Seven people from Manatee County returned this week following a 14 day mission trip in Kenya.

The philanthropic adventure was part of a larger Bay area organization -- Hearts Afire -- which was co-founded in 2006 by Rhonda and Dr. Joe Pecoraro.

  • Joe and Rhonda Pecoraro co-founded Hearts Afire in 2006
  • The charitable organization takes six mission trips every year
  • They currently in the process of raising $50K in funding for a full-time clinic in Kenya

Hearts Afire takes up to six mission trips around the world every year.

“Each trip costs the ministry around $5,000 to $8,000, or so, just on medication, children’s supplies, the shoes, the bibles," said Dr. Pecoraro. "We gave out 300 bibles [this trip]."

That figure doesn’t include the traveling costs. Each participant is expected to raise those funds on their own.

Six of the 14 days the missionaries are gone are spent working at clinics, serving up to 400 people. Every patient is given vitamins and treated for diseases ranging from malaria to HIV. For those not requiring immediate medical treatment, basic human necessities, including shoes, are given out.

Last year the trip was able to provide 300 children with adjustable shoes designed to grow as they do.

"The smiles of these people, who just have nothing but they're just full of this joy, that’s just unexplainable," said missionary Tony Murfin. "That just really makes you be thankful for the abundance that you have here."

Hearts Afire is currently raising more than $50,000 to build a full-time clinic in Kenya.