Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Just before Thanksgiving we began calling donors to thank them for supporting Christian Children’s Fund and our work with children. It was a way to say thanks during the holiday season.
I personally called about 100 donors. I’m not one to enjoy chatting on the phone, but the donors were great. Those I spoke with directly couldn’t believe I wasn’t asking for money – that I was simply calling to say thanks. One donor asked, “Are you sure you don’t want money?”
I laughed and said, “Nope, just wanted to say thank you and Merry Holidays!”
He laughed and said, “You can call me anytime!”
Most expressed concern about the economy and tough times but said they remained committed to sponsoring their child (or children). That was so rewarding to hear.
I heard from some about the snow in the northeast. Others talked about their personal losses this year, but that giving to others helped them.
We have great donors. Obviously we couldn’t reach them all. But if you’re reading this, “Thank you!”
Monday, December 29, 2008
The company sponsors a child for each of its employees – to date that total is 78. At Dillanos’ headquarters a wall is adorned with photos of the employees and their sponsored children. (See the photo above for what the wall looks like.)
Dillanos’ Marketing Director Lon LaFlamme said the employees enjoy the benefit of sponsoring a child and many employees give separate individual donations to CCF during the holidays.
“Putting others first – like the kids in Christian Children’s Fund – not only supports our mission statement and culture, it also encourages our family of employees to put the welfare of Dillanos first. Selflessness builds great companies and happy employees,” said Dillanos’ CEO David Morris.
For more on Dillanos’ and its work, click here to see our latest press release. You can also find out more about Dillanos’ by visiting http://www.dillanos.com/.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Forrest Ewens – a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army – was passionate about helping the people of Afghanistan. In addition to handing out treats to the children, the elders in the nearby village where he was stationed would often ask for him by name.
“When he wrote home, he would write more about the help he was able to provide to the local people rather than his military adventures,” Forrest’s mother, Carol, said.
Forrest, of Gig Harbor, Wash., was killed in action in 2006, but his memory and effort to help the people of Afghanistan live on. Forrest’s parents have been contributing to Christian Children’s Fund since 1992 and wanted to find a way to honor their son. They quickly realized that a well would be a good way to have his memory live on.
Earlier this year, construction of a well in the remote Samady Village in Badakhshan Province was completed, thanks to funding from Forrest’s parents, family and friends.
The well provides clean water to about 500 families in this area, bringing about significant change. Children who once had to walk to nearby villages to find water can now focus on their education instead of waiting in long lines. Clean water also prevents illnesses from water-borne diseases found in rivers.
“It is especially encouraging to us to see that our decision to be involved in CCF long ago has been so worthwhile,” Carol said.
To read more about Forrest and the new well, click here to read the latest news release from Christian Children’s Fund.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Everyone loves presents. No matter the occasion, whatever is in that mysterious wrapped up box adorned with bows and string curls – we want it, we need it and we’ve got to have it now.
But looking back on your childhood, chances are some of your most “precious possessions” have since seen better days.
We grow out of clothes, we find better toys. Yet along the way, we also find that one of the best gifts is giving of ourselves; knowing that our generosity toward others is truly appreciated, and sometimes needed.
This holiday season, CCF is encouraging everyone to give the gifts that keeps on giving way past their shiny, brand-new expiration dates. Even if it goes to someone you’ve never met.
Our Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog has more than 100 items to choose, ranging from animals and garden tools to toys and school materials. Not only will your gift brighten the day of the child, family or community who receives it, but thanks to you, we will be that much closer to easing the burden of poverty to those within our circle of care.
Did you know...
Your gift of teaching materials will help 1,500 children in 8 primary schools throughout Ethiopia.
1 bicycle with a sidecar can help a family in the Philippines deliver vegetables, fruits and baked goods without having to walk door to door. 1,000 children will benefit from the availability of this nutritious food in 10 communities.
For as little as $6 you can provide cough medicine for 1 child in Honduras. Share the joy of simple card games with children in Angola for only $10. It’s not how much you give, but knowing a child’s life will be better since you did.
In poverty-stricken communities in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, young people are looking for a chance to make a difference. Your gift will provide a team of 5 young people with 10 gallons of paint and supplies to transform a barren house into a beautiful home. Plus these youth will also plant 1 tree in the yard of each low-income home to celebrate the beautification and transformation of their community.
6 chickens will provide enough nourishment and income for 1 school of children in The Gambia. 5 ducks will help feed an entire family in Timor-Leste.
