Changing Lives One Bite at a Time


Tacy Layne | Writer/Editor “We have to do something.” Months of researching, being pummeled by images, and endless news stories led the mother-daughter duo, Sheryl Russell and Brittany Turco, to make this statement regarding the refugee crisis.

1They were sitting in a warm, familiar place on that December day: Sheryl’s kitchen. After 30 years of cooking and baking, the kitchen had seen many wedding cakes, mouth-watering cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon rolls have been a Christmas staple in the Turco and Russell homes, as the ladies have passed out the homemade pastries to family, friends, and neighbors for the last several years. This past year, however, they took a different approach.

What if a cinnamon roll could bring awareness? What if indulging in a delicacy could somehow raise funds for refugees in Syria and Iraq? What if hours baking in a kitchen could translate to over $1,000 for refugees?

Sheryl watched the news stories pour in, saw the faces of mothers, fathers, and children as they journeyed to safety, and came face-to-face with the realization that those who traveled for miles were the fortunate ones . . . because they escaped. When that realization set in for Sheryl and her daughter, Brittany, they did what they do best. They baked.

2Brittany and Sheryl established Rolls for Refugees with the goal of raising $1,000 to support three organizations that serve refugees in either Syria or Iraq. Brittany quickly set up a website to take orders online, and in just four weeks Rolls for Refugees went from a kitchen table conversation to a profitable $1,400 fundraiser.

World Orphans project, The Refuge Initiative, was one of the three organizations that received not only the financial, but the awareness-driven support of Brittany and Sheryl. The Refuge Initiative operates out of Iraq, a country ravaged by the destruction and heartbreak brought on by ISIS. This project uses self-governed micro-camps to provide wholistic care and equip refugees with pathways back to independence, including education, vocational training, and job creation.

3While the funds Brittany and Sheryl raised certainly made an impact on the lives of refugees, they were most excited about the opportunity to raise awareness, not only for the refugees, but for the organizations whose ministries focus on serving refugees. Family and friends were excited to have an easy, tangible (and delicious) way to get involved.

Brittany and Sheryl, like us at World Orphans, believe that God has blessed us with gifts and talents, and he breaks our hearts for specific people and circumstances. Why? Because we have something to offer. Whether it’s baking or running or offering up our finances, we have a role to play in caring for widows, orphans, and refugees . . . until they all have homes.

What do you have to offer? Learn more about the ways in which your gifts and passions can impact the ministries of World Orphans by visiting us at www.worldorphans.org/rescueteams

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