Diana and Joe Lorber don’t take themselves too seriously, even though they tend to lead a seriously busy life. The long-time High Point residents moved into River Landing in November of 2018, and quickly begin enjoying the energy, activities and people in the community.
“We jumped right in,” says Diana, adding with a laugh, “maybe too much!”
Then again, the energetic couple is used to having a full plate. In addition to Joe’s long career as a sales engineer at Hewlett-Packard, and Diana’s career teaching elementary school and raising the kids, the Lorbers owned, managed and maintained various rental houses for over 30 years. But these endeavors didn’t keep them from getting involved in their community and making an impact in lives halfway around the world.
Joe retired in his 50s from HP and began using his knowledge of computers to help various nonprofits, including building and managing a project database for a camp in Kentucky. Diana served on the board for Mental Health Associates, including a term as the board’s president, as well as roles with Habitat for Humanity of High Point.
However, the two found a lifelong passion in a town nestled deep in the heart of Kenya.
The Lorbers founded Kenya Partner Ministries after getting involved in a charity project through their church and taking a trip to Kenya to see firsthand what life was like in the town of Maua. Working with Maua Methodist Hospital, they began a program to ship tons of rice and other food to the community through a program they called Meals for Learning.
“At one point, we had our own trucks and even a forklift for loading pallets of rice and such onto the trucks,” Diana says. “It took a lot to get it where it needed to go.”
They also developed a program to package and ship medication to treat intestinal parasites for children living in Maua. The efforts of Joe and Diana helped ensure that thousands of Kenyan children were able to get the nutrition they needed in order to focus on their education.
The medication, which came in the form of chewy gummy-worms, “were in cases stacked up all over our house,” explains Diana. “For a $1 donation, you could treat seven children in Maua.”
Since that first trip back in 1984, the Lorbers have been back to Kenya several times, taking fellow church members and supporters with them to share in the experience. Eventually, though, making sure the food and supplies from the U.S. made it to their intended recipients became increasingly difficult.
“We were running full steam ahead up to about six years ago,” says Diana.
Now Joe and Diana focus their efforts to support projects already on the ground in Kenya on a personal level. “Our last trip there was a year and a half ago,” says Diana. “And we’re hoping to go back again.”
Until then, they have plenty to do. Both still volunteer for Mobile Meals that deliver meals in the High Point area. And both are enjoying all that their new home has to offer, especially the people.
“The people are wonderful,” says Joe. “Easy to get to know… just like a bunch of friends you haven’t seen in a while that you just sit down and start talking to.”