The people of Orphans Treasure Box
Beth Wendling, Founder
I am from the Collinsville/Belleville area in Illinois and moved to Champaign because I had fallen in love with and married my husband Michael. My former worlds include being a professor, a Dean of Students, a licensed counseling therapist and a published writer (mainly writing for magazines and periodicals) and I lived in North Carolina and New York before moving back to the midwest. Michael and I live in Champaign with our spirited son Jonathan and our equally spirited Border Collie Belle. We attend Twin City Bible Church.
My mother was an orphan and my father was an abused child. They found Christ at an early age in life and shared with me over and over again how He alone made the True difference in their lives. Food, clothing, medicine, education, etc. these are all needed and wonderful things but only God can mend a broken heart, a broken life. (Click here to listen to Beth share her mother’s testimony of finding Christ as an orphan).
You can read my story about starting Orphans Treasure Box here.
Barbra King, Advocate/Advisor
I am a lifelong resident of this community, and graduated from the U of I with a degree in English and Business Communications. I’ve been a stay at home mom and homeschool teacher for many years. My husband and I have eight children, some by birth and some by adoption. My husband is the carepoint coordinator for Ludlati Carepoint in Swaziland, that serves, mentors, and disciples orphaned and at risk children.
I started working at Orphans Treasure Box in September 2013 doing sorting and listing of book donations. I helped set up the retail outlet, and have both volunteered and worked in the factory portion of OTB, processing donations and coordinating volunteers.
I love being a part of a team of volunteers and staff that serves vulnerable kids and orphans. Things at OTB are always growing and changing. It’s an exciting place to serve. Orphans Treasure Box brings together two of my favorites…books and serving!
Ann Kirkland, Online Store
I’ve been married to Marc for 19 years and counting. We have three kiddos: Benjamin, Mathias, and Kaylee. I like to read, do crafting things, run and play games with my family. I volunteer at my kids’ school when I can and I volunteer with Feeding Our Kids.
I started at Orphans Treasure Box in June 2013, after Beth asked me for a 2nd time to come join the team. Although I felt the timing was crazy because of other commitments, I felt like God was telling me yes. And when God says “do this”, I have to say yes! I had no idea at the time how things would grow. It has been amazing to watch God continue to work through this ministry and to hear the stories about children and families that we have been able to help.
There are many things that I love about Orphans Treasure Box. But I think what stands out to me is that God brings together those who are willing to listen to His call and have a heart to love and serve. I love knowing that each book that we send out is helping to support/feed/clothe children around the world and thus, giving tangibility to God’s love. We sell books but we are here to show love to God’s children that others may not see as lovable.
Julie McClure, Promotions
I came to Champaign-Urbana as a student at the U of I, and have made it my permanent home! I live with my husband Andy, kids Addie and Devan, a cat and a rabbit. I’m a former elementary school teacher and stay at home mom.
I came to Orphans Treasure Box in 2014, and started managing the process of sorting and listing donations. As we’ve continued to grow, I’ve shifted into the role of promotions manager, and I’ve devoted my time and energy to making Orphans Treasure Box a familiar name in the community.
I believe God put Orphans Treasure Box in my path. Doing promotions for a non profit organization dedicated to helping orphans was not on my radar at all, but I know that I’m in the exact place He wants me to be. I love being a part of a ministry that is growing, and I feel like by working here I am a small part of God’s plan for helping these kids and families. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Orphans Treasure Box!
Elisabeth Paulus, Retail Outlet
I moved to the C-U area after my father retired from the U.S. Army when I was 8. I currently live in Champaign with my sister, Erica, and my cat, Pussyfoot.
I also work at The Urbana Free Library as a circulation clerk and information paraprofessional. Needless to say, I love books! I was drawn to OTB when we were still operating out of WBGL. I heard an ad on the radio asking for volunteers to help with a huge book sale, and I signed up!
I volunteered other places over the next year, and returned to OTB after we opened the outlet in April 2014. I had just returned from a volunteer trip to Haiti and had a renewed passion for orphans from my experiences there. God has placed victims of human trafficking as the greatest mission on my heart. That passion coupled with my knowledge of and experience with books made OTB a perfect fit for me!
Mary Richardson, Inventory
I’ve been a Christian since childhood, followed by some time wandering in the wilderness, and renewed my commitment to Christ in 2009 through the outreach program called Walk To Emmaus. That renewal was followed by finishing a Bachelors Degree in May 2015 at Lincoln Christian University in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis on Urban Ministries. I came to Champaign and joined the Case Management staff at Restoration Urban Ministries.
Almost immediately Beth Wendling contacted Restoration to find a woman with computer skills to fill a staff need at Orphans Treasure Box in the on-line listing area. It was a match. Beth and I both see this as the beginning of a relationship between the two organizations and potential starter jobs for resume building for those folks needing a re-start.
I love being a part of a group of people with Christian values, working together, to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus in the world. It’s a true blessing to work here.
Rachel Tyson, Finances
I am a mom with 2 kids. I moved to Champaign 13 years ago when my husband got job at the U of I.
After teaching high school math for 20 years I was looking to change my job, and a friend knew that OTB was looking for a bookkeeper. Initially it was just an encouragement that there would be opportunities if I left teaching, but now I’m thrilled to be serving kids in a new way.
So thankful for a job that serves kids, uses my math skills, and has so much room for growth and change. Being around books every day is a little dangerous, but so far I haven’t brought too many home with me! I really appreciate being part of a Christian organization that puts God at the center.