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Perry, Georgia resident Chris Johnson has authored several books — including collections of his award-winning newspaper humor columns, nonfiction, and novels for adults and young readers.

His latest book, though, is something different — a collection of 28 profiles of people and programs making a positive difference in the world. “Hope in Action!” features reports he compiled to support the efforts of the Indianapolis-based People Helping People Network, a nonprofit that works primarily in El Salvador and has been one of the catalysts behind the country’s remarkable recent transformation.

Among the people featured are a former ambassador to El Salvador, a retired general leading relief missions in Ukraine and Afghanistan, former head of the U.N. World Food Programme, doctors, faith leaders, cancer survivors and more.

Johnson notes that 100 percent of the proceeds from this book that is now on sale through Amazon.com go directly to The People Helping People Network, phpnetwork.org.

“People Helping People uses a holistic charitable approach that focuses on four key areas — housing, hunger relief, healthcare and education — to uplift and empower families and communities,” Johnson said. “And the country of El Salvador has been the main proving ground. I’ve met countless Salvadorans whose whole lives have been completely transformed.”

As Vice President of Communications for The Fuller Center for Housing, a partner of The People Helping People Network, Johnson has reported from remote villages in Ghana and Nicaragua to poverty-stricken neighborhoods of U.S. cities and communities. His most recent trip in June 2024 took him to tornado-ravaged communities in Kentucky — Dawson Springs and Mayfield, where The Fuller Center remains busy in long-term recovery.

He has twice visited El Salvador with People Helping People and will be returning again this December to document the country’s continued transformation.

“Several years ago, El Salvador was the so-called murder capital of the world,” Johnson said. “Today, it’s the safest country in the Western Hemisphere. On my first trip there, we had armed guards escorting us everywhere. Last year, we didn’t need any, and I was able to walk freely to visit families or just grab a bite to eat.”

Johnson added that many Americans have a lot of misperceptions about the country, including that all Salvadorans long to come to the United States.

“The people who have decent houses and jobs have no interest in leaving home,” he said. “They love El Salvador. It’s a shining example of how the best way to stop illegal immigration is at its source, not at the end of the journey at the border. People who have hope stay home. Hope is far more effective than a wall.”

He said he does not experience much culture shock on his trips to such places as El Salvador, yet it can be a shock returning to the U.S.

“Even in the poorest villages of El Salvador — or Nicaragua or Ghana or most third-world countries, I imagine — the people could not be more friendly and welcoming and generous,” Johnson said. “They’re the kind of people who really deserve the kind of hand-up People Helping People and The Fuller Center provide. They live with joy and gratitude, even if their home is just a flimsy metal shack.

“Too few Americans live that way, and it’s a shame,” he added. “I’m guilty, as well. I come home to an embarrassment of riches — a good home, safe utilities, transportation and infrastructure. I catch myself griping about little inconveniences. We all should be more grateful and spend way less time worrying about what we don’t have.”

You can order “Hope in Action!” from Amazon.com for $15. All proceeds benefit the work of The People Helping People Network.