FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Sponsorship

Select a category below to learn more:

General Information
Child Sponsorship
Writing My Sponsored Child
Guidelines for Sensitive Communities
Finances
Gift Catalog

GENERAL ACCOUNT & DONATION INFORMATION

I cannot get into my account on the website.
If you are unable to access your account on our website, please contact our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259.

Why is the donation envelope addressed to Albert Lea, MN?
Food for the Hungry (FH) employs a third-party agency that provides donation processing services in order to reduce our administrative costs. We don’t have to add another building, processing equipment, or additional staff. It keeps our overhead costs lower and gets donations to the field more quickly.

Where do the grants come from?

Most of our grants come from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In emergencies, some funds can come from OFDA — USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. FH has been blessed to receive many such grants over the years. We have a track record of accomplishing, monitoring and reporting on our work in serving the most vulnerable around the world.

CHILD SPONSORSHIP

What is child sponsorship?
We seek to develop communities by focusing on children. Child sponsorship is a way for you to join Food for the Hungry in walking with that child — along with the child’s family and community — as they move from struggling to thriving. Your donations, along with other sponsors’ donations, provide programs that will improve the living conditions of your child as well as their family and neighbors.

What is expected of me?
Your monthly child sponsorship gift is vital to making sure that the programs that benefit your sponsored child continue. We encourage you to set up your sponsorship on an automatic donation, which saves processing time and expense, so that we can better serve the field. You will be invited to set up your automatic donation when you begin your sponsorship. Besides your financial commitment, we hope you’ll also choose to write letters, pray, and advocate for your child.

How long does a child sponsorship commitment last?
There is no minimum or maximum time period for child sponsorship. When you sponsor a child, we hope that you will develop a long-term relationship that will continue until the child is no longer in the program – graduates, ages out, moves from the community – at which time we will transfer your sponsorship to another child in the same area. If it is necessary for you to end your sponsorship at any time, please call our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259. Your sponsorship will continue until we hear otherwise from you.

How will my sponsored child learn about Jesus?
FH works with communities to bring the knowledge and love of Jesus in a culturally appropriate way by walking with families and children in relationship. FH staff hold trainings in community centers, after-schools clubs, and in home groups. Not only do these lessons help shape your sponsored child’s biblical worldview, they also help diminish violence against children and connect people to God’s love in profound ways.

What do sponsored children receive?
FH staff work with churches, leaders, and families to produce a development plan in your sponsored child’s community. The plan includes equipping each family and community to adequately provide for their children’s needs. This community transformation plan has a strong impact on children through meeting basic needs (water and food), education, spiritual development and health (medical care).

How do I update my payment information?
Most payment information can be updated on the Billing page when you are signed into your account. If you’d like assistance with this page or would prefer to make the update over the telephone, please call our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259, and we will be able to update our records for you.

Does my money go directly to my sponsored child or his/her family?
We believe that when a community is equipped to care for its most vulnerable members, everyone is served and poverty is eliminated. As such, your donations are never given directly to your sponsored child or family. By helping to meet the community’s basic needs, such as food, water, education, medical care, and more, your sponsored child will thrive. Your monthly gift equips us to help that child’s community tackle their biggest obstacles.

How does my child directly benefit from my support?
Your monthly gift will help FH assist your child’s entire community to provide food, a better education, clean water, and medical treatment to its children — including your sponsored child. Through your support, your child will be blessed with improved nutrition, educational opportunities, life-changing training for parents, and safer environments. Not only that, but your sponsored child will know that someone loves them and wants them to succeed.

I am no longer able to continue with my child sponsorship donations. Is there any way to that I can still be involved with Food for the Hungry’s work?
Maybe you would consider giving to Children in Crisis which still allows you make a difference in the lives of children but is less of a financial commitment than child sponsorship. You can become a Children in Crisis partner for $9 per month. These donations are used during times of disaster and conflict, when children are often the most forgotten victims. In situations where immediate needs must be met, such as food and water, the Children in Crisis fund extends a helping hand to those who need it most. For further information, or to enroll, please contact a member of our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259.

In addition to your financial gift, we encourage you to keep these children in your prayers. It’s a simple and compassionate way to join us in our work.

How do I cancel my sponsorship?

