SBC Life Articles

Church Members Give $1 Each Month for World Hunger Fund



World Hunger Fund offerings

Members of Circle Drive Baptist Church place their offerings in the World Hunger Fund box. Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church.

Six-year-old Madeline Gillott loves giving to Southern Baptists' World Hunger Fund. In fact, she recently reminded her mother that they had not yet given "their dollars" for the month. Madeline said that giving is important "so kids don't starve and have lots to eat and can hear about Jesus."

Since February, Madeline and each member of her family—parents Josh and Lauren Gillott and three-year-old sister Aubrey—have been putting a dollar each month into a World Hunger Fund box hand-carved by fellow church member Ed McGee.

It's a new initiative at Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, birthed in the "creative mind and administrative skills" of Circle Drive's children's minister, Kathy Routt, said her husband and the church's pastor, Mike Routt. Each month the church asks everyone, including children, to give $1 to the World Hunger Fund. It's an initiative that combines helping the needy, increasing the amount given to the World Hunger Fund, and teaching youngsters the importance of giving.

Watching Kids on Mission videos and teaching lessons during Wednesday night sessions helped birth the idea in Kathy Routt's mind.

"As I watched those and heard the different prayer requests . . . it hit me that I am the rich person in the world," she said. "As I was praying and thinking about it—our church is so sacrificial and giving—what if everyone would just give $1 a month more for the World Hunger Fund? Everybody can spare one dollar."

Hand-carved World Hunger Fund box

Circle Drive Baptist Church member Ed McGee displays his hand-carved World Hunger Fund box. Photo courtesy of Circle Drive Baptist Church.

Circle Drive's World Hunger Fund box, about the size of a twelve-inch cube, is placed at the back of the worship center each Sunday, and at the end of the month, the money is counted and immediately sent on to the World Hunger Fund.

"That way it can go ahead and be used," Routt said. "We say, 'Don't put in a dollar for each of your kids. Let them do it. Let them learn the joy of giving.'"

A bad snowstorm hit town the first Sunday Circle Drive promoted its new World Hunger Fund box, so a second "first week" took place the first Sunday in March. By the end of March, $1,045.07 had come in, with an additional $2,600 contributed over the next four months.

In addition to its innovative world hunger initiative, the church is generous in giving to missions through the Cooperative Program and seasonal offerings, and church members often are involved in hands-on missions activities.

The Gillott family immediately got behind the concept of giving $1 a month each to the World Hunger Fund because, they said, they have seen the needs of others as they help families Josh works with at Christmas, and as they have heard about mission trips to Africa and Asia that Lauren's dad has been on.

"We have it very good here in the United States, and it is important for Madeline to learn to care about others who have needs," Lauren Gillott said. "If Madeline puts the money in the box herself, she can better understand what it is all about."

Because the SBC's World Hunger Fund works through missionaries and other Southern Baptist representatives already on site, there are no administration or promotional costs. Every dollar given is used to alleviate hunger, and those who share the food also share the Gospel message.

Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger somewhere in the world, and 75 percent of those who die are children, according to statistics compiled for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Approximately one billion people throughout the world do not have enough food, and everyday almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related issues.

An estimated 35 percent of poor families in America choose between eating and paying the rent. Nearly half of all families headed by a single mom are food-insecure. In cities, one in four people in a soup kitchen line is a child.

The SBC's World Hunger Fund was established by the SBC Executive Committee in 1981, and from its beginning, the fund—not a special seasonal offering, but an ongoing fund constantly being replenished—was divided with 80 percent going overseas and 20 percent staying in North America.

ERLC was tasked with its promotion because hunger is a moral issue, as indicated in Jeremiah 22:16: He took up the case of the poor and needy, then it went well. Is this not what it means to know Me? This is the LORD's declaration.

"What God is doing in churches such as Circle Drive Baptist is a sign of the Kingdom," said ERLC president Russell D. Moore. "These congregations are equipping the whole Body to join Jesus in serving the least of these, His brothers and sisters around the world.

"This sort of ministry not only feeds hungry people, it also disciples consciences for a lifetime of ministry. Can you imagine the force for mission our churches would be if every congregation called on each member to hear the cries of the starving and vulnerable?"

For instructions on how to construct a World Hunger Fund box, contact Ed McGee at [email protected].