Can we help build a kitchen for orphans?

February 28, 2014 | 7 comments

When I was talking with my friend Lisa-Jo when she was in Austin recently, I noticed that something seemed to be troubling her. When I asked her what was on her mind, she told me a story.

She said that there is a small community of very poor people in her home community back in South Africa, in an area called Maubane. Many of them are orphaned children. Her family is intimately connected to them — Lisa-Jo and her blog readers played Santa this past Christmas by providing the children with presents, and the rare luxury of a McDonald’s hamburger.


Lisa-Jo has three siblings who were adopted from this community.


The community meetings, after-school activities, and church services currently take place on a patch of dirt, without even shade from the sun.

“That’s what’s on my mind, ” she said. “I see the tremendous need of these people and want so desperately to help them…”

And in a moment that endeared her to me forever because it was so directly pulled from the Something Jen Would Do file, she added:

“So I, uhh, committed to raising $150, 000 to help them build a community center.”

Oh. $150, 000. That’s a lot. And it gave me a little insight into why she’d seemed preoccupied as we were eating chips and queso.

In the weeks that have followed, this project keeps coming to mind. I’m so inspired by being able to so directly help one community that has very specific needs. I love it that we can all see updates on Lisa-Jo’s blog about how the money is being used — in the Fall her readers funded a community water point and laundry center, and she’s been posting pictures of the progress.

The community center project is broken down into five phases, and one of them is a kitchen and welcome center. This is an important phase because it will be built before the main hall, and it will provide restrooms, a place for sanitary food preparation, and a base of operations for volunteers.



It would be a huge boost to the entire project to get this kitchen funded, and they only need about $14, 000* more to do it.

Could we help make this happen?

I’ve thought and prayed about this quite a bit since I first heard about it, and I strongly felt called to support it personally, and to mention it to you all. If you’d like to help, here is the donations page.

The payment form is a super simple, one-page form. It only takes about one minute to fill out once you have your credit card.

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 11.24.25 PM

You can follow the progress of the kitchen phase on the donations page here, and I’m sure that Lisa-Jo will be posting pictures of the building once it starts.

maubane-book-2An incredibly cool bonus: if you donate more than $40, Money-Saving Mom will give you a free copy of her book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and she’ll buy you a copy of Lisa-Jo’s memoir, Surprised by Motherhood.

I know that there are a million good causes out there, and we can’t donate to them all — I just ask that you take a moment to discern if you’re called to support this one.

I hope you’re all having a great last-weekend-before-Lent!

* UPDATE: I misread the information page, and the actual amount they still need is $25, 000. So if someone could go ahead and donate $11, 000 to make up the difference between what I said they need and what they actually need so I don’t have to update the post, that’d be great.


  1. Lisa-Jo

    So grateful for that bowl of Queso with you!! Here’s to many more!

    • Lynne

      Behind every good friendship is a bowl of queso!

      • Rebecca Fritz

        I’m so glad that I’m not the only one with that motto!

        • Michelle

          I will visit her and the kids this summer. I hope to meet them and donate some stuffs too.


    • Terese

      A small investment will change a lot of lives! Just made a donation. (Side note: have you considered making the women’s bathroom bigger than the men’s? Men go quicker and women are also more likely to have their children in tow.)

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