If you should find it necessary to cancel your child sponsorship, please call our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259, and we will be able to do that for you. Please note that this process cannot be completed online and we also require at least five business days to prevent an automatic donation from processing.


Child Sponsorship: Communicating with your sponsored child

How do I write to my sponsored child?
You can write a letter to your sponsored child via traditional mail or electronically.

If you would like to write a traditional letter, you can mail it to us at the following address: Food for the Hungry Child Mail 1224 E. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85034. Remember to write your Child’s ID # on your letter as well as anything you may choose to enclose with it (cards, photos, stickers, bookmarks, postcards, scripture cards, small paper puzzles, sports cards, etc). Please do not send metal, jewelry, cash, clothing, toys, or candy. If any of these prohibited items are received, they will be donated to a local charity that works with children in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

If you would like to send your letter electronically, you can do that through your online account under “My Commitments” or by clicking here. You can attach photos using the link above.

When writing to your sponsored child, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

Remind the child he is special, loved, smart and full of potential. Tell him you care about him, and that’s why you’re his sponsor.

Tell the child about your family and the place you live. Ask her about her family and about the place she lives. Ask about the food, holidays, culture, weather and so on.

Ask the child what he likes to do, and share some of the things you like to do. Share stories about having good character by serving others and being honest. Tell the child that God has a plan for her life. If you pray for her and her family regularly, tell her so!

Sponsor letters are very powerful for the children. It is amazing how even a short note can be a great encouragement! After you have written, you can expect to receive a response within approximately 90 days.

What can I send to my sponsored child?

As a sponsor, the most meaningful gifts you can send are photos, letters and encouragement. If you wish to include an additional gift with your correspondence, you may also send small, flat items that can fit into a standard #10 size envelope, have a value of less than $5 dollars and contain no books, clothes, food, liquids, or metals. Please send no more than three to six items per mailing. For an item to fit into a standard #10 envelope, it must be no greater than:

  • 6 – 1/8 inches in height
  • 11 – ½ inches in length
  • ¼ inch thick
  • 3.5 ounces in weight

 

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.

Example of things that can be sent:

  • Stickers
  • Bookmarks – even if they have a tassel
  • Paper pop-out pictures (3D snow globe, origami, vase, etc.)*
  • Pieces of drawing paper, writing paper, or coloring pages
  • Pictures
  • Foam items (foam bookmarks)*
  • Stencils (paper ones)
  • Cardboard items (as long as they are not too thick)
  • Seeds to plant fruits, vegetables, or flowers
  • Sport cards – baseball, hockey, basketball, etc. (not an entire pack of cards)
  • Magnets (lightweight, not heavy)*
  • Puzzles (flat and small in size)*

*Please only send one, as they are usually bulky or thick.

Example of things which should not be sent:

  • Anything metal (jewelry, coins, etc.)
  • Books (including coloring books or jumbo ones)
  • Calendars
  • Cloth Items (clothes, handkerchiefs, knitted or sewed-together items, etc.)
  • Shoes
  • Dental items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc.)
  • Toys (dolls, cars, action figures, stuffed animals)
  • Food (includes gum, Tic Tacs, candy)
  • Balloons
  • Cash
  • Pencils and pens

Anything else – Please ask a Customer Service representative.

I wrote to my sponsored child but I have not received a response yet.
When you write a letter to your sponsored child, you should expect to receive a response from him or her within approximately 90 days. At certain times of the year (most notably Christmas), it can take slightly longer. Children are asked to respond to sponsor letters a minimum of four times per year. Some children write more often.

If I purchased something from the Gift Catalog can it get sent to my sponsored child or their community?

It is not possible to designate Gift Catalog items to specific countries, communities, or families. FH does not give gifts to individual families in our communities because we are engaged in long-term community development, which requires all the families to work together to raise themselves out of poverty. Past experience has shown that if individual families receive gifts it can cause jealousy and division within the community, which would be counterproductive to our work there, and may even put the family in danger. As part of the programs in our communities it is likely that your sponsored child’s family has already received this kind of help (goats, chickens, seeds, etc.) depending on where they live, and the individual needs of the community.

