Russia (MNN) – In Russia, thousands of children are abandoned by their parents every year. According to SOAR International, there were as many as 650,000 registered orphans in 2013, most of whom have living parents that cannot or will not take care of them. It is unknown how many more children are living on the streets. Children who grow up in orphanages often suffer violence and neglect. When they age out of the system between the ages of 14 and 16, they are poorly equipped to take care of themselves. Studies show that only a very small percentage go on to live productive lives.
For these children, even the smallest act of kindness can be life-changing. Through SOAR International’s Stuff a Stocking project, you can not only meet these children’s physical needs, but introduce them to a hope that lasts forever.
“The stockings are $35, and that covers everything that goes into those stockings, which is hygiene items and school supplies and some toys and some snacks,” SOAR’s Joanna Mangione says. “Every stocking includes a Bible, but you can help with sponsoring those Bibles by adding another $5 to your donation and your sponsorship.”
A team from SOAR will then deliver those stockings in time for Christmas, celebrated on January 7 in Russia. The team will also hold a day camp for children.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved as well. For about $3,400, you can accompany the SOAR team to Russia to help host the day camp and distribute stockings among children in the orphanages. You can fill out an application here.
SOAR also needs help sewing the approximately 2,500 stockings that will be distributed. You can contact SOAR for more details here.
If sewing or attending a trip aren’t options for you, you can always choose to sponsor a stocking. Find out how here.
You can even include a personal note for the children.
“You also have an opportunity to write a letter to the child, so when they receive the stocking they also get a letter from you and they get to hear from the person who provided what’s in their stocking, which they absolutely love,” Mangione says. “Kids get really excited when they get to see a letter, and they come up to you, and you get to translate it for them.
“Then they have a little bit of time where they get to write a short thank-you or a note right back to you, and then we take those back with us and we send them on to you so that you get to see the note from the child that received the stocking that you sponsored.”
The deadline for sponsoring a stocking is December 25. Until then, Mangione asks that you keep the SOAR team and the children they’ll be serving in your prayers.
“Be praying for the team that will be coming, that God would bring the team that we need for this trip,” Mangione says. “Pray for the sponsorships, that we would get all the sponsorships that we need, and then pray for each child who will receive these stockings, that God would be preparing their hearts right now.
“These kids will receive their own Bible. They will get the Word of God in their hands. They will also hear the Gospel, and so just be praying for their hearts to be softened and ready and willing to hear the Word.”