Deborah McCracken was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area. After completing her Master’s degree in 2005, she volunteered for three months at the Iwambi Orphanage in Tanzania. Deborah realized her mission was “to help the most vulnerable individuals and communities become empowered and alleviating poverty through community-specific and community led programming”. Her love of God, youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas to aid the plight of the most vulnerable, helped her to become the head of an orphanage in the Mbeya area of Tanzania. Deborah renamed the orphanage, The Olive Branch for Children (“OBFC”) and the name was registered in Canada in 2006. In May 2006, the Zion Home was started by Deborah for 6 AIDS orphans and children living with HIV – one of them was Mlombwa. Several months later, Mlombwa’s sister, Laudia, came to live at the Zion Home. Deborah was invited to Peace Lutheran Church (“PLC”) as a guest speaker in 2006 and spoke to us about the rewards and challenges they face. PLC then made a commitment to sponsor Mlombwa and Laudia.
Olive Branch Committee:
The PLC Olive Branch Committee (“OBC”) was established in 2006 to raise funds for our girls to take care of their basic needs, such as food, clothing, medical care and education. Over the past 12 years, PLC members have strongly supported Deborah and generously provided for our girls through a variety of fundraising activities. For the past 12 years, Deborah has been a guest speaker at PLC – she comes with her family and after service we all enjoy the fundraising lunch. Deborah, her family, all the children at TOBFC, staff and volunteers HAVE BECOME OUR FAMILY and we faithfully pray and support them and the numerous outreach programs established by Deborah in their community! Throughout the years, we keep in touch through Facebook and we have Skyped with TOBFC during our services. Please visit their Facebook page to learn more.
We know that 100% of the funds raised goes directly to them. Most importantly, we know that “Mama” Deborah and all others involved at TOBFC provide a strong base of LOVE with all the children, approximately 45 now living at the Zion Home and 14 living at the Peace Home. Love of God, love of family, love of community! All the children are lovingly nurtured and cared for, they are provided guidance, direction, hope, education, resources, medical care and a healthy clean environment. Their family life is filled with happiness, creative fun and learning, they are taught to share, give and help others, they exercise their mind and body in play and fun activities. They thrive and grow, are given a strong sense of self-worth and knowledge that their hopes, aspirations and dreams can be fulfilled, giving them a brighter and better future.
The OBC already met in January for discussion and planning for this year’s fundraising activities. Our theme for 2018 is “Expressions of Love”. Deborah and family will be coming to Peace Lutheran Church on April 15th for the service and the Fundraising Lunch. We will start the Fundraising campaign on March 11th for 4 weeks before the Luncheon (not including Easter Sunday). Stay tuned for further details.