USA (MNN) — With more than 150 million orphans around the world waiting to be placed with a forever family, Bethany Christian Services, the nation's premier family preservation agency, has announced the introduction of the "One Family" campaign partnering U.S. cities with cities abroad.
After careful consideration, the agency has selected Knoxville to launch the "One Family" campaign, partnering Tennessee's third-largest city with Addis Ababa in Ethiopia as a result of the Knoxville community's rich history of compassion and commitment to human welfare.
The primary objective of "One Family" is to provide critical support to communities in need around the world in the development of a sustainable orphan care system to ensure that children who have lost one or both parents to war, AIDS, disease, abandonment, poverty or natural disaster, receive the love and nurturing they require.
"We are grateful to the thousands of families, churches, and businesses that have stepped up across the United States to provide support to Bethany Christian Services in our efforts to help innocent children around the world," said Bill Blacquiere, Bethany president. "The staggering number of children in need across the globe illustrates the urgency in shifting to a 'one family' mindset. Only by working together will we be able to make the necessary changes required to have a long-term impact on the global orphan crisis."
Now through June, the Knoxville Bethany Christian Services branch will work closely with local organizations, such as churches and schools, as well as businesses, to develop partnerships to assist in funding vital care efforts in Addis Ababa. As a key part of the "One Family" initiative, Bethany has secured commitments from Mike Hammond of WIVK radio, and Jon Tyner, a Worship Pastor at Sevier Heights Baptist Church and adoptive father, to participate in a once in-a-lifetime trip to Ethiopia to report on the challenges the country faces in supporting the more than 150,000 children who live on the streets of Addis Ababa and how Bethany is striving to meet those needs.
"One Family" efforts in East Tennessee will culminate the week of June 3-8 with a series of fundraising events hosted by local church and community partners. During these events, Bethany will seek 1,000 "sponsors" for children and families in Addis Ababa. Sponsorships will help meet the individualized needs of a child or family, from food and shelter to school fees and job training and are $30/month.
Moving forward, the "One Family" campaign will be introduced to targeted cities across the country. In the fall, Bethany will launch the initiative in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the agency's corporate headquarters are located.
For more information on the "One Family" campaign or to find out how you can support the program, please visit www.bethanyonefamily.org/knoxville, or call 865.588.5283.