Gary VanDyke, Food for Orphans' founder and visionary, began helping orphans in 1999. As the father of five, Gary has always had a heart for the needs of children. But in 1999, he was invited by a large chidren's charity to visit several children's projects in Lima, Peru. Gary says that "To watch the pain of these children's suffering was impossible for me to bear. My life was changed forever."
Professionally, Gary had a long career in radio and television as a show host, production specialist, voice artist, writer, producer, and news anchor. But it was his experiences during that mission trip to the slums of Lima, Peru that shaped his future. He saw evidence of true poverty and used his platform in radio as a way to help the children. Later while working for a child and orphan advocacy ministry, Gary visited international projects, evaluated their needs, helped to train the staff, and communicated the children's needs to people back home. As he visited more and more orphans, Gary was touched by their helplessness and innocence. He was constantly wounded by the poor health and physical condition of the orphans he met. When asked what their biggest challenge was, orphan caregivers repeatedly said "The lack of food." Gary knew that he could not continue to stand immobile while orphans starved. Knowing that something had to be done, he began to create an organization that would address the orphans most pressing and urgent need … food.