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To Africa, with Love

Several local Isagenix independent distributors traveled to Africa to help feed the hungry

Article by Lynette Carrington

Photography by Benson Manyunyu Barthel, Rachel Pedretti,

Originally published in Gilbert Lifestyle

A recent humanitarian trip to Africa included a group of Isagenix independent distributors and its community relations supervisor, Lisa Ceballos who is a Gilbert resident. The trip was inspiring as the group saw how community involvement creates positive change in impoverished areas. In total, 11 people including Ceballos, eight Isagenix independent distributors and two SERV International employees traveled to Nairobi, Kenya and then the Turkana region at the northwest border that receives refugees from Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The philanthropic arm of Isagenix is the ISA Foundation and it helps those facing poor nutrition, poverty, natural disasters and racial inequality. The organization partners with U.S.-based nonprofits to work in communities globally and create positive change, such as it did on its inaugural trip to Africa in late 2019. This trip marked the first time the foundation had undertaken a service trip, and it included some of its most passionate donors.    

Ceballos has been with Isagenix for more than seven years and has managed the ISA Foundation for two years. “What I love most is connecting with our charity partners and seeing the impact of what our support is doing for the people we serve,” says Ceballos. “Getting the chance to be directly involved in the project is something I value. That was part of our motivation in creating the ISA Foundation – to have the opportunity to be close to projects we’re supporting.”

SERV International is based in Canton, GA and has a facility in Nairobi that utilizes local, sustainably sourced ingredients for its highly nutritious meals. The meals are comprised of a combination of ingredients including dried lentils, vegetables, rice and a vitamin/protein mixture that is mixed with boiled and sterilized water. The volunteer group packed more than 60,000 meals and gave bagged food to a local elementary school for children living in a slum. “Providing dry food makes it last a long time. We can go into a community that is not receiving food on a daily basis, and provide them meals that last 30, 60 or 90 days,” explains Ceballos.

Seeing the fruits of their labor, the volunteers visited House of Hope orphanage founded by SERV International. There, they met “Rebecca,” a young lady who grew up in the orphanage and is now thriving and volunteering there. “What struck me most was that the place was so filled with love,” says Ceballos. “It gives the opportunity for the kids to grow up in an environment where they have everything they need.” The group got to see that there is hope and opportunity for orphans that don’t have the benefit of family, but the support, love and education of orphanage staff. The ISA Foundation has raised close to $50,000 to build a transitional home in Kenya for orphans that are turning 18 and has provided 3.2 million meals with SERV since 2019.

“A big takeaway from this trip is a more realistic perspective for all the things we have and being grateful about where I’m from,” says Ceballos.

Gilbert residents and husband and wife Michelle and Michael Berrieault are Isagenix independent distributors who also made the momentous trip. “I was so blessed to receive the opportunity to see what life is like on the other side of the world and to experience how hunger and lack of resources shape who we are,” says Michelle Berrieault.

Likewise, her husband’s experience was profound. “What I experienced on the trip put things in such a new, amazing and different perspective,” explains Michael Berrieault. “It is of utmost importance to me to unabashedly, unselfishly and unreservedly help others no matter what part of the world they may live in, or how huge the need is.”

Michael Berrieault continues, “God has put it on our hearts to continue to give to those in Africa by supporting the children. I’ve personally developed a couple connections with young career men to whom I give a monthly allowance. I am able to dedicate monies to the ISA Foundation and SERV.”

The service trip also significantly influenced Isagenix independent distributor and Gilbert resident Rachel Thomas. “I have found that since I went to Africa, my heart has grown to give back more,” she says. “I have been volunteering at a local food bank every week and doing what I can to help in big and small ways. I may only be one person, but each of us as the ability to do something to cause global change.”

Learn more about the ISA Foundation at www.isafoundation.net.

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