Tag: Charities

Mar 24 2011

CFCA in the blogosphere

Diane Palmer

We featured Diane Palmer, a CFCA sponsor, in December 2010 on our blog.

She is climbing the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, to raise $15,000 for five charities, including CFCA.

She recently published a blog post about the experience of meeting her sponsored child, Jaysie.

“I was overwhelmed thinking my small donation each month is providing this family with so much hope and a brighter future,” she wrote.

(Here’s her story: http://adventurediane.blogspot.com/2011/03/christian-foundation-for-children-and.html.)

Jan 28 2011

Welcome to the CFCA coffee club

By Shanxi Omoniyi, web editor and writer

Coffee is cultivated in many of the countries where CFCA works and enjoyed by many of our families. The CFCA community in Kansas City loves coffee, too.

Julie Watson, CFCA graphic designer

Julie Watson, CFCA graphic designer and coffee club leader

Its rich, earthy aroma greets us most mornings when we arrive at the office, courtesy of Julie Watson, a graphic designer at CFCA. She has other talents besides making our print and online materials beautiful.

She makes fantastic cheesecakes … and fabulous coffee.

Julie started a fund for CFCA coffee lovers to donate toward the cost of providing fresh, gourmet coffees. Employees can also bring their favorite brands in place of money.

We’ve sampled and savored brews from El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia and Kenya.

The Juan Ana coffee is a favorite of CFCA coffee lovers. The coffee is cultivated, roasted and packaged by members of the San Lucas Mission in Guatemala. Many of the members of the mission and most of the coffee workers have children in the CFCA sponsorship program.

Michael Calabria, director of planned giving at CFCA, personally orders lavish quantities of dark and medium roast Juan Ana coffees toward the end of the year and offers the coffee for sale to CFCA employees.

“This is the fairest of fair trade coffees,” he said. “Please support our brothers and sisters living in and around the Hermano Pedro Regional Center in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.”

Juan Ana coffees

Juan Ana coffees

(You can order a bag of Juan Ana coffee and learn more about the San Lucas Mission on its website.)

So now you know a little more about the CFCA community.

We’re passionate about helping children, youth and elderly people around the world.

We’re committed to serving those living in poverty through our Hope for a Family sponsorship program.

And many of us are also dedicated to enjoying the delights of freshly brewed coffee. Excuse me while I get another cup.

Note: Thanks also to one of our sponsors, Joy Noel, who generously donated some coffee from this coffee shop in Missouri, More Than Coffee.

Jan 5 2011

Get a free 2011 CFCA desk calendar

Update: The opportunity to get a free 2011 desk calendar is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!

2011 CFCA desk calendarWe recently put together a desk calendar that includes photos of some of the wonderful children and families served by CFCA throughout the world.

We would like to give you an opportunity to receive one of these calendars by sharing your sponsorship story with others. You can:

  • Write a blog post on your own blog about your personal sponsorship experience with CFCA and send us a link.
  • Write a guest blog post for us to post on the CFCA blog, then submit your post to us.
  • Leave a comment on a CFCA blog post of your choice to have your name entered in a daily drawing. A name will be randomly selected as the winner of a CFCA calendar.

We have only a limited number of calendars left, so please submit your entries to carlosc@cfcausa.org with the subject line, “Submission for 2011 desk calendar,” as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Dec 16 2010

CFCA sponsor to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for charities

Diane Palmer

We wanted to pass on this amazing story from one of our sponsors, Diane Palmer from Wichita, Kan.

She is going to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet), starting Jan. 16, 2011!

Her goal is to raise $15,000 for five charities, including CFCA.

“I chose CFCA because I believe wholeheartedly in what CFCA is doing around the world to provide a ‘heads up’ rather than just a ‘hand out’ to thousands of children and aging people,” Diane writes.

“I also am a very frugal person and like to see that in charities that I donate to. †CFCA does a superb job in using the donations wisely to get the most benefit from every dollar that is contributed. †For CFCA to have an overhead of only 4 percent is applauded in this day of bureaucracies and government boondoggles.”

After climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, she will participate in CFCA’s mission awareness trip to Kenya from Feb. 19 to March 2.

She will get to meet her sponsored friend in Kenya during that time.

“My goal is to continue to sponsor a child or an aged person one at a time as my budget allows,” she writes. “I plan to do a mission awareness trip to Guatemala in 2011 or 2012 to visit the young man I sponsor there. †I can’t think of a better way to say I care about you than go see him in person!!!”

Schools can follow Diane’s adventures during her time in Kenya.†If you know of any students who would be interested in touring Africa virtually with Diane, including a safari in the Serengeti, please visit her blog at http://www.adventurediane.blogspot.com.

Godspeed, Diane, from all of us here at CFCA!

Dec 14 2010

Unique Christmas tree ornaments gain CFCA sponsors

Want to share the good news of CFCA this Christmas season?

CFCA volunteers Stan and Dorothy Hubbard did just that at an alternative gift fair recently. They used a red tablecloth and sign provided by CFCA, but they also went one step further.

After scanning photos of children from the folders we sent them, they made the photo into a matching Christmas tree ornament, which was hung from a tabletop Christmas tree on their table.

Whenever someone signed up for sponsorship, the new sponsor got to take the matching ornament home to hang on their family’s Christmas tree.

CFCA Christmas ornaments

Stan Hubbard operates the gift fair table promoting CFCA.

The children who were sponsored at that fair have just received an awesome gift this Christmas ñ food, clothing and access to education!

Here are Dorothy’s instructions for making your own ornaments featuring your sponsored friend:

1) Purchase inexpensive, clear plastic acrylic ornaments from a local craft store.
2) Remove (carefully) each picture from the respective folder.
3) Duplicate each picture using the “copy” function on a printer (she did 6 pictures to a page).
4) Laminate the pages. (This step may be unnecessary; Dorothy did it to preserve the photo.)
5) Cut out each photo in the shape of a circle.
6) Roll the cut photo into a cylinder shape and insert inside ornament. A bamboo stick can be used to straighten the picture.
7) Tie a red ribbon in a bow and add a small silver bell.

CFCA sponsors, we appreciate your comments! How do you remember your sponsored friends during the Christmas season?

Dec 9 2010

CFCA receives birthday donation from 9-year-old

This precious letter from the daughter of two CFCA sponsors made our day!

Zoe

ìDear workers at the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging,

My name is Zoe. I am donating some money toward this foundation. My family sponsors Ariel, so I thought that it would be nice to collect money for the Christian Foundation.

I have been collecting money or items for different businesses for five years now. I ask for items or money for different businesses at my birthday parties. This year, on my ninth birthday, I asked for money for this business instead of birthday presents.

I collected $80.00, which you will find enclosed in this envelope.

I am glad to be helping people like Ariel. So are Mom and Dad.

Sincerely,
Zoeî

A word from her parents: “Zoe decided on her own to collect money for her birthday for CFCA, and she wrote her letter to you on her own – we did not help. Also, since this picture was taken, she donated her hair to “Locks of Love” in honor of her grandma who is a cancer survivor.”

Dec 6 2010

Costa Rican community battles heavy rains

On Nov. 8, we posted this news story about a storm that caused flooding and landslides in Costa Rica. Rafael Villalobos, CFCA project coordinator in San Jose, Costa Rica, sent us this update. Please keep the CFCA families affected by the heavy rains in your prayers.

The Jazmin community is home to Nicaraguan immigrants and Costa Rican migrants from rural areas of the country.

This is an agricultural area settled by various families who arrived seeking better opportunities in life. Nevertheless, the vast majority do not have stable work.

They have constructed humble homes with wood and old tin cans. For water, they must walk to a community tap. A community meter supplies electricity for everyone. Each family has to pay about $50 a month for electricity.

House endangered by rain

A Costa Rican house is endangered by the erosion from heavy rains.

