Every child in our care has a story. Living on campus, we see and hear these stories play out before our very eyes. The children we encounter here have experienced brokenness, sadness and loss to an extent that most of us could never imagine. To Christi and me, as well as the staff at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH), these children are not just a picture, nor a prayer request, nor a sad article in a magazine. Their lives intersect with ours, and their situations become our responsibility.
A certain child, Melody’s*, story comes to mind. Melody was 9 years old when she arrived at one of our emergency shelters last fall. Upon her arrival, she was given a tour of the cottage. She stopped in her tracks when she entered the dining room and asked what all the tables and chairs were for. Sadly we learned that Melody had never sat down at dinner time and shared a meal with her family. She was often left to herself in the evenings, and when she became hungry at night, she would scour the sometimes-empty pantry shelves for food.
Melody’s house mother explained to her that they and the children ate a hot meal together each night around that table after sharing in a blessing and conversation. Her face lit up, and you could see a sense of relief in her demeanor.
Food is a life-changer. It is essential for proper nutrition and a source of energy and confidence. Often times, an open mouth leads to an open heart. Jesus knew this and fed thousands of hungry people not once but twice, using food to build trust and open a door of hope. Jesus purposefully met a physical need so that He could meet a spiritual one. Here at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, we model this in our everyday care for children.
It is heartbreaking how so many children are suffering with hunger, right in our own neighborhoods. That is why we are continuously striving to find efficient ways to provide ONE MORE CHILD a safe and loving environment where their tummies and hearts can be full!
I am writing this today because we need your help! With your gift, you have the power to make an incredible impact on children like Melody this Thanksgiving. The wellbeing of children in your community and across Florida is at stake. Please give generously today so that we can continue our ministry of serving children in need!
As Thanksgiving approaches, we think about you and your partnership with immensely grateful hearts!
Together for Children,
Jerry T. Haag, Ph.D., CFP®
President, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, The Porch Light & Orphan’s Heart
*Name, certain details and photographs have been changed for confidentiality reasons.
**Your gifts will be applied to the area that you designate. If designated gifts should exceed the amount required for a particular need, then those funds will be applied to the next area of greatest need for our children.