International (MNN) — It may make you snicker. It may make you blush. But one of the biggest needs for orphans right now is…underwear.
Vulnerable children across the globe are in need of shoes, hygiene items, clean water, homes and so much more, but Tiffany Taylor Wines with Orphan Outreach says one of the most significant needs is for undergarments.
"One of the most urgent needs for the children we work with around the world is new underwear and socks," confirms Wines. "It's something that, yes, can definitely cause a giggle, and it's something we all take for granted. But for orphan children and vulnerable children around the world, it's something they urgently need."
The need is severe, but the solution is pretty simple. Wines point out that for less than $10, most people can usually buy about nine pairs of underwear or socks. Since children's underwear, in particular, are usually sold in bulk, buying just one pack can equip several kids.
Instead of blushing at the idea of buying panties for someone, Orphan Outreach has embraced the challenge. The ministry has gone as far as to create a project coinciding with the popular Indianapolis-based Indy 500 race: the Undie 500.
The Undie 500 has provided a fun way for churches and radio stations to host underwear and sock drives. Wines says one church has gotten so into the challenge that they've placed clothes hampers in their foyer for donations and hung up clothes lines holding up "undies."
Perhaps the strangest–and most wonderful–thing about the whole project is the way it will be used to spread the Gospel.
"The big thing for us with humanitarian aid is that it just literally gives us an open door," explains Wines. "After you meet people where their need is, they're excited to hear about the Gospel. And Jesus: that's exactly what he did in the Bible–he met people's needs, and then he told a story."
Through this project, underwear will actually serve as a conduit to reach people with the Gospel.
The Undie 500 has been gearing up throughout May, and will come to a close at the end of the month. Wines says there is a constant need for underwear and socks though, so groups are welcome to keep on giving past the date.
For now, those who wish to participate can find a drive near them, or make a donation directly to Orphan Outreach to purchase the underclothes. Click here to search for drop off spots near you, or click here to give directly to Orphan Outreach via credit card.