The Worm Project: The power of “one”

by Diana Gehman, Worm Project, dianagehman@yahoo.comWorm Project

His forwarded emails had all the intriguing elements of an obscure drug dealing story: ‘international searches for the cheapest manufacturer; purchases of the drug in bulk quantities for lower prices; recruitment and networking with distributors in the United States and third world countries; research for ways to get the drug into countries where customs posed barriers or required monetary bribes; and leaving a paper trail showing 100% of all donations going to a nonprofit charity. I was drawn into the contagious passion that this 80-year-old man breathed into every word, a passion that beckons others to join him.’This inconspicuous man is Claude Good. His passion is The Worm Project.’

That passion started out of a scenario of desperation. While serving as a Franconia Conference missionary in Mexico with the Triqui Indians from 1960 through 1985, Good became increasingly frustrated that children were suffering and dying from malnutrition from intestinal parasites, or “worms.” He set out to find a way to alleviate their condition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worms ate up to 25% of what little food the already malnourished children could obtain. Infections from intestinal parasites caused stunted growth, weight loss, asthma, diarrhea, low immune systems, learning disabilities, and even death. After diligently searching, Good found a miracle drug called Albendazole, which given every 6 months for 3 years would eradicate the intestinal parasites and enable a child to benefit from the nutritional value of all food eaten. Thus, out of desperation came inspiration: eradicate malnutrition in children in impoverished countries by wiping out worms through the distribution of Abendazole tablets. The Worm Project was born.

The scale of the challenge was formidable. WHO estimates that over 2 billion people around the world are infected with common intestinal worms and over 150,000 are estimated to die every year. Before long, Claude was able to find established nongovernmental organizations that were eagerly looking to form partnerships. These partnerships provided the most efficient method for the distribution of Albendazole and provided necessary education, skills, and other resources to reduce morbidity in these desperate countries.

Worm ProjectFrom The Worm Project’s inception until today, abundant giving has enabled the purchase of over 75 million Albendazole tablets, which roughly equates to 375 million pounds of food saved from worms. During 2011, The Worm Project will purchase 30 million tablets and reach out in some form to approximately 70 countries. Currently The Worm Project is able to purchase one tablet for 1.4 cents. That means 6 tablets given over 3 years costs less than 10 cents. The multiplied power of a contribution can be seen from these World Health Organization figures: $10 will treat 700 children and save 3,500 pounds of food from worms.

Please join us at The Worm Project Banquet held at the Franconia Heritage Restaurant in Franconia, Pa. on Wednesday, September 14 at 6 pm. See for yourself how God uses His power in you and others to change the lives of His hungry children forever. Feast on simple and delicious third world foods. Learn how you can be a part of The Worm Project’s 2012 goal to distribute 60 million tablets. The banquet is free, but please register by contacting Claude Good at (267) 932-6050, ext. 136 or cgood@franconiaconference.org. You can also visit WormProject.org.

In the gospels, Jesus commands the disciples to feed 5,000 hungry people in a remote location. Andrew responded: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Andrew asks a legitimately human question in response to a seemingly absurd command. Jesus responded to Andrew’s question not with words, but by modeling how to surrender our will to the infinite, miraculous power of God’s love. It is God who does the work through us. One small hungry boy gave all that he had to eat that day. Looking to the Father, Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread, and then gave it away. One boy. One lunch. 5,000 people fed. Be “The Power of One”.

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