On Friday morning, I attended the Operation Christmas Child wrap-up chapel at St. Joseph Christian School. While there, I was blessed to witness the kids, parents, and staff bring a huge mound of shoeboxes filled with gifts.
411 shoeboxes, to be exact.
Turns out, that’s the most of any organization in St. Joseph, according to our local newspaper.
So St. Joseph Christian has something they can be proud of. They’ve got LOTS of other things (if you ask me), but that’s not the point I want to make.
It’s the response, as evidenced by the first comment to the news article referenced above. It’s a comment I see almost every time there’s news about an organization making a difference in the lives of people overseas.
“Don’t forget about all of the kids here in the United States that need help too!”
Sure, it’s an innocent statement. It’s well-intentioned. And there’s truth… there ARE kids here with needs.
But not to the level of those overseas.
Have you seen the needs of a third-world child? Have you looked into their eyes, seeing their hurt first-hand? Have you seen their distended bellies, their scabies-infested skin, or lice-filled hair? Have you seen where they live? The food they eat (when they’re fortunate enough to have it)? The polluted streams they drink from?
Do you know any of their stories? Perhaps how one of their siblings has died due to malnutrition or lack of medical care? Or perhaps how their parents often see them as liabilities rather than blessings because of the poverty in which they live? Or perhaps how they’re forced into hard labor (or worse) just to survive?
And perhaps worst of all… have you seen how little hope their futures hold?
I have. And I can’t ignore it.
You see, simply by virtue of being born in the wealthiest country in the world, we have every advantage… every possibility… every chance we truly need at a future. Even the poor amongst us can have hope for a better tomorrow.
Not so in other parts of the world.
So forgive me if I get worked up about it. There’s just something inherently “unfair” about all of this.
Children everywhere deserve the right to hope.
If 411 shoeboxes can ensure that 411 more children have that right, that’s something all of us should stand up and applaud.
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