Orphan crisis calls for more than good intentions

By October 26, 2012

USA (MNN) — Good intentions are not enough to answer the growing orphan crisis around the world.

Between war, disease, and disaster, there are more than 140 million orphans around the world. Whole generations of adults are gone due to the calamity of HIV/AIDs, unrest, and poverty, and the plight of their surviving family is unfamiliar and largely unanswered.

That's why Orphan's Heart and Florida Baptist Children's Homes launched their second annual 40 Days for the Fatherless campaign. Dr. Jerry Haag, president of Florida Baptist Children's Homes and Orphan's Heart, explains: "What we're trying to do is focus everyone's thoughts, their attentions, and even actions to help the 140 million orphans around the world." It concludes on Sunday, November 6: Orphan Sunday.

For Orphan's Heart, there's always an action point tied in with the 40 Days for the Fatherless campaign. These children are the most vulnerable population. They suffer disproportionately from severe poverty, malnutrition, disease, and physical and emotional abuse.

For the last couple of years, the focus has been a diaper drive, says Haag. "Last year we raised 230,000  diapers to be distributed domestically and also in developing countries. Our goal this year is 300,000 diapers." Haag wants to think even bigger, though. "I really don't see why, as the body of Christ across the nation, we couldn't generate more than one million diapers to be able to distribute to these children that desperately need them."

Why diapers? One year, Haag was visiting their partner in Guatemala, and he held a baby. "They just had a shirt that was wrapped around the [baby's] bottom side, tied together with a rope at the top. As uncomfortable as it became for me to hold that child, it was even more uncomfortable for that little baby as that baby tried to sleep at night, as that baby tried to go throughout the day just constantly wet."

Then, think on this: the ministry goes through about 30,000 diapers a month through the domestic and international childcare programs of Orphan's Heart. Health concerns aside, the poverty in the developing nations also means cloth diapers aren't much of an option for the caregivers, either. Disposable diapers were not really feasible due to cost. Haag says, "Here's an opportunity for us to make a child's life better–make their everyday life better through the gift of diapers." They can use all sizes of diapers, but the greatest need is for Size 1-2 (International) and Size 3-6 (Domestic).

There are several ways to help:
1) You can do a diaper drive and collect diapers from church, Sunday school, or as a class project, and send them.
2) You can donate through the Web site. Orphan's Heart can buy diapers in bulk, which means they can purchase a box of 40 diapers for $9.00, and a box of 300 diapers for $40.
3) You can drop diaper donations off at various locations connected to Florida Baptist Children's Home/Orphan's Heart.
4) You can pray.

But beyond supplying diapers, how can Orphan's Heart share their HEART for the children? Haag says, "When you do donate diapers or make a donation at our Web site (orphansheart.org), you'll be entered to win a mission trip to a malnutrition center in Guatemala to physically be able to deliver the diapers that we're collecting today."

Haag says that last thought is tied closely in to the last action point he mentioned: prayer. "One of the best ways [to help] is praying over those diapers as they're gathered; praying for the little one that's going to be wrapped around the little Velcro piece of disposable diaper: pray for their life, pray for their health, and then pray for them to come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior."

Learn more about Orphan's Heart and the 40 Days for the Fatherless Campaign online at OrphansHeart.org or 40DaysfortheFatherless.org.

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