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Climb a Mountain to Help People You Don’t Know? Definitely, Affirms Wyoming Resident Courtney Lanting

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Courtney LantingCourtney Lanting: “Helping people is all that matters. There are a number of ways to raise money for worthy causes. Wyoming resident Courtney Lanting decided she would climb a mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro in northeastern Tanzania to be exact. At 19,340-feet high, it's the world's 7th highest mountain.

Lanting, 29, scaled the inactive volcano in early August to financially support Carol Springs, Ill.-based Growing Hope Globally's ongoing agricultural training for struggling farmers in Kenya, Africa. She was joined by a small cadre of climbers.

Very blessed

People have pledged to support Lanting per meter (4,152 total) or a fixed amount.

"I know that I'm very blessed," said Lanting. "I don't have to worry about food on the table for myself. You see the pictures of the kids who are starving and the families who can't provide. It breaks my heart to see that. So being able to know these funds are going to help those who need it, it just feels good. Helping people is all that matters."

Providing agriculture training


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Growing Hope Globally was founded in 1999 when it was known as Foods Resource Bank, a Christian outreach that raises resources to help subsistence farmers in developing countries break the cycle of hunger and poverty.

Growing Hope funds training and tools farmers need to grow sufficient food year-around for their families and so they can sell the extra in order to send their kids to school and afford basic medical care.

Thousands of volunteers help raise funds for its food security programs, including churches, community groups and U.S. farmers. Last year, Growing Hope raised $2.8 million to support 44 programs in 26 countries, all of which improved the nutrition, food security and livelihood of more than 250,000 people living in the poorest regions of the world.

Collectively, Growing Hope has raised more than $38 million since the organization's founding to support agricultural development.

"Our programs are focused on providing agriculture training rather than material things," said Rachel Conley, an associate regional director for Growing Hope Globally based out of Holland, Mich. "Things eventually break or get used up, but helping people gain the knowledge to help themselves and provide for their families brings about lasting change. We are able to provide the gifts of dignity, hope and a legacy to pass down to future generations."

Lanting became aware of Growing Hope Globally through her church, Friendship Christian Reformed Church in Byron Township. This is not her first effort with Growing Hope Globally.

"I was able to be a part of this two years ago when I went to Guatemala," she said. "We helped communities build two greenhouses that each supported six families. It was a wonderful and eye-opening experience."

First time in Africa

This is Lanting's first time in Africa but not her first mountain climb, having scaled the Rockies in Colorado and Montana mountains. She prepared for this latest climb by biking, walking and climbing stairs but the hard part is Mount Kilimanjaro's high altitude. "There no way to train for that in Michigan," she said.

"When I was approached to go to Africa, one of the options was to climb Mount Kilimanjaro," said Lanting. "I decided that would be a really good idea. I worked with Growing Hope Globally before to help out. A lot of people have been giving me a flat donation and a lot are sponsoring per meter when I climb."


• Growing Hope has 163 rural community Growing Projects across the U.S. that are run by more than 2,000 volunteers.

• More than 2 million people living in developing countries have benefitted from participation in Growing Hope's sustainable food security programs.
• Growing Hope works through a network of member organizations and local partner organizations to support 44 programs in 26 countries around the world.
• Growing Hope works through these members: Catholic Relief Services, Christian Church WOC, Church of the Brethren Church World Service, Dorcas Aid International Foundation, Evangelical Covenant Church, Lutheran World Relief, Mennonite Central Committee, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Committee on Relief, World Hope International and World Renew.


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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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