For years, I heard Sally Struthers and other celebrities speak about the suffering children in other countries. For only a few cents a day I could sponsor a child and help ensure that he or she was fed a nourishing meal. I will admit that the images of these children were tough to watch and they definitely tugged at the heart-strings. I must also admit that these commercials and asks for help were extremely frustrating. I could never understand why we spend so much time as individuals, churches, communities, and a country helping other nations when we have many here in our country who are suffering as well. I have carried these thoughts and feelings into my adult life. Millions of Americans are struggling day-to-day to survive. Millions of children in the United States are hungry, homeless, and/or abused. I have always asked why we aren’t doing more for them. Impact 52 has taught me a lot of things about myself and my short-sided views. At times it is as if we live in a glass box only seeing what is directly around us. When you step out of that area you get a true view of the unknown and a different perspective of the world. I can attest to it after spending time with Forgotten Children Worldwide.
I was introduced to Forgotten Children Worldwide at a recent speaking engagement and was intrigued to learn more. I visited the headquarters in Bluffton, Indiana and spent some time with the Jeremy Rodgers, President and COO. He shared with me the organization’s mission to “rescue abandoned and forgotten children as though they were our own.” We talked about the vision, the need, and the suffering. Photos hang in the hallways and offices of the headquarters that touch the inner parts of your soul. They are eye-opening, mind-boggling, and heart-breaking. Forgotten Children Worldwide reaches out and assists orphans across the world and it has done so for the last twelve years. There are 163 million orphans and vulnerable children in the world. Children who lack the love of a parent, a decent meal, proper clothing, or a pair of shoes. Children who battle disease without proper medical care or spiritual guidance. Children who become victims of human trafficking and the sex trade. 8 and 9-year-old girls are sold to pimps and used to serve as prostitutes. Middle-age men who are bored with the Red Light district will pay top dollar for this experience. When you hear these stories you die inside. As a man, a parent, and a human being, I had to act. I had to get involved. I learned that day that my children are the minority. They are blessed to have so many things that they, and I, take for granted each and every day. We must always remember this and find ways to pay it forward.
Forgotten Children Worldwide offers volunteers many ways to get involved. You can sponsor a child for less than a dollar a day, become an advocate, or participate in a special event. We spent a few hours in the clothing ministry helping to sort and pack clothing . Donations of clothing are collected, sorted, and packed for orphans in India and the Ukraine. 20,000 pound shipments of clothing are shipped a couple of times per year. The volunteer experience was family friendly and easy. The packing center is located in the headquarters which gave the family the opportunity to see the photos and read the stories of the children. We all were inspired and plan to help out again in the future.
I am embarrassed when I think about my prior beliefs to helping those outside of our country. I obviously had never taken time to step outside of my box and see the real world. We, as a society and as Americans, cannot accept knowing that others live this way. I think back to devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The news footage featured the images of those living outside on the sidewalks. People were hungry, without a home, and dying on streets in our country. It was all due to a catastrophic event. Now imagine a child dealing with that every day of his life. It cannot happen. There is a need that exists and we all must act to make a difference. No child, fatherless or not, should ever be forgotten. Let’s all do our part to ensure it doesn’t happen. Please visit www.forgottenchildren.org to learn more about how you can help.