Through giving their pennies, nickels and dimes and more, kids at Circle Drive Baptist Church are seeking to help others through Baptist Global Response.
“Children can make a difference right now by giving and by praying,” Circle Drive children’s ministry director Kathy Routt in Colorado Springs, Colo., said. “But, they’re also future givers and … those who are going to care for people around the world.”
For the past several years, the church’s children’s ministry has encouraged kids to raise money to help Haitian earthquake survivors recover from disaster, to buy pigs for Southeast Asian pastors who need income sources and more.
This past spring, they raised money for Baptist Global Response’s work with Middle Eastern refugees. The humanitarian aid organization facilitates, on behalf of Southern Baptists, hundreds of projects in more than 50 countries by providing the basics of life, such as food, water and shelter.
To assist BGR in helping feed and shelter the displaced, children set up a booth at Circle Drive Baptist Church and gave away homemade coasters and baked goods in exchange for donations.
At the end of the fundraiser, about $1,200 had been collected.
“[The children] were so excited,” Routt said. “They were amazed. To kids … that’s a huge amount of money to them.”
Before embarking on the project, Routt made sure her students understood the needs they were addressing. She says she told them about the millions of refugees who have fled multiple conflicts in places like Syria, and then she made the story personal. She asked the children about what they would do if someone knocked on their door and told them they had 10 minutes to flee their house before enemy forces invaded. What would they bring with them? How would they transport their possessions? What would they eat when they reached a safe place?
Then, without Routt leading them, the children prayed. They prayed the refugees would find safety, food, shelter and hope through Christ.
“Hearing them pray for the people really helps you know that they got it,” Routt said.
The kids at Circle Drive Baptist Church are not alone. Children like this are now mounting fundraisers and making donations all over the country, says BGR executive director Jeff Palmer. He noted donations from Vacation Bible School offerings have increased dramatically over the past two years.
For instance, Piner Baptist Church in Morning View, Ky., submitted a VBS offering of more than $2,000 to help Nepal earthquake survivors rebuild their lives. The VBS at Urbancrest Baptist Church in Lebanon, Ohio, also gave more than $1,200 toward whatever project needed funds the most. In an email, senior pastor Tom Pendergrass writes that one third-grader from Urbancrest donated nearly $100. He told his parents other children needed the money more than he did.
“It’s challenging to my faith,” Palmer said. “If a 10-year-old or a 5-year-old can do that, why can’t I do more?”