Integrity gears up for summer trip to Kenya

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, May 19, 2016

Each year, Integrity Worldwide hosts a 5K in Selma to raise money for medical supplies to aid residents of Meto, Kenya. For the second year in a row, Integrity Worldwide is funding a summer trip to Meto to give Kenyans the same opportunity to run a 5K. 

Integrity Worldwide, a Selma-based Christian mission organization, is trying to raise $7,500 for a Maasai village in Meto as part of its “May is for Meto” campaign. Of the $7,500, $5,000 will go toward medical supplies and $2,500 will fund the 5K that is scheduled to take place during late July.

Ashley Morris, Elizabeth Gilmer and Integrity Worldwide co-founder Averee Hicks will all be a part of the team traveling to Meto to provide medical treatment and hold the 5K.

While providing basic healthcare to the people of Meto is a goal for Integrity Worldwide, Morris said a 5K run is important because it can bring a sense of confidence to the children of Meto that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.

“That can lift up someone’s chin and they can hold their head up, they can smile because doing an activity like that and showing them their value and their worth. That can empower these young kids,” Morris said.

The money raised will go toward providing T-shirts, awards and a free meal to the children who participate in the 5K.

Gilmer said that will equate to about $5 per runner, with hopes of having 500 children in Meto participate.

Integrity Worldwide has helped build a connection from Selma to Meto. Morris said even though the kids in Meto have never been to Selma, they send prayers to Selma in the same way Integrity Worldwide prays for Meto, and the children are thankful for all the resources they are given from Selma.

Gilmer said the children know Selma runs a 5K for them, so it makes them happy knowing that they get to participate in one too.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to be a part of what’s happening in Selma as well,” Gilmer said. “It’s something that they look forward to and they’re excited about.”

While Morris and Hicks have been to Meto before, Gilmer will be making her first trip in July. She has heard about the generosity and graciousness of the Meto community, and it makes her that much more excited to visit a place she has devoted plenty of time into helping.

“There’s nothing like getting to experience a place first hand,” Gilmer said. “I know it’s going to make all the stories that I’ve heard come to life.”

Morris said one thing she realized when she first visited in 2013 was the needs many of the Meto people have for basic healthcare. When Integrity Worldwide arrives, there will be medical clinics set up to assist the locals with their healthcare needs. Morris said she was astounded that people walked up to 20 miles just to receive assistance from Integrity Worldwide’s medical clinics.

“The most exciting thing to see is when you get to Meto for these medical clinics, people are already lined up,” Morris said.

The goal is for Integrity Worldwide to purchase enough medical kits, which cost $450, to help out 250 people in Meto.

While poverty is an issue in Meto, Hicks said it’s not just giving basic needs like food, water and healthcare that will help. The 5K is an effort to give the children in Meto a gift that often goes overlooked.

“Poverty is not a lack of a car or a bank account,” Hicks said. “It’s based on relationships. Spending time and developing relationships makes one wealthy.”

To donate, visit integrityworldwide.org.

“I’m so ecstatic and excited to see what this campaign’s effect will have,” Morris said.

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

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