The Cummer family of Waverly recently adopted three-year-old Thamara from Haiti. The family got financial help to make several trips to Haiti from a nonprofit organization in Waverly called Seeds for the Fatherless, which was started by Mel Gonnerman.
"Adoption is expensive. We were looking for ways to offset some of the costs, and Mel's organization was a great blessing for us," said Kevin Cummer.
Besides helping adoptive families with travel expenses, Seeds for the Fatherless helps orphaned children in Mexico and Uganda.
Founder Mel Gonnerman said it started after his pastor gave a sermon about a mission trip. Gonnerman felt called to do something and used birthday money he received to send boxes of supplies to an orphanage in Mexico.
"I took the checks, went to Walmart and just filled up a big cart with things to send to the orphanage," he said.
Mel Gonnerman said he wanted to do more, so he started Seeds of the Fatherless in 2005 to provide physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to children in need.
In addition to the orphanage in Mexico, the organization also started helping a children's ministry in Uganda.
Gonnerman said Seeds for the Fatherless provides money to the ministry to help pay for food, medicine and school supplies.
"Education has been an important focus for us because we want to see the kids have the opportunity when they're done, so they can get out of the cycle," said Mel Gonnerman.
Many of the children Gonnerman helps, he'll never meet. However, he did get to meet Thamara after he helped pay for her parents' trips to Haiti.
"The financial assistance was great, but it's so much more than that. Mel cares about people he works with and has got such a passion for these kids," said Kevin Cummer.
Mel Gonnerman's goal is for every child to feel loved. He hopes his organization spreads a message he calls E.C.H.O., or Every Christian Helping Orphans.
Gonnerman has visited the orphanage in Mexico three times so far, but he said not everyone has to travel to make a difference. If you'd like to learn more or make a donation, click here.
You can also mail a donation to Seeds for the Fatherless, P.O. Box 57, Waverly 50677.