The People Behind Bulgarian Child, Inc.

Bulgarian Child, Inc has been in operation since January, 2001. Its purpose is to help meet needs of the thousands of children living in state-run institutions in Bulgaria. Some of these needs are very basic: food, clothing, heating, medicine. Other needs may be more specific: surgery, special needs equipment, supplementary personnel in the homes, training programs, etc.

Judy and Paul Ridgway first arrived in Bulgaria in 1994. They came with their three sons to work in Evangelical churches in the field of music. Bulgaria has been struggling economically since the the fall of Communism. The multitude of needs were soon recognized and the work of the Ridgway family became broader in an effort to meet some of these needs. Judy, a special education teacher with a master's degree in Education of the Multiply Handicapped, became especially mindful of the plight of the children living in institutions. With the help and sponsorship of Ken Avent, Bulgarian Child, Inc., was formed to minister to these children. Judy is president of the organization. Ridgway Ministries, Inc., was formed to enable the Ridgways in other areas of work. You may visit that website at www.ridgwayministries.org. The Ridgways live and work in Bulgaria, making trips to the States each year for speaking engagements and fund-raising for their many projects.

Over the course of its short existence, BCI has not only met many of these needs in more than 40 institutions, but also provided for major remodeling/building projects. This is possible only through the hard work of the individuals involved and the contributions of many..

Bulgarian Assistance:

BCI has a full time assistant/truck driver. Stanimir Chalumov has been working with us since April of 2005. Not only does he maintain the truck and vans, but also manages the warehouse. He delivers humanitarian aid all over Bulgaria. Those of you who have been here on teams know how well he relates to the children and what a great asset he is to our work. He has been greatly involved in helping the youth at Berkovitsa 4 to assemble and install playground equipment at several orphanages.

Andrew Ridgway lives in Sofia and acts as our representative in many situations here, including handling the project partnership we have with Heifer International. He has prepared second-hand computers for distribution here, set-up computer labs and trained both teachers and children in several orphanages. He is also our “tech support” in the office. We are grateful for his help.

We have many wonderful helpers here in Bulgaria: Vladi Raichinov is one of our best translators who has a real heart for working with these children. He worked on the BCI calendar and other promotional materials. We have wonderful Bulgarian young people working as translators with all the teams that come. Other volunteers have helped us unload containers, sort clothing and shoes, and load the truck

Judy Ridgway is the chief administrator and visionary for BCI, organizing and leading volunteer teams, developing special projects, communicating with supporters and donors, etc. Paul Ridgway handles financial transactions and is also involved with the daily workings of the organization.

Stateside Assistance:

As president of BCI, I would like to express public appreciation for just a few of the wonderful people who work tirelessly throughout the year on a volunteer basis.

Board members Chad and MollyLowe (Dallas) function as volunteer treasurers for BCI. They receive donations and provides proper accounting for all donations and disbursement of funds. It is from Chad that you receive acknowledgment of your gifts. He takes care of transferring funds to our Bulgarian accounts and to firms here with which we do business. Thank you, Chad and Molly, for handling these responsibilities so well..

Darrell Ard, also a BCI board member, is our volunteer newsletter editor/publisher. He takes all that I write and manages to squeeze it – and pictures – into a real newsletter. This is a very time-consuming task and Darrell does it with great skill and love. He and his wife Mary Sue then stuff hundreds of newsletters into envelopes. Others sometimes help with the task. Because we use the lower cost postage afforded to Not-for-Profit organizations, the envelopes must be grouped according to zip code. Chad Lowe had been posting them, but now that time-consuming task is done by Jim Niven. The newsletter is our best means of communicating with all of you. It is vital to our ministry. Thank you, Darrell, Mary Sue and Jim!
Other board members are active in organizing donations of goods, services, and finances; organizing volunteer teams; and even in coming to Bulgaria for a few weeks direct assistance. George and Dorothy Hayner have come to Bulgaria for extended stays on several occasions. They have helped with preparing schedules (including hotel room assignments and menus) for volunteer teams; labels for thousands of container items; sorting and boxing ministry items in our storage building, basement, and warehouse; fitting children with shoes, attending meetings with local Bulgarian officials; and even doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, and laundry; etc. They are hard workers, great encouragers, and loving friends.

Bulgarian Child receives 2-4 containers of humanitarian aid each year.

A great deal of effort is put into each of these containers: procuring items for shipment; storing items, preparation of documentation needed for shipment, and loading the containers. We are thankful for the generosity of those who work to prepare the containers and for those who fund the projects. Shipping costs for a 40-foot container are between $6,000 and $7,000.

The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, has filled and sent many containers over the course of the years. Many thanks to The Heights for paying the shipping costs; to Ron Boring and Richardson Regional Medical Center for the donation of valuable equipment; to Darrell Ard for preparing hundreds of computers for shipment; to Darrell Grice and Cookie Slate for the preparation of documents. Cookie also organized the teams to load the containers and has prepared the inventory lists. She has worked with the folks at Buckner Benevolence ( Dallas) to secure thousands of shoes and with Kelly's Kids ( Dallas) to receive thousands of items of beautiful clothing for orphans here.
First Baptist Church, Cabot, Arkansas, has sponsored several containers also. Many thanks go to Bonne Jensen for preparing most of the documentation and to Dennis Hyland for organizing donations and determining placement of the goods on the container. Area hospitals donated equipment and Dreamline Mattress Co. donated custom-made mattresses for orphanages here. Others donated fabric, t-shirts, scarves, etc. Dreamline has also provided free storage of the container items while the shipment is being planned.
Williams Trace Baptist Church of Sugarland, Texas is working on filling and sending its second container. Cynthia Jacobus has found websites for the auctioning of school furnishings. She has purchased an amazing number of much needed items. The whole church has provided backpacks, filled with clothing and gift items, for more than 300 children. In 2007, this church sent their first container and a team to deliver the items to the orphanages here.

First Baptist Church, Morristown, Tennessee has also sent a container. Some of the items were of a medical nature and other items were specifically for the children. Tom Owen carried most of the responsibility for the organization of the container preparation. An adult Sunday School class at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta Georgia provided major funding to purchase items and transportation expenses,

BCI is grateful for the many people who give of their time, talent, and money to impact children in Bulgaria. Thank you.