Follow Us


Small Gifts Lead to Big Futures

Share this Story

WRITTEN BY Shannon Deppi

Big, bold presents tend to grab a lot of the attention at Christmas. But don’t be fooled. Often the small gifts mean the most and make the greatest difference.

Just ask Naoi and her 9-year-old son, Aditia. Their family received one of the tiniest gifts available in the Food for the Hungry (FH) Gift Catalog. In fact, this present is so little that it could easily get lost in wrapping paper or go unnoticed inside a stocking. Yet the impact made by this teeny present could not be more beautiful, far exceeding its petite size with enormous transformational power.

The small-yet-mighty gift? Packets of seeds.

And the impact? Far beyond a patch of tasty vegetables!

Mother and son tend to their vegetable garden, which started with the small gift of seeds.

A Family Stuck in Poverty

Naoi had lost all hope for her children’s futures.

Economic problems in their Indonesian community left her and her husband with an impossibly low income. As a result, they had no food to put on the dinner table for their children and no money for anything else, such as school fees or materials.

She used to dream about giving her children an amazing education that would open every door to them in their future careers. She worked hard to make this dream come true. But the extreme, generational poverty in her community seemed impossible to escape.

Many children in their village are forced to drop out of school in junior high in order to join the workforce and help their families. Naoi felt lucky that her two oldest sons, Yohanes and Dionisius, made it through high school. But then they, too, had to stop their studies and help their parents provide for the younger siblings.

Sadly, even with four breadwinners in the family, their poverty persisted. The children were malnourished, with only bananas to eat at every meal. Many of their basic needs went unmet.

Now the thought of her littlest son, Aditia, finishing high school seemed out of the picture. The dream of sending even one of her children to college? Impossible. 

But then, a small gift arrived for Naoi’s family and changed everything.

Naoi and Aditia harvest vegetables they’ve grown.

A Small Gift Grows a Harvest of Hope

When Naoi and her family received a packet of vegetable seeds and training from FH, she seized the opportunity with enthusiasm and hard work.

To her, these little seeds were much more than a small gift. They represented her family’s big break, a chance to escape poverty and build the bright future she’d always dreamed of for her children. 

Determined not to let this opportunity pass her by, she planted the seeds, applied the training she’d received from FH, and began harvesting a future for her family, one vegetable at a time. Just a few of the varied vegetables she cultivated included:

  • Spinach
  • Long beans
  • Eggplant
  • Chilis

These delicious veggies rounded out the family’s former bananas-only diet to include a wide variety of important minerals and nutrients. With a well-balanced diet, the children became healthier and stronger, able to do their best in school.

With good garden training, the harvest of vegetables multiplied quickly. Soon there was much more than the family could eat on their own, so they started to sell the extra veggies at the market. With the proceeds, they were able to buy other supplies to meet their needs. The new income source paid Aditia’s school fees and made it possible to purchased a motorcycle for family transportation.

Aditia works on his school assignments.

A Big Future Within Reach

Naoi, Aditia, and the whole family are deeply grateful for the changes they’ve already seen in their income, health, and day-to-day lives. They’re so happy and filled with pride that their hard work on the farm is paying off.

Now, they’re even dreaming about the future. Naoi has set a goal to provide higher education to her children all the way through college – a goal that is now within her reach. She’s also building a business of not only growing vegetables, but creating other goods from the harvests she produces.

Their story shows that all it takes is a small gift like seeds, the right training, and a hard-working attitude to transform a family’s future for generations.

Continue Reading

From Food Shortage to Surplus — A Family Garden was the Answer

“God With Us” is Felt in this Nicaraguan Home

From Sadness to Hope: A Story of an Expanded Family


You are about to embark on a new FH Donor Experience

If you need assistance, please contact us at donorhelp@fh.org or 866-307-3259.

Subscribe to Email Newsletter at FH.org
Subscribe to Email Newsletter at FH.org

Get inspiration delivered to your inbox!

Get inspiring news, free e-books, fun activities and more.

Gift Policy:
You may send small, flat paper-based items that can fit into a standard #10 size envelope, have a value of less than $5 dollars and weigh less than 4 ounces. We ask that you send small, flat items of this size because shipping is expensive and even small gift items can cause issues clearing customs.
You can send postcards or photographs, however, we ask that you visit here for more details about culturally appropriate guidelines for photos and other images. Please write the child’s ID # on the back of each item that you enclose with your letter to ensure that it reaches him/her.
Best gifts to send your sponsored child:
  • Paper dolls
  • Postcards
  • Pictures of yourself or family
  • Sports cards, individual cards (baseball, soccer, football)
  • Stickers (flat, paper-based, only a few at a time)
  • Paper-based simple bookmarks, stationery, drawing, or writing paper (single sheets)
  • Coloring pages (single sheets, not books)
  • Please do NOT send:
  • Monetary gifts
  • Liquids, candy, or food
  • Batteries or magnets
Please note, all items should be compliant with airline transport and safety regulations. Gifts that don’t meet the gift policy will be donated to a local Christian non-profit organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that works with low-income families. We will not be able to return them.