115 kids abroad benefit from ‘hopeful’ local charity
Helping Cope Through Hope going strong after eight years

By Ashley Foley - BEAVER Reporter

Local ‘Helping Cope Through Hope’ founders returned home to Napanee after another year volunteering in Peru, Uganda and Zambia, assisting the poor and helping to educate the youth.
Tom and Cheryl Martin, both from Greater Napanaee, have been volunteering for nearly 10 years. In 2005, they formed the organization ‘Helping Cope Through Hope,’ where ‘Cope’ stands for Children, Orphans, Poor and Prison- ers, Exploited; and ‘Hope’ stands for Healing, Orphan- ages, Provisions, Education.
Tom, who used to be a teacher at NDSS, said he and his wife Waited a long time to be able to do what they do now.
“We’re living what I was teaching, in a sense,” he said. “I kind of knew that We would be doing that, helping somewhere, I just didn’t know where.”
Through their program, 115 children have been sponsored and more than 77 people have travelled with them to provide assistance and aid in the three areas the Martins focus on.
“These kids, all 115 or so, we know them, we visit their families, we visit their homes,” said Tom, saying he and Cheryl refer to them as their own kids after forming such a strong bond with each of them.

Helping Cope Through Hope Founders Cheryl Martin (centre) and Tom Martin (centre-right) help the poor in Uganda. Colleen (left), a volunteer from Tamworth; Joram (second from left), the organization’s local worker; and Father Samuel (right), work together through the organization.

“We go back to the same place each year, so that way we’re able to continue to help them and we’re finding now that some of the families are doing well and We can move on to some of the other families,” said Tom.
Tom and Cheryl have bought three parcels of land in Uganda, which is now being farmed by a few poor families they help and sponsor. Another parcel has been bought in Zambia, where they have helped build three houses. Now, four families live on the land, which is also used to farm goats, chickens and pigs.
Tom said their program would not be successful without the continued sup- port from their neighbours, friends and family in Greater Napanee and surrounding communities.
“There’s a lot of local support. People that sponsor children, people that donate at a charity auction. We have a friend that collects soft drink cans and takes and recycles them and that money goes to help children in Zambia and every year he collects over $2,000. We’ve used it in schools and to send kids to schools,” said Tom.
Currently, much of their focus has been on helping youths enrol in post-secondary education, which costs $1,500 per school year, for three years.
Aside from sponsoring a student in post-secondary, people can sponsor a child in elementary school. The cost is $30 a month, which pays for tuition, uniforms and food for the month.
To date, Tom and Cheryl have sponsors from Tamworth, Napanee, Deseronto, Marlbank, Roblin and even from the United States.
Even the poor not yet sponsored receive food and assistance as needed through Helping Cope Through Hope.
“One of the big things we do is hand out food,” said Tom. “It’s a big bag of corn flower. Some families, the poorest families, every month they get a bag of food, even when we’re not there. We leave it with our friend and he gives the bag of food.”
Those looking to help can buy gifts for those the Martins help, or buy gift certificates for a special occasion. Items that can be bought include goats, cows, chickens, pigs, good medical supplies, bicycles, blankets, clothes and mattresses. More information can be found on-line at www.helpingcopethroughhopeorg or by contacting Tom or Cheryl at 613-354-5652 or
The ninth annual Helping COPE Through HOPE charity auction will be held at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee on Sept. 14.