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HN 22 | Not Your Average Paper Company

INTERVIEW BY: MICHAEL PRINS
Each employee at One Source Office Supplies is building a relationship with a sponsored child.

Martin Tai and Andy Chang started One Source Office Supplies (Surrey, BC) in 2013. It took a lot of work to get their business going and to build a philosophy of “putting people first,” but they never stopped believing in their company’s potential to do more than sell paper and desks. Here’s their account of how One Source Office Supplies became one of Food for the Hungry’s newest and most enthusiastic Child Sponsors.




What brought you to FH?

Martin: Last year, our fourth year of business, we saw good growth. We felt it was time to explore options on how to make a bigger difference. We discovered FH through a local church’s website and thought, okay, let’s give those guys a call! We felt our values are very similar to FH: that is, very relational. FH has an approach to not only just give funds, but to develop relationships with locals and bring long-term change.

How did you become partners with Mategouasse, Haiti?

Martin: We were invited on a short trip this past November to Haiti with a few other Canadian supporters; my wife and I took the opportunity. I found it so personally encouraging to visit the community before becoming a partner. The sacrifice of the local staff in Haiti, how much they want to help their own people—it’s what we hoped to see. The trip made it so much more meaningful and tangible!

What was it like, visiting the community and meeting your sponsored children?

Martin: To experience it firsthand was beyond words—to see how they live, the conditions of their households and the environment where kids play with no shoes—it was an eye-opener. Meeting with our three sponsored children and seeing them smile and getting to play with them definitely impacted my wife and me.

I have three kids myself. When I first got back from the trip I noticed how differently my kids go through their day—they have a roof over their heads, a hot shower. To compare that with what these Haitian kids do not have—they have to walk to get water just to drink! I couldn’t help myself from crying.

What  are you doing to bring that home with your staff and customers?

Martin: Using part of what we want to see our company donate annually, we said let’s sponsor one kid per employee. Right now, that means sponsoring eight more children. Each work station will have a photo of a kid in it for each member on our team to daily see and know they are making a difference in a kid and family’s life. Each one can have the opportunity to write a letter and build a relationship with a child. As we grow, we will add one child for each staff member we add. I love being able to tell our staff, “Hey, on your behalf we will be sponsoring this kid. Everything you contribute is helping this kid!”

Andy: One staff member went home and told her mother, and the first thing her mom did was ask where to find the website and where she can donate. The team is really excited—you can tell from their commitment to their work every day. It brings a bigger sense of purpose—doing good and helping the poor.

What does being a sponsor mean for you?

Andy: We are just thrilled! That’s what we want—to work in lives here and also in lives in Haiti. Maybe we just sell office supplies, but it’s a platform to channel more support through customers and create awareness in our community. This is now part of us, part of who we are.

Martin: We talk a lot about putting people first, that is, putting our staff and employees and customers first over profits. Sponsoring these children completes our vision—it enables us to share the resources we have earned. It is so much more than just writing a number on a cheque. God calls people into business and his intention is for us to be a solution for poverty. Running a business isn’t about bettering only our lives; there is a calling to the business community to be a solution to the hurting world.

EXPLORE PARTNERSHIP


Martin visits with Bejina (blue) and her family, one of several children sponsored by his office team in Surrey, BC.

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Food for the Hungry: HN 22 | Not Your Average Paper Company
HN 22 | Not Your Average Paper Company
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Food for the Hungry
http://blog.fhcanada.org/2018/03/hn-22-not-your-average-paper-company.html
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