Preparations Underway for No Hungry Children Benefit Festival

It was a mission trip to Africa that led Brandon Smith to start the organization No Hungry Children. 

"Being in the slums of Kenya -- of Nairobi -- and seeing the conditions, and seeing the need, and seeing the opportunity of how much we can do for so little," he said.

That's the idea behind the No Hungry Children Benefit Festival. All of the money raised goes directly towards food programs in Africa -- feeding over 2,000 kids two meals a day -- meals they wouldn't otherwise get.

"Every dollar that is spent, every ticket that is purchased, is a dollar's worth of food which feeds a child for a week in Nayrobi," Smith said. "We spend a dollar here on a bottle of water, and a child eats for a week there for that dollar."

It helps kids here at home, too. Food collected at the event is given to less fortunate children in East Texas through the St. Paul Children's Foundation in Tyler.

But feeding all those mouths is no easy feat; it takes about 200 volunteers around five months to make it all happen.

"Whether they're helping with the setup, or donating a bounce house, or spending a dollar for a bottle of water or whatever, they are contributing and helping and really making a difference across the world," Wendi Rees, director of fundraising for No Hungry Children, said.

"They're sensitive to reality in that they know how blessed they are, and they have good hearts, and they want to bless as they have been blessed," Smith said.

Even as it enters its third year, organizing such a huge benefit takes a lot of patience.  

"Even though it seems like it should get easier and easier and easier, it's a big thing," Rees said. "Last year we had 6,000 people here, and you can't just throw that together over night." 

The No Hungry Children Benefit Festival will be held at Bergfeld Park in Tyler on Saturday, May 17th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


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