Doggie breath leads to good deeds
ESSEQUIBO, GUYANA (March 10, 2009) –When Joe and Judy Roetheli started working on a way to clean up their dog’s halitosis, neither imagined that their efforts would lead them to start a business – much less form a charitable foundation and build a village to help the poor of Guyana. But then, Joe and Judy Roetheli aren’t the type of couple one would call predictable.
In 1996, the Roetheli’s invented “Greenies®”, a dog treat designed to clean teeth and freshen breath for man’s best friend. The doggie dental chew worked so well that by 2006 they had sold more than 750 million units. Never content to sit still for too long, Joe and Judy started working on their next big project. They formed The Lil’ Red Foundation™, a charitable organization that would allow them to use their newfound wealth to help those in need.
Joe notes, “Judy and I have always believed that it is important to give back, whether it is to your local community or to the world as a whole. Establishing the Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation allowed us to give of our time as well as provide financial relief to those in need.”
During a sermon at church, Joe and Judy heard Father Columkill Regan and Father Louis Papas talk about the work of Food For The Poor, a Florida-based nonprofit that serves the poorest of the poor throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Father Papas spoke about the horrible living conditions that many poor people suffered in Guyana and the desperate need for housing there. The couple took the priest’s message to heart and decided to do something – something big, something that would make a real difference for the poor. Joe and Judy decided to partner with Food For The Poor to build an entire village in Guyana.
Construction of The Lil’ Red Village began in October 2008. The project, which is almost 75 percent completed, consists of 100 housing units and sanitation blocks, a community center, a school, several retail shops, a water tower, electric service to the community, and a five-acre community garden area to grow food. Once finished, the Lil’ Red Village has the potential to help more than 600 people within the village.
“With help from Food For The Poor, the residents will be able to sustain themselves beyond the home they were given and work towards becoming self sufficient by using their personal gifts to teach others in the village,” said Joe.
“When the village is complete the Lil’ Red Foundation will continue to look for opportunities to work with Food For The Poor,” Judy added. “ We encourage others to find what inspires them to help others. Each of us needs hope. With hope and inspiration, nothing is impossible.”
The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire people to use their skills and talents for the betterment of themselves and others. The Foundation participates in a variety of inspirational projects including pet visitation programs in nursing homes with a focus in rural Missouri, encouraging entrepreneur talents and skills and inspirational documentaries and books. To read about other inspiring Lil’ Red Foundation projects, and to make a donation that would help continue their work, visit www.lilredfoundation.com.
Food For The Poor is the largest international relief and development organization in the nation. With more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help those in need, Food For The Poor provides nourishing food, safe shelter, necessary medical care, educational materials, support for orphans and the aged, and much more to the poorest of the poor in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. To learn more about Food For The Poor, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.