International (MNN) — Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, too.
"As you think of the holidays, it's very natural for us to begin to think about children," says Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network.
For kids in the West, Christmas conjures images of presents and reindeer and holiday feasts. But it's a different scenario for kids supported through IN Network's child sponsorship program. Gaining a sponsor is often the child's only hope of leaving an impoverished life.
"It helps break the chains of poverty and gives those children a chance at a better life–a chance to go beyond where they are today," Rodeheaver explains.
He says sponsored children get a warm meal every day at school, usually their only meal for the day. On Christmas Break, they return home to their families and are often the last ones to eat. Many experience severe hunger as a result.
"Our staff thought, 'Wow, what if we could impact that and provide a food basket for all the children in our work; wouldn't that make a difference?'" states Rodeheaver.
He's referring to IN Network's Christmas Family Food Baskets. These baskets contain enough food to sustain a family through December 25 and beyond.
"It will help them get through the whole Christmas period, and there will be a celebration in those homes like they've never had before," says Rodeheaver. "Those children will come back to school really rejoicing because they know that somebody not only cared to send them to school, but cared to provide food for their family.
"At the end of the day, these families have very little. To give them
this kind of a Christmas present is…life-changing, and so important."
"We can do so much for so little," Rodeheaver adds. "$50 can feed an entire family for the entire Christmas season."
Rodeheaver says they hope to feed every single child–even kids without a sponsor.
"We can't give a food basket to just the sponsored kids," said Rodeheaver. "All those children in that school need to get a food basket, in all the schools that we serve.
"That's why this is such a great challenge. We need other people's help to make sure that every child in every classroom gets the help they need."
You don't have to be involved in child sponsorship to help out. You just need a caring heart.
"We would encourage those who aren't to do this in support of children all across the International Needs Network," he explains. "There are many more children…than what our current number of sponsors can adequately handle."
Click here to make sure no child wakes up hungry on Christmas Day.
In the midst of poverty and despair, and with the celebration of Christ's birth around the corner, pray that sponsored kids and IN Network Staff will be reminded "through the gifts of others, but also through the continuous sharing of the Gospel, that Jesus does love them and that they too can experience His freedom, and they can discover a whole new world through getting an education."