I signed up to sponsor a child but haven’t received my welcome packet yet.
Please allow approximately two to three weeks to receive your new sponsor welcome packet in the mail. If you still have not received a packet, please call our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259

What type of communication can I expect about or from my sponsor child?
All new child sponsors will receive an initial sponsorship welcome packet about two to three weeks after sponsoring. The packet will contain information about your sponsored child, the child’s family, and the community where your sponsored child lives. You will receive responses from your child when you write to him or her, a yearly update from your child’s country, and an annual Christmas card. Additionally, if we have your email on file, you’ll receive email communications about your sponsorship.

I received information for a different child than the one I originally signed up to sponsor.
Occasionally, when we receive a registration card from a new child sponsor, we discover that the child was recently sponsored by someone else. FH has a policy of one sponsor per child. If you sponsored a recently-sponsored child, we will substitute another child, preferably in the same community and of the same gender and similar age. If you have questions, please contact our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259.

It’s also possible that the child you had been previously sponsoring was no longer available for sponsorship. It is not uncommon for a child’s family to move out of the area in which we are operating if a job or opportunity becomes available elsewhere. As these situations arise, we notify sponsors as soon as we are aware, providing you with another child to sponsor in the same area. If for some reason you did not receive the information about your new sponsored child, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259.

Can I visit my sponsored child?
A sponsor/child visit is a wonderful experience for both the sponsor and the child, and we definitely encourage it! These visits do take a significant amount of time to plan, so we ask that you give us as much notice as possible, with eight weeks being the minimum. Please call our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259.

Why can’t I keep in touch with my former sponsored child?
Even if your sponsored child asks to keep in touch, we cannot facilitate continued contact with children after graduation. Once a child graduates and leaves the community for further education or work, it would place a burden on our staff to continue to translate and hand-deliver letters.

For your safety, we never allow your sponsored child to have your address. The conditions of the places we work could put you at risk for fraud if someone obtained your personal information.

For both the safety of sponsored children and the protection of sponsors, FH has created the following Electronic Communication Protection Policy.

While not widely practiced, some unscrupulous people have been known to use a sponsored child’s identity to create an account on a social networking site in the name of the child, and then contact sponsors to ask for money, or worse, threaten the child’s well-being if money is not provided. (Note: If this has happened to you, please report such activity to www.ic3.gov

Sponsored children have been known to contact their sponsor via email, Facebook or other electronic media, often asking for more money. Sponsored children in all of our communities are specifically informed that this is not allowed, as such communication creates an unsafe environment for the sponsor, child, and the child’s community.

If you are contacted by your sponsored child (or other family and community members) via email, Facebook, Twitter or other electronic media, please do not respond. Please take the following steps:

Contact Food for the Hungry at childmail@fh.org or our Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1.866.307.3259 to report the attempted contact. Use the social site “block” (if it is Facebook or Twitter) to block the person from asking you to be their friend.

Thank you for joining with us in adhering to the Electronic Communication Protection Policy and understanding the importance of protecting you and the families we serve around the world.


Child Sponsorship: Sensitive Communities

Firstly, what is a sensitive community?
We call a community “sensitive” when its culture or laws prevent us from practicing traditional evangelism. In some of these places, such evangelism is strictly illegal. Our local, trained Food for the Hungry staff enter these unreached places and bring the light of Christ in non-traditional ways. They never hide their faith but carefully seek culturally appropriate ways to share the Gospel “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). For the safety of the children and our staff, sponsors are not permitted to write about Jesus in their letters to these children.

How will my sponsored child learn about Jesus?
Your sponsorship supports things like after-school children’s clubs where children and workers may share their faith directly with those who show interest. Your sponsorship can also support things like our ability to come alongside local believers to equip and support them to minister to your sponsored child in a culturally appropriate way.

Ultimately, we believe the Holy Spirit is actively moving in your child’s community to draw hearts and minds to Jesus. We encourage you to pray continually that the Spirit will open pathways for effective evangelism between our field staff and community members.

Why can’t I share about Jesus to my sponsored child?
Here, it’s about culture. While the Good News by itself may not be offensive to children and their families in sensitive communities, the way it is communicated has a great influence on how it is received. Not everyone communicates as directly as Americans, so we leave it up to our expert colleagues on the ground who know best how to share biblical values within their own culture. While this vital aspect of culture may be hard for us to understand, ignoring it can cause great harm and actually can hinder the Gospel from spreading.

