Seven years ago Margaret “Maggi” Gallaher began volunteering with Global Volunteers, and has since served on five programs – in the Cook Islands, Romania, Montana, Peru, and West Virginia. As a pediatrician, Maggi is deeply dedicated to causes for children. Her dedication led her to become a monthly sponsor and to donate to certain to emergent needs at Sagrada Familia children’s community in Peru, where she volunteered in 2019. Read on to learn what about the children’s home and its residents motivated her to become a donor.
Maggi’s Generous Support of Sagrada Familia’s Children’s Community in Peru
Maggi Gallaher has dedicated her life to the well-being of children. As a retired pediatrician, Maggi continues to support children around the world through volunteer work and as a monthly donor. When Maggi served in Peru in 2019, she was inspired by the children and staff’s trust that their needs would be met. Sagrada Familia children’s home in Peru lacks many resources, and Maggi felt compelled to donate to the causes she could. She says, “The children of Sagrada Familia are an inspiration to me. They model trust and faith in the universe to provide them with what they need. Seeing how the children of Sagrada Familia give of themselves, I felt compelled to share with them.”
The children’s home previously had merely two small bathrooms for 1,300 students. Maggi donated the funds for 12 hand-washing stations to be installed on the campus. During the pandemic, the children’s home was suffering from food insecurity and Maggie made a donation for emergency food relief at Sagrada Familia to ensure that the children would be fed for several weeks. And her monthly donation helps provide much-needed resources at the children’s home where 200 neglected or abandoned children live.
Read more about Maggi’s inspiration in this interview:
What impresses you about Sagrada Familia such that you continue to support them?
The children of this world are our future and I want to support them to be all that they can in any way that I can. The children of Sagrada Familia are an inspiration to me. They model trust and faith in the universe to provide them with what they need. They have so little, but you can feel their joy when you enter the community. They are always smiling, greeting the volunteers when we come in or when they see us throughout the day. They give so much of themselves despite having so little in the way of material goods. It seems to me that those that have very little are the most willing to share with others. They share bread with the surrounding community and during the pandemic helped raise funds to purchase an oxygen concentrator so that those that needed oxygen would have it. I strive to be more like them. (Read more about the oxygen plant at Sagrada Familia.)
Why was contributing during the pandemic important to you?
I have been blessed to have so much in my life, although at times I take it for granted. Seeing how the children of Sagrada Familia give of themselves, I felt compelled to share with them. I started giving to them after my volunteer program there. During the pandemic, I wanted to be sure that they would be able to have food to eat and other things. I will continue to support them in any way that I can.
What value do you believe your contributions offer the children and staff?
I hope that my contributions support the community in having their basic needs met so that they can continue to grow and thrive and live their dreams.
How do you know you can trust Global Volunteers as a steward of your contributions?
I have volunteered with Global Volunteers over the past seven years. On each of the programs in which I have participated, I see firsthand how the Global Volunteers staff work with community partners to serve them in the way that best meets the needs of the community. All the staff at Global Volunteers have been great to work with. I have always felt that this is a caring and compassionate organization. The Global Volunteers staff have reached out to me to assure that they were using my donations as I intended.
“I have volunteered with Global Volunteers over the past seven years. On each of the programs in which I have participated, I see firsthand how the Global Volunteers staff work with community partners to serve them in the way that best meets the needs of the community.”– Maggi Gallaher
What other kinds of causes do you support?
Children, the world they live in, and food security are my primary interests. In addition to volunteering in the schools (prior to the pandemic), I have established a donor-advised fund to support children’s success in school. Through this fund, I have been able to provide funds for young children to purchase books of their choosing at their school’s bookfair, purchase instruments for music class and elementary school band, and provide tuition costs for youth summer programs at the local university. I provide monthly donations to our local foodbank. During the pandemic, when I was unable to work with children in schools, I started volunteering at the foodbank warehouse. I look forward to working there two mornings each week. I also support environmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Land that work to not only protect the environment but increase access to nature for all, especially those in urban or other vulnerable environments. Like Global Volunteers, these organizations work directly with communities to understand their needs and to work together to find creative solutions.
What’s your advice to others who may wonder if donations to Global Volunteers will make a difference in the world?
We are all connected. Everything we do has an impact even if that impact is not immediately apparent. I have seen firsthand the impact that the donations and work of Global Volunteers have in communities.
Maggie Gallaher returned to service this summer, volunteering in West Virginia in July. She is also serving on one of first service programs in Sicily in November.
Read Maggi’s volunteer story from Peru: