Art for the Heart of Africa benefits South Sudan orphans

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

A local church is helping orphans around the globe, with assistance from the community.

The Vineyard Church raised $32,000 dollars with their Art for the Heart of Africa” event last year, which they used to help 121 orphans in South Sudan – the newest country in the world.

At the event, they auction art from local artists as well as the orphans in South Sudan.

Kathy Smarrella, who has gone to the orphanage each of the past four years, says it’s always difficult to leave.

“I know the children and they know me,” she says. “You get to see them grow up. I feel like they are my children.”

She says the reward is seeing how even adding color to their lives makes a difference.

Art for the Heart of Africa begins at 6:30 Friday night at the Vineyard Church in Mishawaka.

The following is a statement about the charity, prepared by Vineyard Church:

The Vineyard Church is hosting the fifth annual “Art for the Heart of Africa” benefit on Friday, November 1, from 6:30pm – 9:00pm; an evening devoted to honoring God’s gift of artistry through music, art, and a benefit auction. The semi-formal event will feature art works from local and regional artists, as well as items from the children of South Sudan. The benefit supports the New Generation Dreamland Children’s Home (an orphanage in Yei, South Sudan) as it strives to feed, educate and show love to their 120 children orphaned by war, poverty and famine. Every dollar raised will go directly to support this orphanage.

In the last four years, the benefit has raised more than $94,000. With these funds, the Vineyard Church has been able to put a roof on the school of the Dreamland Children’s Home; begin Operation Joseph, a 25-acre farm; build a dormitory with enough room for 100 children, as well as bathrooms and showers; build and staff a children’s medical clinic; and purchase a dump truck used for transportation for the Operation Joseph Farm and for the children’s home. Additional funds have been used to supplement the children’s’ diet with protein. This year, our goal is to raise $20,000 to provide running water on the campus of the children’s home, which includes digging a well, a water pump and tower, installing solar panels, and running water lines to various locations on the campus.

A team of six men and women from The Vineyard Church just returned from South Sudan recently. The team offered medical and educational assistance to the people of South Sudan and completed an art project with the children from Dreamland which will be featured in the auction. In addition to the children’s art, the benefit will feature the work of many local and regional artists including: Joel Schoon Tanis, Matt Cashore, Harold Zisla, Maria Winston, Bill Jensen, Ben Roseland, Chuck Strantz, Cathy McKormick, and many, many others. Items will be sold through silent and live auctions throughout the evening of the event.

“Art is one of the ways that God uses to express his creativity and beauty,” said Clint Schwartz, Associate Pastor at The Vineyard Church, “and this event is a unique opportunity for artists in our local community to dramatically improve the lives of children on the other side of our world using their God-given talents.”

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