Wondering how to best support a friend or family member who has signed up to host an orphan in their home? Often times, a host family’s local community, church or small group really WANTS to help but just isn’t sure how. Keep reading for our TOP TEN ways to support an orphan host family.
1. DONATE OR HELP FUNDRAISE
Just like there are fees for you to travel overseas, there are similar fees for our host children to travel to America such as costs to secure a child’s passport and travel visa, translation of a child’s documents, in-country transport, international airline tickets, medical insurance and a portion of the traveling expenses associated with the chaperone. If you’d like to help the host family, you can make a tax-deductible donation to Project 143 on their behalf. Or, if they are planning a fundraiser, support or assist them any way you can.
2. NEW (OR GENTLY USED) CLOTHING AND SHOES
When the children arrive for hosting, they come with only the clothes on their back. Each host family will need a small, seasonal wardrobe for their host child. Taking the time to go through your child’s closet and pulling some things you are no longer using would be a great help to a host family. Or, a gift card to a local store that allows the host parent and child to shop together would also be a great option.
3. FRESH/FREEZER MEAL DROPOFF
Getting a host child acclimated to a new time zone, new home and new family is no easy task. Consider dropping off a meal once a week or even a freezer meal that can be saved for a busy day later in the host season. Or, phone the host mom the night before you head to the grocery store and ask her to tell you 5 must have items and drop them off on her porch the next day. We can name at least one… fruit, fruit and more fruit. These kids LOVE fresh fruit!
4. CONNECTIONS TO LOCAL EYE AND DENTAL OFFICES
Do you work for an eye doctor or dentist or know someone who does? Help the host family find an eye doctor willing to perform an eye exam for their host child and provide eye glasses, if needed. Or, find a local dentist willing to donate cleaning and x-rays. Very few of our host children have access to eye and dental care in their home country so this is a huge benefit to their overall health.
5. ADVOCATE FOR THEIR HOST CHILD
The more people sharing about the host child and his or her need for a loving family – the better! One of the best ways to get to know a host child is to schedule a play date or outing with the host family. This will give you an opportunity to build a relationship with their host child and offer the host parent time to recharge with some adult conversation.
6. NEW (OR GENTLY USED) TOYS, CRAFTS AND BOARD GAMES
If the host family is welcoming a child of a different age and stage from their own children, they will likely need some additional indoor and outdoor toy options. Take a look in your playroom or garage and pull some things you are no longer using. Craft items are also needed; anything that can get the imagination flowing. Board games and card games are terrific because many don’t require English to quickly learn how to play.
7. NEW (OR GENTLY USED) BACKPACK, SUITCASE OR OTHER DONATIONS TO SEND HOME
Each host child will return to their home country with a new backpack (for school) and suitcase. The size and weight of the suitcase varies for each country, so ask what size is allowed before rushing out to purchase. Some host families also choose to send back a few donations for the child’s orphanage and would appreciate your support collecting those items.
8. GIFT AN EXPERIENCE
Consider giving the host family a day trip to the zoo, aquarium or an afternoon of bowling. Adding an extra child (or two) can make special events out of reach financially. Do you have access to tickets for a special event or know someone who does? Or, maybe you have a boat and would be willing to invite the host family to the lake for a day of fishing or swimming. Gift a host family a special day to create more memories with their host child.
9. GIFT CARD TO A LOCAL STORE
This might be the easiest option, give the host family a gift card inside a sweet note of encouragement. A host family will need toiletries and basics for that child in the form of pajamas, socks, underwear and more things they haven’t thought of yet! A gift card to a local big box store is a genuine lifesaver!
10. GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS
Are you a photographer or someone with a great camera and a good eye? All host families will be creating a photo album for their host child. Most host children don’t have a single photo of themselves and they love to share the host program photos after hosting. Consider scheduling a little time with your local host family to capture a few more memories for them and their host child.
Does all this talk about hosting have you interested in hosting yourself? Want to know more about what’s involved? Take a look at the children available for hosting in the upcoming season here in our photolisting – www.p143.org/pre-registration/