Soontorn Inthayok is a day laborer and part-time guard, serving as the primary wage-earner for his family in Northern Thailand. The 49-year-old provides for his older sister, who is mentally disabled, and his son, who is attending technical college. He also overcomes his personal disability to bring home earnings of approximately $300 US dollars per month. While Soontorn works extremely hard, often the monthly expenses of food, utilities and tuition are more than what he earns.
When Soontorn learned he was selected to participate in the Social Development and Service Unit (SDSU) Chicken and Cattle Farming Project, he was elated. He received training on budgeting, preparation and how to care for chickens and was then entrusted with grant money to begin a small chicken farm. The funds were used to build a chicken coop on his property, as well as to purchase the needed equipment and feed to care for 25 chickens.
“When we first started to raise chickens, we used the eggs for family use in cooking,” Soontorn said. “Every 3-5 days we collect more than 10 eggs, we have plenty of eggs to fry and boil. We do not have to buy eggs at the market anymore.”
Soontorn’s family now have plenty of eggs for consumption and even have enough to sell to friends and neighbors. By selling each egg for 3 bath (about 8.5 cents) the family is earning an additional 300-400 bath per month. Some of the chickens are used for eating, adding much needed protein to their diets, and others have been shared with his local church and neighbors. He has also been able to sell several chickens to provide much needed income for his family.
Participants in the SDSU Chicken and Cattle Farming Project are selected based upon greatest need, with preference given to those with disabilities who have need for additional income. Local churches recommend people in their community for consideration and oversee the projects for the three years.
One hundred percent of funds given to the project through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering directly support local families.
“Without the Hunger Offering, this project would not be able to happen,” said Hunter Huff, staff member for SDSU. “The lives of the participants are changed forever and they are able to see the love of Christ through the actions, care and love of local believers. The funds are making a huge difference in the lives of many people who society has forgotten. The participants are truly the ‘least of these.’”
Lives are being changed, as participants see hope for the future and a way out of the poverty they have experienced. As Soontorn said, “raising chickens is good, easy and brings great joy!”
In 2016, Texas Baptists churches’ gifts to the Hunger Offering, totaling $640,784, supported the work of 182 distinct ministries which met short-term relief needs and developed long-term solutions to poverty.
Visit hungeroffering.org for more resources to promote the Hunger Offering in your church.