Since Food for the Hungry (FH) released our Heartbeat, the guiding principles that lead us toward our mission to end poverty, it has been a joy to find the multitude of ways that the five core values appear throughout all of FH’s work.
Child sponsorship invites normal people like you and me to join FH in alleviating poverty around the world. Yet the experience is one of “mutual transformation”: when you give to help children and families thrive, you begin a relationship that asks to change your heart in return. Here are the ways that I see child sponsors inhabiting Food for the Hungry’s five values… leading to total transformation.
1. You follow Jesus.
Throughout all of Scripture, God the Father makes it clear that he has a specific care for the vulnerable and marginalized (Psalm 9:9, 109:30-31, 140:12; Isaiah 58:6-11; Luke 6:20-21). That is a love that he calls his people, the Church, to share (Proverbs 14:31, 19:17, 22:22-23, 31:8-9; Romans 12:11-13; 1 John 3:17). In fact, 1 John goes as far as to question that a person who does not give to the poor even has the love of Christ within them.
By showing mercy and compassion to the poor and making generosity a lifestyle, child sponsors obey the Jesus’ call: “Give to the poor… Then come, follow me.”
2. You join a relational mission.
All of FH’s work is based on relationships. There are the relationships that staff have with communities. The relationships between parents and children. The relationships a sponsor builds with a child and their family. While some child sponsorship programs primarily benefit an individual child, FH’s approach impacts an entire community. This means that every sponsorship goes to community-strengthening work that calls families, neighbors, and whole communities to work together, build resilience, and create bonds of trust.
3. You invest wisely and focus on results.
FH’s child sponsorship program funds go straight to helping communities complete the goals that they have. This means that FH walks alongside people around the world to connect them to resources and build capacity in a way that creates lasting change. FH’s Learning and Evaluation team closely study the changes that occur by looking for signs that the community is meeting their own goals, feeling more equipped than before, and asking community members where they see a difference.
4. You serve with humility.
Child sponsorship with FH isn’t about outsiders fixing the problems of poor communities. FH child sponsors know that they don’t have all the answers. That’s why they humbly enable local FH staff to listen to local needs and help communities find sustainable answers. Child sponsors know that they can’t rescue anyone from poverty. Instead, child sponsors have the humility to support training families and caregivers to love and raise children well so that children can have the health, nutrition, education, and future livelihood that they were created for. Sponsoring children in FH communities around the globe helps empower the world’s most vulnerable people to find solutions to their own problems and experience the joy of having enough that they too can be generous.
5. You pursue beauty, goodness, and truth.
For centuries, Christians have believed that God himself is beauty, goodness, and truth. Because all people are made by God to know and love him, humans cannot help but seek beauty, goodness, and truth in the world around us. Yet we all see the ways in which the world is broken and lacking in good and truthful things of beauty. Poverty is one symptom of such brokenness. Yet as God’s Story describes, God works to restore all broken things. And he invites humans to be part of the process. FH’s goal is not simply to help people survive, but to see children and their families truly thrive. Child sponsors help make that happen. In doing so, they join the beauty of restoration.
Are you a child sponsor already? If so, thank you for living out these values!
If not, consider how you can live out these values through a relationship to a child today.