Because of heavy rains in the past weeks, the ground has eroded considerably to the point where these families are in great danger. Many of their homes have collapsed into the ravine. Due to the solidarity among neighbors, several families are living in the same house.

Six families are currently staying in the community center.

The downpours in recent days has washed out the ground to the point where the land is split in two, isolating the families.

DoÒa Rosa, the mother of sponsored children and a great supporter of CFCA, has lost a large part of her home.

ìThe only part that remains is the small room built with the help of CFCA. I donít know what will happen to us,” she said. “The officials have asked us to leave this place because it is very dangerous, because a landslide could occur at any moment. But where will we go?î

In the midst of this pain, she remains hopeful.

ìGod will not abandon us,î she said. ìHe is with us and he has sent his angels in the face of CFCA, who are with us giving us encouragement and hope.î

Seventy families with sponsored members live in Jazmin. Nearby is the community of Tejarcillos, which has also been affected by the heavy rains.

With Christmas approaching, these situations bring to mind the birth of the child Jesus in the midst of extreme circumstances, similar to what these families are experiencing.

Nov 10 2010

Walking in solidarity with our CFCA sponsors

By Ruth Hubenthal, CFCA Sponsor Services

I love talking to sponsors. Not only do I work at CFCA, but Iím a sponsor too.

Sponsors are hard-working, extraordinary people with big hearts and open minds.

You will see many stories about how amazing our sponsored members and their families are, about how they struggle to overcome difficulties, and live day to day to raise their families. But you know, CFCA sponsors are just as amazing.

Ruth Hubenthal

Ruth Hubenthal

You see, sponsorship is not just about sending a monthly amount of money, although this is very important. It is about having a respectful relationship with someone you may never meet.

So many sponsors have lost a loved one, but rather than shutting down their hearts, they open them up and allow sponsored members and their families a share of that love and compassion.

That takes courage. That takes passion. And I am fortunate enough to hear these stories every day.

The amount we as sponsors send each month may not be a whole lot. However, to sponsors like me who have babies, or to sponsors on a monthly pension, it takes budgeting, commitment and patience to send that amount.

But sponsors see what good stewardship CFCA dedicates itself to, and they know in their hearts that itís the right thing to do. Itís worth every penny.

Our president and co-founder, Bob Hentzen, is in the midst of his walk from Guatemala to Chile to show solidarity with sponsored members and their families.

Everywhere you go in the CFCA world, solidarity walks are taking place.

Sponsored members and their families in the Philippines, India, Mexico, Kenya and other countries are all walking to show that they are a true part of this community of compassion.

But you know what? They are also walking in solidarity with their sponsors.

They are walking to show their support of the incredibly brave, generous people who are giving them a second chance ñ their sponsors.

They are walking in solidarity with you.

Oct 25 2010

Walk2gether brings out hope on the highway

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joined Walk2gether in Ecuador. Hereís his perspective on how the walk shows hope in action, especially among those living in poverty.

ìÖtribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappointÖî ó Romans 5:3

Eddie Watson, from CFCA communications department

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joins Walk2gether in Ecuador.

At CFCA we talk about hope a lot. Itís in the name of our sponsorship program: Hope for a Family.

It appears in many of our publications, and itís posted throughout our headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. Itís at the heart of what this organization is all about.

But have you ever actually witnessed hope?

I hadnít until I visited Ecuador and walked with Bob and CFCA families on Walk2gether.

Hope was everywhere. Right now, somewhere in Peru, hope is walking along the right edge of a highway in the middle of a desert. Cars are whistling right on by.

In fact, there is a hope trail that stretches from Guatemala south more than 5,000 miles to Peru.

I read the scripture passage cited above on my flight home to the U.S. It jumped off the page at me, and I thought it illustrated what I experienced on Walk2gether and what the walk is really all about.

The families CFCA serves face tribulations every day, challenges far more intense than walking the 21 or more miles a day on the walk. CFCA serves families who walk several miles every day just to get water.

