Our Story

The Birth of Orphans Treasure Box

Stumbled into it…
Yep, that is how I would describe it. Just wanted to clear clutter from the house, so I listed eight textbooks on Amazon, and sold four the same day. July 30, 2011. Nothing big.

But, God had other ideas…
For a few months, I toyed with the idea of building a consignment shop for books. But, that idea didn’t jazz me. Then I read Radical by David Platt. Somewhere in his challenge of following Jesus at all costs, I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “let’s do this.” Instantly, I saw a ministry impacting thousands of children…vulnerable children…orphans. Orphans Treasure Box was born.

So, we opened and began selling as Orphans Treasure Box Books on October 1, 2011. Our first week we made a whopping $45, but we had begun. Friends and strangers brought us books…tons of them. Our inventory grew from hundreds to thousands. God also brought us incredible people…Julie, Joyce, Maribeth, Christine, Patti. They jumped in, sorting and stacking, listing and wrapping…and something amazing happened.

We started making lots of money…loads of it.
Enough to help 17 orphans become sons and daughters. Enough to fill the pantry of a Peruvian orphanage and buy them new mattresses. Enough to buy Christmas presents for orphans in Thailand. Enough to help foster kids in Champaign, Illinois through Project Sunshine. Enough to help build a transitional home for teenagers who aged out of the system in Peru.  Enough to give grants to foster moms so they could do needed repairs around their homes.  Enough to help 30 orphans in South Africa go to school for a year.  Enough to buy back young girls sold into slavery in Cambodia.  Enough to help local struggling moms, living on the edge.

In our opening years…when most businesses struggle…we thrived.  And, by God’s grace, in those early years, we gave away close to $50,000 . Not bad for a few hours a week, working out of a basement and then a big warehouse. The big warehouse was an unexpected surprise.  God gave us quite a gift. WBGL, a beloved Christian radio station, gave us warehouse space…free space…free utilities…a leg up to get started…they incubated us.  And now?  Orphans Treasure Box has opened an outlet store at 826 Pioneer in Champaign.  Loaded with over 11,000 books.  A gorgeous space and a beautiful purpose….supporting orphans and vulnerable kids.  Providing food, shelter, medicine, education, supplies and most of all, Hope.

They need SOMEONE…so much more than stuff. The biggest treasure we can give an orphan is a relationship with God. Knowing Him truly changes your life.

God spoke to me very clearly about Orphans Treasure Box. My son Jonathan had cried out in the night frightened by a bad dream. I curled up next to him as he went back to sleep. After he did, tears started flowing down my face. Thinking of ALL those kids locally and globally who cry out at night, and no one comes. The boy who sleeps in a Peruvian dump. The little girl in Haiti who drinks sewer water to survive. The foster child who feels forgotten because they have been. The Chinese son who was discarded because he had a cleft lip. The American teenager never chosen. They cry in the night, too.

“God,” I said aloud, “if I long to go to each of them, how much more You must long to be with them.” Slammed into my brain was this truth: I am with them. What breaks my heart is they don’t know it.

This is Orphans Treasure Box’s mission. With every pantry we fill, every child we value and love, every teenager we mentor, every adopting family we can support…we are saying God is with you. He has not forgotten. He is with you and for you.

Beth Wendling
Founder, Orphans Treasure Box
Beth and Jonathan