My passport stares forlornly at me from it’s handy travel case.
Melanie, I’m getting dusty. Why are you ignoring me?
I’m going nowhere. This summer, I feel like I’m supposed to stay home. Others are headed to Uganda to love on my sponsored kids for me, and I’m here, dreaming of Uganda every night and waking up to my passport mad at me every morning.
Anybody else wish you could go somewhere but it’s just not your time? It’s hard, watching others head out all backpacked up and ready to rumble. As the summer rolls in and we’re not rolling out, here are five ideas for helping from home.
1. Sponsor a child.
I have 50 kids in our Children’s HopeChest program who still need sponsors. I love this program because it allows our whole family to develop relationships with friends in Uganda. My kids draw pictures for their peers in Adacar, they receive pictures and letters back, and we participate in projects and fundraisers as a community. There are about 300 kids in the program, and we need 50 more sponsors to be able to celebrate that every child has someone rooting for him or her. This has been my passion since 2009. When that last child gets a sponsor, I am going to throw two massive parties. One here and one with the kids in Uganda. Both will need to have chickens and chapatti. And I’m already dreaming of the blog giveaways.
I wrote here about the first one we did with our high school girls at church. Since then, we’ve hosted another shoe-cutting party and both times, we’ve had a blast. Sole Hope walks you through the process, which utilizes materials that you already have lying around your house. So while you’re upcycling, you’re partnering with stitchers in Uganda who take your cut materials and turn them into shoes for children suffering from jiggers in their feet. I love this process, because we get to enter into some seriously awesome work while gabbing with our friends. At one party, we sang show tunes and danced around, and at the other, we had deeper conversations than ever before. As our hands stayed busy, we shared the stories of our lives and it was amazing to get to know each other in a way that couldn’t happen just sitting in a circle and staring at one another. Put a pair of scissors in someone’s hands and she’ll tell you her life story. Love this.
Besides becoming a foster parent, there are so many ways to help kids in foster care. You can become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), mentor a child in foster care, fundraise for your local foster care organizations, and so much more. Our awesome small group leaders found out through our local agency that a girl in foster care needed orthodontia to correct some serious issues. They organized a garage sale and we all pooled our resources to raise money for the work she needed done. After we move, I’m doing this again, and it’s my turn to host it. You are all my witnesses. Now I can’t back out. Someone check with me in August to make sure I’ve done this.
4. Throw a party.
A simple backyard barbecue can bless someone when you call your local food pantry or shelter ahead of time and find out what they need. Have everyone bring the items and drop them off at the shelter after the party. I’ve also done this with gift cards, collecting Target cards to donate to our local organization that rehabilitates girls rescued from sex trafficking. You can also throw a poker or bunko party and have everyone pay a determined amount ($10, $20, or higher). The winner gets a prize and the money is donated to the charity of your choice.
We love visiting children overseas, but how about having the children visit us? This summer, we’re hosting an eight-year-old from an orphanage in Eastern Europe, as well as her chaperone. We are so excited to welcome these visitors into our home and love on this sweet child. Hosting helps shine a spotlight on older children who might otherwise be overlooked, simply because of their age. We hosted a fourteen-year-old at Christmas, and we’re excited to host again this summer. The airport scene is precious, with the kids passing through customs to encounter an airport lobby filled with signs with their names on them, balloons, and smiling families. We make friendships and memories that last a lifetime. If you can’t use your own passport, how about helping some kids use theirs?
Going nowhere this summer? Yeah, me too. Don’t let that stop us from getting busy and lending a hand. What are some of your favorite ways to help from home?
image from ebay.com