After-school program for poor children in danger of closing

By March 22, 2011

Latvia (MNN) — Latvia was not spared the financial crisis that has swept the globe. Although sources say the economic situation is beginning to stabilize for Latvia, it could be too late for one ministry to stay alive.

The Day Center in Liepaja, Latvia, has been a solace for impoverished children for years. The center offers tutoring, a hot meal, emotional support, Bible study and spiritual care. More than 50 children attend the after-school center on a daily basis, most of whom receive their only meal for the day at the center. Most children come from broken, poor families.

Amy Norton with Orphan Outreach says the care provided by Russian believers at the Day Center is vital for the well-being of the students there. "They so need that spiritual support and help and prayer, knowing that they have someone to turn to with these difficult issues, knowing that the Lord loves them no matter how difficult their life gets and their situations may be. That's just crucial," says Norton.

The effects of the country's financial crisis on the Day Center have been significant. Orphan Outreach began praying about supporting the Center in January, until they realized just how desperate the situation is.

"[Without support], they'll have to close this ministry. The children will have no place to go. …So these children will go hungry and not have that support they so desperately need. The kids are there until about six o'clock in the evening, and it is really the only place they have to go. Before this ministry started, these children were literally on the street, and that's where they'll have to go back to," Norton explains. "It obviously will be a tragedy for them to be back in that situation with no support and no food and no help for them for education."

Since coming to such an urgent understanding, Orphan Outreach has toiled over a child sponsorship program to put into motion. The ministry has been able to provide opportunities for people to support these at-risk children for $36 per month to keep kids from ending up back on the streets, where desperation could lead to a variety of dangers.

Currently, the Day Center is running on a month-to-month basis, never certain if funds will come in to provide for the children for the next month. Day Center staff have been working with no pay, just a love for the Lord and for children to see Him. Year-long sponsorship commitments will allow this faithful staff to breathe a sigh of relief when, at least for one year, no kids will go hungry.

Each sponsorship is a year-long commitment of $36 per month. To sponsor one of these desperate children in this pressing situation, click on this link.

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