There is a family at church who really lives for children (not that other families don't, but this family takes it a step or two further than most). They have some children of their own, but they have also adopted one and they have another two foster children that they intend to adopt. Not only that, but they have suggested to the congregation an idea that I think is a wonderful way to do something meaningful for Christmas, that fits right in with this love for children.
I have to say that Christmas shopping is a lot more fun and interesting when buying for someone who has significant needs than for people who really need less things and are more likely in need of a moving truck to haul their excess stuff to a charity. So this idea of theirs fulfills something of a selfish need of mine--that of filling a meaningful need at Christmas. Okay, enough of the why.
We have done a similar thing through another organization at a previous church, but I'm thankful that it's been brought up again. She brought a bunch of boxes into the church that we are to take home and fill with needed items to be shipped to orphan children overseas as a Christmas gift. The boxes are pre-printed with the Virginia address to ship them to, a small list of suggested items etc. The organization's website is www.worldhelp.net/.
I checked out this organization, too, since I am not familiar with it. This is a good idea with any charity that claims to give in the name of Christianity: go to www.ecfa.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) and type the name of the organization in. For World Help, I found that 89% of the money they raise goes toward program expenses, 4% toward fundraising, and 7% toward administrative expenses. ECFA doesn't rate their organizations, but simply accepts or rejects them as a pass/fail status. While they don't emphasize percentages as the deciding factor, I've heard a rule of thumb that if an organization spends more than 15% on anything other than the intended cause, it's something to beware of.
I was thinking about what to blog about, and this seemed as good a subject as any. If you will, I suggest you go to the website and see about ordering some of the boxes for your church or other group. And on the odd chance that you were going to buy us a Christmas present, please do this box instead. I'll be happier for our having less excess stuff and some child overseas will be overjoyed.