FBCH trying to help raise awareness of orphans
Sep 1, 2014
By FBCH STAFF

Eryn LaLonde represents First Baptist Palmetto after the church presented nearly 7,000 diapers to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes last year and a check to fund an additional 11,000 diapers. Also shown is FBCH President Jerry Haag. FBCH photo
LAKELAND (FBCH)—Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and Orphan’s Heart are partnering with Christian Alliance for Orphans to raise awareness of the millions of children in need across the world. 

On Nov. 2, churches around the world will celebrate Orphan Sunday. On this day, the body of Christ will come together to stand on behalf of orphans worldwide and bring awareness of their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
 
Often, the idea of “orphans” seems like a foreign concept to those in the United States, but according to FBCH, the needs of children who have been left without parents or who have been abandoned, neglected and abused are still very real in regions throughout Florida. The following statistics shed light on these needs:
 
► 53 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents  (UNICEF).
 
 18 million children have lost both parents (UNICEF).
 
 20,000 children are in foster care in Florida (Department of Children and Families).
 
“Through Orphan Sunday, the body of Christ can raise awareness of the plight of children right here in Florida who desperately need the love of a family,” said Jerry Haag, president of FBCH and Orphan’s Heart. “Our hope is that churches will also come beside us to pray and make a tangible difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children.”
 
There are many ways to get involved in Orphan Sunday that will directly affect the children of FBCH and Orphan’s Heart. Whether you are an individual, church or business with the desire to ease the suffering of children in need, there is a way to make an impact.
 
“One of our biggest ongoing needs is diapers for the young children we serve,” Haag said. “We need individuals and churches to help by organizing their own diaper drives on our behalf. Every month, we use nearly 30,000 diapers to meet the needs of children in foster care and those at the malnutrition center in Guatemala.”  
 
FBCH has a goal of collecting 350,000 diapers, and it is asking individuals and churches to come together and help them reach—and even exceed—this number.
 
Those interested in starting a diaper drive can visit FBCH’s website (www.FBCHomes.org) to learn how to be a diaper drive coordinator. The names of all diaper drive coordinators whose teams turn in their diapers by Nov. 7 will be entered into a drawing to win a mission trip to Guatemala.
 
All sizes of diapers are needed and appreciated, but larger-size diapers—sizes 3 and above, including Pull-Ups—are especially needed. FBCH also will accept monetary donations to purchase diapers, both online and in the mail.  
 
Diapers collected throughout the state will be used to help families like the Franklins. Through the years, Mary and Gary Franklin have been foster parents for more than 30 children. On any given day, they will have up to five foster children, all in diapers, and they say they cannot meet these needs on their own.  
 
“If you think about how much it costs to provide diapers for one child, you can only imagine what it’s like when you have four or five children,” Mary Franklin said. “Diapers aren’t just diapers to us. They are a blessing as we care for these children.” 
 
FBCH is also encouraging local churches to celebrate Orphan Sunday by having an Orphan Sunday “day.” Each local Orphan Sunday “day” or event is customized and individualized, so every church can choose what will work best for its needs.  Past events have included inviting guest speakers for Sunday morning sermons, gathering in prayer, hosting educational seminars, showing videos about the orphan crisis, organizing Sunday School class events and hosting live concerts.
 
On Orphan Sunday, churches can invite FBCH speakers to come and share with their congregations about the organization’s services to children. 
 
“We have talented and passionate speakers and preachers who love the Lord and want to share how churches can become involved in what God is doing to help one more child in Florida and in developing nations,” Haag said.
 

Want to help?
 
For more information and resources about Orphan Sunday, visit FBCH’s website at www.FBCHomes.org.

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