What can I write to my sponsored child?
Your letters still can have a profound impact on your sponsored child’s life!

Remind the child he is special, loved, smart and full of potential. Tell him you care about him, and that’s why you’re his sponsor.

Tell the child about your family and the place you live. Ask her about her family and about the place she lives. Ask about the food, holidays, culture, weather and so on.

Ask your sponsored child what he likes to do, and share some of the things you like to do!

Share stories about having good character by serving others and being honest.

Tell your sponsored child that God has a plan for her life. If you pray for her and her family regularly, tell her so!

Please don’t use the words “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Holy Spirit,” Bible,” etc., but talk about God in general terms. You are not hiding your faith. Instead, you are respecting the child’s unique culture and trusting local believers to share the truth at the right time, with guidance from the Holy Spirit.

If your sponsored child lives in a sensitive community, learn more about communicating with him/her here.

What about photos?
Although it’s not a requirement to send photos, children love to receive pictures of their sponsors, and we definitely encourage you to send them!

Send photos of yourself and your family. Please make sure your clothing is extremely modest — no tank tops, tight clothes, low-cut shirts or short skirts/shorts. Also, please refrain from having your pets in your photos, as dogs, pigs and other animals are considered unclean in many other cultures.

FINANCES

What is the breakdown of the FH operating expenses?
Food for the Hungry uses 83 percent of all resources to serve the people who need it most around the world. Through projects and education, FH partners with the poor to increase food supplies, clean water, medical care, spiritual support, and education. We help communities become self-sustaining. Thirteen percent of our operating expenses are used for all operations and field offices, with more than 2,000 staff worldwide. The remaining four percent is used for administration. Learn more about FH’s Financials here.

How do I know that my money is being used responsibly?
FH takes financial accountability very seriously. We exceed the standards of several groups, including the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Accord Network, and others.

Learn more about FH’s Financials here, including downloadable financial reports, such as current and prior year Annual Reports.

GIFT CATALOG

Why is the Bible listed as $10, but the add-on Bible is $13?
There was an error in the printing of our 2018 gift catalog. The correct price of the Bible is reflected in the add-on price and digital gift catalog at $13.

Why are children’s Bibles so much more expensive?
The price of each item largely depends on the specific countries where the item will go. However, children’s Bibles generally cost more because they are illustrated with pictures designed to share Bible stories and teach children about God. They’re more than just plain text, like the adult Bibles.

I thought school supplies/uniforms/desks/etc. were included in my sponsorship.
FH programs help your sponsored child get access to things like clean water, education, improved healthcare, and better nutrition through resources that empower the community to better care for its families and children. However, sometimes sponsorship funding doesn’t cover all of the expenses needed in a community. Giving a desk/school supplies/etc. helps improve education for children in the community by providing essential supplies so that all children in the community can stay in school and learn.

Why are some items online but not in the print gift catalog?
These are exclusive items. Space in the printed gift catalog is limited, but online we have the opportunity to expand our selection and provide “digital exclusives” that didn’t make it into the print edition.

How do you decide what items to offer in the catalog?
All of the items are suggested by our field offices, based on their operations budgets. The items represent real needs that our families have, that your gift will help them meet in the coming year.

I’ve also received gift catalogs from other organizations and your prices for livestock (goats, chickens, etc.) are much more or much less expensive than the others. How do you explain that?

Our prices in the gift catalog are based on reporting from our field offices. Prices for livestock can vary greatly from country to country, or even within regions of a developing country, depending upon many factors. Livestock prices will be more expensive if a community is extremely remote, requiring expensive transport to bring the animal to the marketplace, or if there has been a drought that has made livestock more scarce. Additionally, the age of the animal greatly affects our cost to purchase and distribute the animal. In general, younger animals cost less than an adult animal because it has cost the seller less money to raise them.

VOLUNTEER / ADVOCACY

How can I volunteer with or advocate for Food for the Hungry?
We’re glad you want to join us in serving the most vulnerable around the world. If you’d like to advocate, we have several examples of different ways you can get involved on our Advocacy page. Please fill out an application form, so we can get you started.

Volunteer at a concert. Sign up here.

Can I donate proceeds from a fundraising event to FH?

Yes! Gifts from people like you make our work possible. You can donate your fundraising in a one-time gift.