Basketball bake sale assists orphanage

By Sara Tirrito
Staff Writer

Sitting on a 500-acre plot of land that overlooks the Nile River in Uganda is an orphanage housing more than 50 children, about half of whom lost their parents to the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group that has terrorized civilians in various regions of Africa for years.

The orphanage, Restoration Gateway, was begun by Baylor alumni Tim and Janice McCall, who moved to Uganda in 2007. It officially opened in June.

On Dec. 11, there will be a bake sale in Waco to benefit the orphanage.

The bake sale, hosted by the Baylor men’s basketball coaches’ wives, will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Academy for Creative Learning at 9021 Chapel Road.

Traditionally, the wives choose a cause to support each year. This year, the orphanage was brought to the attention of the wives by Karen Craig, administrative assistant for men’s basketball.

Wendy Mills, wife of men’s basketball assistant coach Paul Mills, said the wives were glad to be able to help raise funds for the orphanage.

“They’re children in need,” Mills said. “They’re children without moms and dads to take care of them and love them, and all of us are so blessed that when someone comes and asks you to help children in need, it’s just so easy to say yes to that.”

Members of the men’s basketball team will also make appearances at the bake sale to help draw in support.

Timothy Maloney, director of operations for the men’s basketball team, said he believes involving the team in the bake sale will be an experience that not only allows them to help others but also ends up being a blessing to the team members themselves.

“Really the basketball team is not just a group of guys that’s busy on the basketball court trying to win a national championship, but really it’s a group of kids that are being educated and being mentored and a situation like this opportunity-wise is really one that can help them grow,” Maloney said. “As enjoyable as it might be to have our guys go because people will appreciate them being there, by doing this I also think that our guys become blessed because they will really touch people’s lives that they may never see.”

The goal is for the bake sale to raise at least $1,000, Craig said.

“The players and the wives, they just all want to just help [the orphanage] in any way that they can,” Craig said, “and this, it seems like a small thing, but what to us seems like a small amount is just a huge amount.”

The money raised at the bake sale will be used to buy clothing, seed for garden plots and school materials for the children living in the orphanage.

“We have just started in June with these kids and they came basically with the rags on their back literally,” Tim McCall said, “so we’re trying to get them all properly clothed, and [get them] shoes and that kind of thing.”

Tim McCall said he and his wife are thankful to the basketball coaches’ wives for holding the bake sale to support the orphanage.

“These kids are just amazing and any way that they can be blessed is a blessing to us,” Tim McCall said. “We’re grateful to the basketball wives’ desire to benefit them, to bless them.”

Though the orphanage opened in June, it will not be completed for about three more years.

When construction is finished, there will be 35 homes on site that can house eight orphans each, along with a Ugandan mother to care for them. Other buildings on site will include a pastor’s retreat, a children’s spiritual formation center, a tabernacle and conference center, a school, a Bible training center, an agriculture and fishery demonstration project and a resort, Janice McCall said. Ground has also already been broken for a hospital dental center, she said.