Woman helps feed children of the world

Roseville resident's 'Family Fun Day' will benefit the Reliv Kalogris Foundation
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When Susan Bushell was 10 years old, her mother taught her how to sew. They made layettes — clothing for newborns — that got shipped off to babies in Africa. And that is when the Roseville resident’s lifelong commitment to helping the world’s children began. “I’ve always had a heart for children who didn’t ask for their circumstances,” Bushell said. Bushell, now 65, takes part in several humanitarian charities. She and her husband, “Skip,” sponsor 10 children through World Vision, a Christian organization. Earlier this year, Bushell started a sewing group that made hundreds of dresses out of pillowcases for girls in impoverished nations. She’s once again taking up the reigns to help others, this time by organizing a Family Fun Day at Maidu Regional Park in Roseville on Sunday, Nov. 7, to benefit the Reliv Kalogris Foundation. The foundation, established in 1995, distributes nutritional products to children in developing countries. The organization operates more than 270 feeding programs in 10 countries and has supplied more than $23 million in nutritional products to these sites. The programs feed about 42,000 malnourished children. Earlier this year, the foundation donated $450,000 worth of nutritional products to feeding stations in Haiti, following the massive earthquake that killed or injured hundreds of thousands of people. Bushell works as an independent distributor for the company behind the foundation, Reliv International, a food science business. “Our mission is to nourish the world, so we wanted to find a way to fulfill that mission,” Bushell said. She has poster boards that illustrate her passion. They show photographs of a malnourished child with bad sores all over his body and another picture of a child possessing the telltale signs of protein deficiency — a reddish tint to his black hair and a bloated belly. There are also photos of children digging through the infamous Smokey Mountain Dump in the Philippines, searching for something edible. “It breaks your heart to see what these kids go through,” Bushell said. “We just have so much. I know times are tough for people, but we go out to eat and blow money on soda and that (money) can feed a kid.” She said $5 pays for a container of the Reliv kid’s protein shake, which will feed one child every day for a month. In August 2009, Bushell got a phone call from the foundation headquarters, asking if she would organize a pilot fundraiser to increase awareness about the charity and the problem of child hunger throughout the world. She was one of three distributors asked — the other two live in Arizona and Illinois. “I was the instigator,” Bushell said. She contacted Reliv independent distributors throughout northern California, trying to get as many people as possible to take part in a statewide one-day event. Women in Milpitas, Monterey and Fresno agreed. “This has never been done,” she said. “We have no idea what’s going to happen.” The foundation’s one catch: They had no money to fund the event, so Bushell has been generating all the sponsorships herself. She first bought a binder — on advice from an organizer friend — and then set to work designing fliers and thinking up postcard ideas randomly at 4:30 a.m. Friend and fellow Reliv distributor Rocklin resident Candy List agreed to help. List hosted a huge garage sale Oct. 23 and half of the proceeds, $311, benefited the Reliv Kalogris Foundation. “The foundation is probably the best part (of Reliv),” List said. “It feeds all those hungry children. That’s what I love most. I’m going to be (at Family Fun Day) supporting Sue all the way.” Although admission is free to Family Fun Day, Bushell asks that people provide a donation. The event will feature bounce houses, face painting, games, door prizes, a silent auction and more. And the novice event planner hopes all her hard work pays off. “It has truly been a walk of faith,” she said. Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- What: Family Fun Day at the Park to benefit the Reliv Kalogris Foundation When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7 Where: Maidu Regional Park, 1550 Maidu Dr. in Roseville Cost: Free, but donations accepted Info: For donation forms, call Susan Bushell at (916) 784-6719 or e-mail