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Rwandan Man Gets Opportunity of a Lifetime in Green Bay

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Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Rwandan Man Gets Opportunity of a Lifetime in Green Bay

By Stacy Engebretson. CREATED Aug 20, 2014

Suamico, WI -- J.R. Schoenfeld creates a culinary experience for his customers at Chives Restaurant and the Bread Bank, but it was a humanitarian trip to feed the poor in Rwanda that changed his life.  

"I fell in love with the country and the people and saw a lot of need," he said. 

Three-and-a-half years ago, Schoenfeld started the Seven Loaves Project in the village of Kibeho.

"No electricity, hardly any running water and we built a wood fired bakery that now employs 25 people and feeds 6,000 school kids."

Schoenfeld became close with one of his workers who escaped the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but his parents were among the 800,000 people killed.

"John, my employee, was 13-years-old and he took his brothers and sisters who were 5 and under and lived in the jungles of Congo," he explained. 

John worked to put his brother, Marc Minani, and six other siblings through school. Now, Schoenfeld is bringing Marc to Green Bay to further his education at UWGB.

"We need to supply everything from a laptop to clothing to things he needs for living." 

Schoenfeld hopes the community will answer the call for help.

"Five dollars, 10 dollars. It doesn't matter. Anything will help."

The donations will allow Marc to earn his master's degree in agriculture management.

"I just think it's amazing that he gets to come here and we get to learn from him. He gets to finish out his masters and be a part of our family here," said Jessica Morse, Bread Bank employee and Schoenfeld's stepdaughter. 

Schoenfeld made a deal with Marc. He would help with his schooling, but Marc would have to return to Africa in a couple years.

"Hopefully, we can give him enough worldliness, enough education, that he can bring this lifestyle back with him and spread it and bring it to more people."

Schoenfeld is confident that Marc will make a big difference in the country he has come to love like his own. 

Click here for more information on how to help Marc and the Seven Loaves Project.