In the 1980’s Arthur began volunteering to help connect organizations that served the El Paso, Texas, community. He did this by getting to know what they were doing and finding out what they needed. He would then act as a go-between for these groups, collecting items that one group may not need and giving it to another group that did need it.
In 2002 Art and Becky took a leap of faith. They sold their home and moved to Art’s home town of Mercer, PA. They knew that God had something more for them to do. In the fall of 2002 Joyce Hart invited Becky to a women’s retreat that Bethany Presbyterian Church was hosting. The theme was missions. Becky spoke of the needs in Mexico along the El Paso and Cd. Juarez border. The ladies responded, and by December Art and Becky were returning to El Paso with an open 16-foot trailer full of household goods, school supplies, clothing, toys and an assortment of other items. Root International was born. Root is a faith-based, humanitarian organization. The name comes from two verses in the Bible:
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
In 2005 Root International received its 501(c)(3) status. From its inception Root made the decision that they were going to help local organizations as well as international ones. It began by giving to Mexico, but soon it was obvious that Root could not ignore the needs of the people in its own country. Mercer, PA, is Root’s home base, and they began donating to local organizations. That soon spread to the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virgina. root International has an office in El Paso, Texas, where they donate food and material items to local organizations.
In 2004 Karen & Jim Bennington joined Root International to help them extend their work to the Navajo Reservation. The Benningtons had already been working for several years in Kayenta, Arizona through their church, Bethany Presbyterian Church. It was through their efforts that Root was able to make contact with several groups, including Tuba City Head Start. The Benningtons are instrumental in collecting donations as far away as Florida and in speaking at churches and civic organizations about Root International.
Becky was born and raised in El Paso and is of Hispanic descent. Her grandparents were born in Mexico. Growing up along the border, she was well aware of the poverty in Mexico. It was certain that Root could not ignore the needs of the people there. God has called Root International to work and become part of the city of Juarez. Since 2002 Root founded two non-profit organizations in Mexico, the first one being De Mano a Mano A.C. and the second being Root International for Mexico A.C. Root is presently in the process of forming a foundation to serve these organizations more effectively. Over the past six years Root International has crossed more than 400,000 pounds of food into Mexico in semi-trailers. Tons of clothing and household items have also been donated.
It was four years ago that Root partnered with an organization called All About the Children’s Needs. Juliana and her husband Dan are the founders. Juliana was born in Ghana. She and her husband collect donations and transport them in a cargo container to Ghana. Root donates household goods, clothing, bedding and many other items for Ghana.
Today Root International continues bringing together community organizations, ministries and churches to benefit all.