No, walking wasnít challenging for the beautiful people who met us as we passed through their communities.

What was challenging for many of them was walking the distance in flip flops or school dress shoes, because it was all they had.

But they didnít complain. They had far more character achieved through lives in the rural mountains of the Andes; character developed working for $7 a day on someone elseís land; character achieved by having to work 12-hour days to feed your three kids and send them to school, to give them a better future.

Borja Homero

Borja Homero, the father of a sponsored child from Mira.

Two sponsored children participate in Walk2gether.

I was walking in a rain shower with Bob early one morning, feeling bad for all the families with us getting drenched.

I began thinking about all the money I spent on the gear keeping me warm and dry: $140 Gortex-lined boots, a $40 fleece jacket, a $50 rain jacket.

We came to a resting point, and we lined up to greet the families and thank them for joining us. I wish you could have seen their faces.

They were so excited to meet Bob and so proud to walk for the organization. Nothing was going to stand in their way. This was one way they could give back.

As much as Bob is walking to show CFCAís love, these families are walking to say ìthank you.î They are thrilled to be on the journey.

I saw the hope in their eyes.

Their hope makes my food taste different. It makes my showers shorter, my ìI love youísî better, and makes me want to jump out of the bed in the morning.

The hope I saw makes me want to give my best.

Bob says this is what the walk and CFCA are all about. He says we should ìbe at our best for the poor because they deserve it.î

It started making more sense to me how a 74-year-old man can dream of walking 8,000 miles with these families. He sees hope.

I was privileged to see it. The worldwide CFCA community is beginning to see it, too, as we spread our message to more and more people.

My dream is for everyone to see it.

Oct 21 2010

From beneficiaries to partners: How CFCA views sponsored friends

Dan Pearson, operations/program development director for CFCA, explains how CFCA programs are moving toward greater autonomy and partnership with those being sponsored. Rather than seeing them as “beneficiaries,” we see them as “partners.”

Nonprofit organizations often divide their stakeholders neatly into two categories: donors and beneficiaries. But CFCA has always viewed things a little differently.

Dan Pearson

Dan Pearson

CFCA has always seen sponsors as more than simply donors. Sponsors are first and foremost human beings with a desire to connect with other human beings.

Part of CFCA’s mission is to give sponsors a way to grow in love through a personal connection to a child or elderly person in another part of the world. In that sense, sponsors are also beneficiaries of sponsorship because we can receive emotional and spiritual benefits as we provide encouragement and material support to a friend in another country.

Similarly, CFCA has never seen sponsored children and their families as simply beneficiaries. The word “beneficiary” implies someone who passively receives assistance from another person. But sponsored members and their families are not passive. In fact, they are some of the most active people I have met.

Sponsored children often get up early and walk long distances just to receive an education. Their parents work long days (often in jobs that are physically demanding) to provide for their childrenís basic needs. Yes, these families benefit from the program. But they are much more than beneficiaries.

Sai and his family

Sponsored child Sai, second from right, and his family in Hyderabad, India.

Part of the message in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program is that the families of sponsored children are our partners.

The mother of a child partners with a sponsor to achieve a childís goals for the future. She is a trustworthy partner because:

a) she has demonstrated her absolute commitment to her child’s future,

b) she understands her child’s unique gifts and the particular challenges her child faces, and

c) she is extremely skilled at overcoming challenges.

The proof of a motherís trustworthiness as a partner in the development of her child is in her tireless dedication. She spends nearly every waking hour dedicated to the cause of her children. Then she goes to bed, wakes up early, and starts over again.

The label “beneficiary” doesnít do justice to that kind of active dedication to a cause.

When one sponsor and one family join forces to change one child’s life, all other labels dissolve. They are simply human beings working together to make one small piece of the world a better place.

We welcome your feedback! In the comments below, please tell us how you view the “beneficiaries” vs. “partners” distinction. If you’re a sponsor, have you always viewed sponsorship as a way to partner with others? Why or why not?