Did you know 1 mosquito net can save up to 3 children and last for up to 5 years? Did you know you could purchase a net from the Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog for only $11?
Already this holiday season, gifts have been ordered to help many children and families living in poverty, including a house for a family in Timor-Leste for $2,857 and a water tank for 800 children in India for $107.
Do your part to make this holiday season shine brighter for children all over the world; check out our Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog here.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Earlier in November, a group of us at CCF were looking for ways to give back locally this holiday season. After all, our headquarters is in Richmond, and we love being here.
So, we set out to identify two local organizations that share many of our own goals and program approaches, but whose clients and recipients are all Richmonders.
The first – Virginia Council of Churches Refugee Resettlement Program (VCCRRP), serving the refugee community in Richmond. The second – Freedom House, serving the homeless and working poor in the greater Richmond area.
We asked them one, simple question: how can we help?
An answer came in the form of CCF’s 2008 Holiday Gift Drive. Beginning Nov. 21 we asked staff to donate children’s books to benefit VCCRRP and items such as hats, gloves and scarves to benefit Freedom House. Staff response was overwhelming.
On Dec. 10, I, and two other staff representatives, hand delivered these items to both organizations to learn more about their mission and clients, hopes and needs, frustrations and successes.
A representative from VCCRRP told us that our donations were “exactly what the spirit of the holidays is all about; extending a hand of welcome and peace.”
A representative from Freedom House also thanked CCF for helping “make this holiday special for many that get lost in the shuffle of life.”
It was an amazing opportunity to give of ourselves and see the outpouring of support and generosity from our staff. It was even more amazing to be able to represent my colleagues to these other organizations.
Our goal was to let them know that CCF is not only committed to the 15.2 million children and families around the world who we support through our organization, but that we also intimately care about the wellbeing of people in our own community.
This outpouring of support inspired us to re-write a well-known holiday song (please begin humming the classic tune “The 12 Days of Christmas”)
On the twelfth day of our Holiday Drive, CCF staff gave back:
377 total items
246 children’s books
35 pairs of gloves
30 stylish hats
23 sets of warm things (combos of hats, scarves, and/or gloves)
17 comfy scarves
8 board games, coloring books and puzzles
7 blockbuster children’s movies
5 children’s throw pillows
3 pairs of ear warmers
2 pairs of socks and
And even one pair of leg warmers.
(Ok – you can stop humming now).
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Red sponsors 136 children through CCF – he recently added 12 more.
“It’s a thing I do,” he says of his sponsorships. “Get yourself a child; you’ll feel great.”
To read more about the “thing” he does, click here to read CCF’s latest news release.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Adults have all the answers, don’t we? At least we like to think we do. Around the world, millions of children live in poverty. Finding the answer to break the cycle is not easy, but at Christian Children’s Fund we know that listening to children and how poverty impacts them is a start.
A new publication – “We’ve Got Something to Say: Promoting Child and Youth Agency, A Facilitator’s Manual” – captures how important it is to listen to children and youth about the issues that impact them the most.
This publication follows a 2005 CCF poverty study in which we learned that children are far more sensitive to and affected by poverty than we first thought. The study also showed that children understand poverty as a deeply physical, emotional and social experience.
We know that children are agents of change and are capable of playing leading roles in their lives and in their communities. This manual helps make this clear.
The guide was developed for program managers, community workers, community leaders, youth leaders and others who are interested in working more effectively with young people in community development. Child protection expert Claire O’Kane and child participation consultant Tracy Dolan wrote the manual for CCF.
The manual is divided into seven sections that stress the importance of talking to and working with children in communities to bring change and help with planning in CCF’s program areas.
While the “We’ve Got Something to Say” guide was written for CCF, Dolan said its uses are practical for any organization that works with children.
“This guide includes chapters on how to prepare adults and organizations to work more effectively with young people and how to share governing responsibilities with children and youth,” she said.
To view the “We’ve Got Something to Say” manual click here.
Friday, December 5, 2008
A few weeks ago, we told you about Christian Children’s Fund’s "Gifts of Hope and Love" catalog and how you can use it for your holiday shopping needs.
Well, we’re here to tell you that chickens and goats are flying off CCF’s shelves – more than 1,200 have been purchased this season.
For more details on the gift catalog, click here to check out our latest news release, go here to read our blog entry from a few weeks ago or check out the catalog on our Web site here.