said. “We are partnering with several Honduran churches to help these children. Our goal is to help feed all those children, and in partnership with the churches the cost will be 42 cents per meal per day. My goal is to help raise money for this very important project.”
York said the Honduras project is an extension of long-standing passions for mission work.
He was raised in Southern California and attended Church of the Nazarene Point Loma College. He majored in business administration with the idea of going into the family business.
York said he felt the call to the ministry, moved to Denver in 1974 and joined the staff at Denver First Church of the Nazarene.
He left DFC in 1990 but still had a passion for the ministry and missions. He established his Parker business, Mountain States Payment, which sells and services automatic teller machines. His passion for mission triggered the establishment of the Poultry Project.
“We have great local people in Honduras who work with us. They are all volunteers who want to help their people,” he said. “We also hire some additional workers and try to find men who really need the work because there isn’t a lot of work available in that valley. On a recent trip we were able to hire a man who had nine children and hadn’t been able to find work in several months.”
The standard daily wage in that area of Honduras is $7 a day, but work is scarce and the majority of men can only find work a couple days a week.
The majority of the Hondurans who work with York are volunteers, and so is he.
“We operate on donations and I try not to spend any of the donations to pay workers,” he said. “But when we need to hire workers we try to find men who need the work and are willing to work hard. Most do but some don’t, and those who don’t work hard only last a day or so with us.”
York said he is looking to add additional projects to his efforts, including providing water filter systems to families. Statistics show that an average of one in five children die before their fifth birthday from drinking polluted water.
York works in a remote valley near the town of San Antonio de Cortez. He said estimates are that 42,000 people live within a five-mile radius of the town.
“Most people drink out of the rivers and creeks, and that water is full of intestinal parasites,” he said. “Safe drinking water is for sale but most residents can’t afford to buy it. So we are starting to bring water filter systems to families in the valley. Our goal is to donate 1,000 water filter systems to families in the next two years.”
He also wants to do something about the fact reported by schools in the area that more than 1,300 children are undernourished.
“We know we can’t reach all the children but, as we start planning our trip in September, we want to see how we can provide better nutrition for as many children as possible,” he said.
For more information about York and the work he is doing in Honduras, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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