[SLIDESHOW=46056,46057]EDITOR’S NOTE: On Global Hunger Sunday, Oct. 8, Southern Baptist congregations will address hunger concerns across North America and around the world by receiving donations channeled through Global Hunger Relief, which uses 100 percent of each gift to meet hunger needs.
SOUTH ASIA (BP) — In a classroom cluttered with children’s books, an 8-year-old girl in South Asia places money in a plastic box.
These few bills are precious. Her family doesn’t have very much, but she is sending what little money they can spare to Baptist Global Response (BGR).
“I gave money for those who don’t have food,” the 8-year-old tells Christian worker Goldie Frances* about her desire to help Middle Eastern refugees and African drought survivors. “I want everyone to have food.”
It’s October 2016, just before Global Hunger Sunday. And Guna*, the child, tells Frances she wants to help the undernourished because she has felt hunger herself.
Guna is one of 18 girls at the Light of Life Center; many of them have scraped together donations to feed the hungry. They have collected the equivalent of $4.28 USD.
It hasn’t been easy. The children live in an urban slum. Frances, who manages the Light of Life Center, says their families’ homes are made of bamboo, tin and tarp, with cardboard for insulation.
“It is a sacrifice for them to be able to give anything,” Frances says.
The children come to the center five days a week, where they shower, eat two meals and study math, reading, writing and English. The facility also has offered educational opportunities for their mothers to learn to read and write in the local language.
The center’s hunger emphasis began because Frances has wanted to explore giving with the girls. She says the facility’s teachers incorporate the lessons into daily devotions and reads stories from the Baptist Global Response (BGR) website about Syrian refugees who flee their homes and about people in Lesotho who suffer from drought.
These stories are special to the girls because they also received aid channeled through BGR not long ago. In 2014, the humanitarian organization provided food to sustain the students and their families along with rent and utilities, medical needs, pink and blue uniforms for the girls, study materials and more. The food provisions are provided through Global Hunger Relief, which forwards 100 percent of all gifts through the missions network supported by Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program.
Learning about hunger needs in other lands gave the girls “an insight and it gave them a burden,” Frances says. “And, they really wanted to pray for the people in Syria and Lesotho and elsewhere who have needs.”
To take the lesson further, Frances says she and the other teachers have presented the girls with a giving box. Those who can spare money slide donations through the top. The students have also drawn pictures for the refugees, conveying their sympathies and prayers through images of flowers and crosses, and they have penned encouraging letters.
Some of the eight national staff members at Light of Life have pitched in as well — even though they, too, have little income to spare.
“I gave money for their food,” Karuna*, the center’s cook, tells Frances, “and I wrote a letter saying that God will bless you and you will be OK.”
After a week, Frances counts the local bills and coins in the plastic box and sends the money to Global Hunger Relief as well as the drawings and letters around the world to BGR headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.
When the package arrives in Nashville, BGR operations director Mary Frances Satterwhite carefully pages through the letters and drawings.
“I just thought it was really sweet,” Satterwhite says. “They’re young girls who are that concerned about other people, when they, themselves, have been helped.”
BGR executive director Jeff Palmer has visited the Light of Life Center, thanking the students for their drawings, letters and gifts. He also has answered the girls’ eager questions about the status of refugees and drought survivors, letting them know they aren’t alone in their hardships or their blessings.
EDITOR’S NOTE: BGR, though not an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, does promote the Cooperative Program and all giving channels/programs of the SBC. CP dollars, for example, support overseas field workers who partner with BGR so that Global Hunger Relief gifts as well as human needs donations to the International Mission Board and BGR are fully expended for their intended purposes.