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A Legacy of Love - the Paula Hayes Dining Hall and Community Center
by Christine Bolaños
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018
She fell in love with Bungoma, Kenya, and the children of Madeleine School years ago. And now the legacy of Paula Hayes love will live on at the school which serves more than 250 children and their families.

The Paula Hayes Dining Hall and Community Center is now being built on the school property. This new building will provide food and shelter to both the students and the community. Orphan Outreach has been a ministry partner of Madeleine School since 2012, providing support for the physical, spiritual, emotional, and educational needs of the children. In early 2016, a new kitchen was added to the campus, and last fall a medical clinic was added.


“Paula had a very special place in her heart for Africa,” said Amy Norton, Director of Programs for Orphan Outreach. “The dining hall is a perfect way to honor her.”

Paula was a founder of Orphan Outreach. She left the corporate world to serve orphans and vulnerable children as Director of Administrative Services. She loved to invest directly in the lives of the children on short-term mission trips, and always returned to the office with stories of lives being changed.

In fact, it was Paula who insisted Amy would love Madeleine School once she visited it, and Amy says she couldn’t have been more correct.


“The over 200 children who attend school there are fed two meals a day, which is a tremendous blessing,” shares Amy. “Unfortunately, the only place for them to eat their meals is outside sitting on the ground. Sudden rainstorms create even more challenges for the children. This dining hall is truly a gift from God.”

The dining hall will also serve the community at large, and with a capacity to serve 450 will be the largest space in the area for gatherings and celebrations.

The Paula Hayes Dining Hall and Community Center is a reflection of Paula’s heart for ministry. She felt called from childhood to serve others, and she was thrilled to share her passion in a devotional used by Orphan Outreach mission teams:

“Isn’t that what God calls us to be – HIS GERUNDS! He calls us to -ING our way through this life – sharing helping giving serving – not just once, but over and over again. And it takes each of us, using our God-given gifts, to accomplish all that needs to be done for the glory of our Lord.”


Paula traveled the world with groups large and small, offering her wisdom and an ever-available hug to both first-time participants and those who had journeyed many time before. Her commitment to orphans and vulnerable children was inspiring, and her photos albums were filled with not only the smiles of her children and grandchildren, but also the children she had fallen in love with on mission trips.

“When the children enjoy their meals – and when they gather for worship or for teaching or a community gathering – they’ll all remember the woman who lived her life to serve orphans well,” shares Amy.

Construction is slated for completion by the first of February, and everyone is eager for the building to be dedicated. “It will be the largest meeting place in the whole area, and we look forward to seeing how it’s used to glorify God and serve Bungoma and Madeleine School,” Amy continues.


More than $9,000 in donations was collected in honor of Paula after she passed away suddenly in 2015. Since that time, even more money has been generously contributed to the project. Only $6,200 is needed to fund construction. Tables and chairs are also needed, and Amy says it’s a perfect opportunity for individuals and churches to send their love to Kenya.

“Sponsorship of a table and chairs is only $250,” she says. “Each will be inscribed with the sponsor’s name – a reminder to the children that there are folks who believe in them and are praying for them.”

Tom Wambula Weseka, in-country director for Kenya, is humbled by the tremendous growth that Madeleine School has experienced and the benefits the kitchen and medical clinic have brought to the community. He looks forward to the additional blessings the new dining hall is sure to bring.

“When people of good will come forward and support the school, we are able to make sure that these kids have the facilities needed to help them remain strong and healthy, to push them further in their lives,” he said. “They look forward to living their dreams, their bigger dreams. Some wants to be doctors, they want to be pilots, they want to be teachers and world-changers.”

He believes that the people who invest in the dreams of these children will be blessed by God.

The entire community is actively participating in the building of the Paula Hayes Dining Hall and Community Center. Volunteers join skilled laborers on a daily basis. Women deliver water for concrete while men dig and stack stones.

“We’ve found that there’s a great sense of ownership and pride associated with these buildings for the families whose children get to attend the school,” says Ronne Rock, Marketing Coordinator for Orphan Outreach.

Part of that ownership comes from knowing it will be a huge blessing to their community, Amy adds.

“Paula was in this ministry because she had such a heart for children everywhere. She really, really had a heart for the children and for knowing they were loved. If she was here today, she would want to be right there, helping with the build. We miss her more than words can ever say, and this is our way to really honor her.”

You can be part of the Paula Hayes Dining Hall and Community Center now. Sponsor a table and chairs, or make a donation toward the final stages of construction. Thank you for your generosity!


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