Warren McGuffin Honored with Bishop's Award

June 20, 2014

Warren McGuffin Honored with Bishop's Award
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. honored Warren McGuffin with a Bishop's Award.  McGuffin is an active layperson at San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church. 
McGuffin began visiting Haiti shortly after the earthquake in 2010.  He journeyed as a member of the first responder team to assess the preparations needed before United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) teams could be sent to help with rebuilding.  MCGuffin felt a call to serve far beyond the disaster rebuilding efforts.  Once he saw lethargic children eating mud pies just to fill their stomachs, he was moved to work in relationship along the Haitian people to address longer term hunger and poverty issues.
The Thomas Food Project, supported by the California-Nevada Volunteers in Mission, was born out of that revelation.  McGuffin teamed up with James Lazarre, head of the Thomas School in Haiti, other people connected to the Conference's UMVIM programs, and several local churches to initiate the project.
The Thomas Project began by providing elementary-age students with nourishment to allow them to learn effectively during their school day.  But soon, McGuffin began to envision a more far-reaching project than simply meeting the basic needs of food and clean drinking water.  His entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and he soon incorporated solar power, computer labs, water purifiers, propane stoves, computer-based curriculum, and mobile education center cars under the project umbrella.  The goal of the project is self-sufficiency by integrating technology with education, and by developing the skills of people who live in the Haitian communities being served, every community within the project benefits in a long-term and self-sustaining way. 
McGuffin will travel to Haiti again in April with a team from Virginia that has adopted a school there.
At San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, McGuffin will co-lead the next sheltering of homeless families under the Winter Nights program, associated with the Social Justice Alliance of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.
"You're not like everyone else.  Everyone who comes here says, as they leave, 'We'll come back.' You're the only one who did," said Haitian partner about McGuffin's work.

See article from UMC.org