What Is An Orphan Grain Train?
Orphan Grain Train is a Christian volunteer network that shares personal and material resources with needy people in America and around the world. Grain Train volunteers gather donations of clothing, medical supplies, food, Christian literature, and other aid to meet real needs. The Orphan Grain Train movement is a loving response to Jesus Christ's example as a servant and His love for us.
In 1992, Rev. Ray S. Wilke, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Neb. volunteered with a group of Lutherans who traveled to Latvia and Russia to help with a church mission. There they met people with "no hope" in desperate need of spiritual, emotional, and humanitarian aid after the breakup of the former Soviet Union.
The Latvians begged Rev. Wilke to help them more after he went home, and he promised he would. Wilke envisioned a train that would travel through America's Midwest, picking up donated grain along the way, until it reached a port from which the grain would be shipped to feed starving orphans in Eastern Europe.
Upon his return to the United States, Wilke contacted Clayton Andrews, president of Andrews Van Lines and told his story. Together, they founded Orphan Grain Train.
"He came to me and asked, 'Do you want to do probably the greatest thing you've every done in your life?' " says Andrews. "When I heard what he wanted to do, I never hesitated, and it took off from there." As it turned out, railroad operating protocol prevented the original grain train concept from leaving the station, but Orphan Grain Train was born nonetheless. Within a year, Grain Train's first shipment, a container of clothing and quilts, arrived in Riga, Latvia.
Since 1992, Orphan Grain Train's 18 regional divisions have delivered nearly 30 million pounds of humanitarian aid to needy people in more than 40 countries on five continents. An additional 300 semi loads of hay were delivered in 2002-03 to drought-stricken farmers in the Midwest during Operation Hay and Grain Lift.
Many shipments have been in cooperation with Lutheran Hour Ministries, LCMS World Mission, LCMS World Relief, and other Christian ministries. Orphan Grain Train is a recognized service organization (RSO) of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
Orphan Grain Train is a hands-on, Christian, humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization built on a nationwide network of volunteers. Grain Train’s 18 regional divisions collect, pack and ship more than 150 semi-loads of donated clothing, relief supplies and humanitarian aid each year.
In addition to international efforts, disaster relief within the United States is a key part of Orphan Grain Train's mission. Most recently, over 100 semi loads of supplies have been shipped to the Gulf Coast to aid in the recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. To see this effort first-hand, Grain Train's Katrina Response video can be viewed online here.
Orphan Grain Train also has a number of special projects which include unique, specialized opportunities to make a direct impact on the lives of those in need. As a 501(c)(3) organization, Orphan Grain Train is exempt from federal income taxes and your donations are tax deductible. To learn more, please visit our financial information page.
Much has been accomplished through Orphan Grain Train in the fourteen years since 1992, but much remains to be done. Please consider joining us. Help us respond to the material and spiritual needs of people around the world. Get on board now!
In loving response to Christ, the Servant, the Orphan Grain Train movement encourages and enables God's people to share personal and material resources in bringing Christ's name and character to needy people both far and near.
Sometimes that character expresses itself as a word well spoken, sometimes as a bandage well applied, and sometimes as a child well fed.
Orphan Grain Train International Office
PO Box 1466
Norfolk, NE 68702-1466
FAX (402) 371-7350