Hugs for Ghana donates $10K in toys, sports gear

Feb 26, 2014
Courtesy of: Michael Bervell Michael Bervell, a junior at Kamiak High School, hand-delivered hundreds of jerseys, soccer balls, athletic shoes and teddy bears to children in need during a recent trip to Ghana, West Africa.

The Kamiak High School non-profit Hugs for Ghana recently donated more than $10,000 worth of sports gear and teddy bears to children in need in Ghana, West Africa.

Michael Bervell, a Kamiak junior, hand-delivered hundreds of jerseys, soccer balls, athletic shoes and teddy bears during a trip last month.

The donations were collected through several Hugs for Ghana drives and fundraisers in the community.

At the fourth annual Ghanian Culture Night on Jan. 17, the student-run organization raised more than $3,500.

“Hugs for Ghana would love to thank the Mukilteo community for its help and ... the growth we've experienced over the past year,” Michael Bervell said.

Michael was in Ghana with his mother for about two weeks. He left for Africa on Dec. 27 and got back to Mukilteo on Jan. 6. It was Hugs for Ghana’s fourth trip to Ghana.

The donations were delivered to the Korle-Bu Children’s Hospital, Osu Children’s Home, Princess Marie Louise Hospital, Tikobo No2 D/A Basic Schools and the Eikwe Hospital in Ghana.

After his work was done, Michael and a group of Ghanian kids his age broke up into two teams and played a game of soccer with the newly donated gear.

“Despite our language barrier, the companionship that I felt while kicking around the ball and the joy which flooded my teammates faces gave me the most fulfillment,” he said. “Simply put, my friends in Mukilteo and I showed them that someone, somewhere cared.”

Hugs for Ghana aims to help Ghanian children in hospitals, schools and orphanages. It now has two student boards and more than 100 members.

The organization was founded in 2007 by Michael's sister, Rachel Bervell.

After a family trip to Ghana, Rachel, then a student at Kamiak, was inspired to help support underprivileged children there. Both of their parents are from Ghana.

When Rachel graduated, Michael’s brother Joel became president of the organization. He has since passed the title on to Michael, as he too graduated from Kamiak.

Hugs for Ghana has donated thousands of dollars worth of medical and school supplies, teddy bears and now sports gear to benefit Ghanaian children.

As president, Michael has also introduced initiatives to serve the local community and to expand to other high schools across Washington state.

He also wants to organize a student trip – so that its more than just him going to Ghana.

“I would love to have at least 10 students come with me to hand-deliver books, so they too can experience the same life-changing moments that I did,” Michael said. “Granted, it's a lofty goal, but I know with hard work we can do it.”

Fundraisers to deliver more books and sporting goods to Ghanian children are slated for March and July.

For more information, go to www.hugsforghana.org.

-Sara Bruestle

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