International (MNN) — Merry Christmas! It's too early for those words, right? After all, October is usually equated with Halloween and phrases like "Trick or Treat!"
Not for Rody Rodeheaver and I.N. Network USA.
"For us, ['Merry Christmas' is] a very important couple of words because we work with thousands of children in our sponsorship program," says Rodeheaver.
"In our schools–in Ghana, in Uganda, in Colombia, wherever they are, the children who come to school get a warm meal."
In many places, it's the only warm and complete meal the child gets all day. While believers celebrate Christ's birth at Christmastime, the holiday also brings a problem.
"When Christmas Break comes, those children aren't coming to school," Rodeheaver explains, "and so they're not having access to that meal."
But, there's a solution. I.N. Network's Christmas Food for Families fund sends food baskets to sponsored children and their families around the world. Last year, I.N. Network was able to feed more than 2,000 hungry families through the project.
"That is the open door for bringing the joy of Christmas and the importance of good nutrition to these children at a very critical time," says Rodeheaver.
"We're hoping that October 2013 will be just a terrific month, where people use help us build that fund to get [the baskets] overseas."
Food baskets from I.N. Network, delivered by in-country staff, bring more than Christmas meals to sponsored children and their families. They bring Gospel opportunities.
"Some [workers] will put a little Christmas message in there with the story of the Gospel," says Rodeheaver. "Some will spend time sharing the Gospel when they're with these families.
"Some will use this as an invitation to invite these families back to a Christmas celebration."
Want to feed an entire family for Christmas this year? Get connected here.
"$50 a kid for Christmas feeds their whole family," says Rodeheaver. "What an exciting opportunity to make a difference!"