See those beautiful children in the picture above? They seem as far removed from the tragic events that happened in Haiti earlier this week as possible, don't they? In fact, geographically, they are very far removed. But when it comes to compassion, physical distance doesn't matter. These four young kids are the children of my friends Heidi and Gabe, and they have a plan to help other children in Haiti who have been devastated by the earthquake that tore their country apart just days ago.
I wanted to share their plan with you so I asked Heidi if she would tell you about it herself. I hope it inspires other families to come up with their own plan to help. No matter how young children are, there is always something they can do
Q: How old are your children?
A: Josiah is 8, Kiersen is 5, Liam is 3, and Aliya is 1.
Tell us about the project they are going to do to raise money to send to help. How did your family come up with that specific idea.
The kids are going to take flyers around our neighborhood explaining that we are collecting cans to raise funds for Haiti. We will go back around the neighborhood in a week and collect cans from anyone who will donate. We will then take the cans to our local recycling center and sell them. Whatever proceeds we get will be sent to Haiti. Our neighbors, another family with four children under the age of 4, are going to help in the collection.
How much do you hope to raise with your project?
I have no idea how much money we will raise. Probably not a huge amount, but this way the kids get to put effort into helping.
Where will you be donating the money to? How did you decide on that specific organization.
We will be donating our funds to His Home for Children
. This is a Christian ministry caring for children in Port-au-Prince. The founders/directors are a retired couple from a town near us. We have met them several times in the U.S. and know that they are doing a great job of caring not only for children, but also for anyone who knocks on their door. We have no doubt they will use the funds to care for as many in need as they can.
Why do you think it's important to involve children as young as your children in something like this. Isn't it upsetting to them?
One of my children did ask if this could happen where we live. I tried to reassure her that we rarely have earthquakes. Yes, it is upsetting, but we try to focus on how we can follow Jesus' command to love our neighbor as ourselves. I hope to instill in our kids a global awareness as well as the idea that we can all do our part.
Do you have any advice for parents who want to help their children find a way to help those in Haiti?
Right now, it seems like financial donations are the most useful, but that can seem abstract to children. If your kids want to help, find ways they can earn money with something they can do.
Perhaps they could also collect cans, or shovel snow, or have a bake sale. As the kids explain why they are doing this, they will give family and friends a way to be involved.
Show your kids some of the pictures although I would stay away from the extremely graphic ones. Select an organization that you trust to donate the funds, preferably one with a website, so you and the kids can check back and see how your donation is being used. Encourage your children's friends to join in your fundraising project.
Is your family doing anything to raise money to help the Haitians? Tell us what it is, but be warned, someone may happily steal it and use it. Let’s hope so.