Stand for Orphans: Thinking Outside OurselvesBrook Hills Contributor
“Mom, can we PLEASE do a lemonade stand today,” begged the kids. They had been wanting to do one for a long time, so I reluctantly agreed to do a stand that hot day in May 2015. We gathered a poster board, some lemonade, a table, and headed down to a park in our neighborhood. We profited about $20 that day, and the Lord birthed an incredible idea in the hearts of our children.
While we were sitting there doing our stand, one by one, ideas began to pop up. One child commented that they wanted to give the money we raised that day to Lifeline. Wheels started turning, and my children were blurting out ideas fast and furiously: “Let’s not only give this money to Lifeline, but let’s encourage other kids to host their own stands and give the money to help kids around the world.” “What if we asked a donor to match all the money raised this summer up to a certain dollar amount?” Later that day, when Herbie got home, we bombarded him with all our ideas and then asked if we could call Rick Morton, Lifeline’s Vice President of Engagement, to share our ideas with him as well. That night we bought the domain names: standfororphans.com and standfororphans.org. Stand for Orphans® was official.
As a family, we have spent many hours in orphanages around the world, places like China and Colombia. The sights and smells are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Seeing orphans with my own eyes definitely spurs me to do something for them. It took the simple idea of selling lemonade to bring to fruition what had been stirring in my heart for years—a means of engaging children here at home to do something tangible to help children around the world.
From a young age, we have tried to teach our children that life is not about them. Stand for Orphans is a great way to demonstrate this truth. They use hard work and determination, not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Nothing makes me more excited than to see my kids’ passion for helping children around the world who are just like them.
Many times, as the church, I think we have the mindset that serving is reserved for adults. However, I strongly believe that the more we involve children in thinking about and serving others, the more likely it will become a natural part of their lives. Thus, serving others will be carried into adulthood and throughout their lives. The values of generosity, serving others, compassion, selflessness, hard work, determination, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship are taught through Stand for Orphans. Aren’t these values that we all want for our children? Stand for Orphans is a perfect way to engage your kids at an early age in caring for others—even people they cannot see with their own eyes. It is a simple, yet effective way to engage local communities to make a global impact.
Why should we participate?
There are 153 million orphans worldwide that need our help! God commands us in James 1:27 to care for the orphan and the widow. While adoption is certainly one way to care for the orphan, the reality is that less than half of one percent of all orphans will be adopted. Consequently, that leaves millions of precious image-bearers languishing in orphanages around the world. While you may not be called to adopt, we can all do something to care for the fatherless.
What should we sell at our stand?
Anything! Lemonade, brownies, cookies, bracelets, slime, hand-made crafts, etc. Get creative!
When/where should we do our stand?
Location, location, location—it really does matter. The last thing you want to do is get all set up and then not have any customers. Try to go to a populated place such as a park, dog park, Farmer’s market, splash pad, or in front of a local business (make sure to ask for permission first!). Do a stand in conjunction with a yard sale—a neighborhood yard sale would be even better!
Who can be involved?
Anyone—young to not so young. This is what makes Stand for Orphans such a unique fundraiser. Use it as an opportunity to bring your family together to help those who don’t yet have a family.
How can I get started?
Sign up for a free kit at standfororphans.com!
Help us spread the word so that numerous families will participate in the Stand for Orphans initiative, resulting in more children being helped. Post your pictures on social media using the hashtag #standfororphans and encourage others to do their own stands. Tell your small groups, book club, PTO, sports teams, etc., about Stand for Orphans and encourage them to do a stand as well. Perhaps your small group could get together and host a stand! Maybe you know someone who would be willing to match all the donations you make at your stand—who could you approach to ask if they would be willing to match?
Doing a lemonade stand as a child seems like a rite of passage. Why not make it count for something other than ourselves?
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Prov 11:25
Ashley Newell is married to Herbie and is the homeschool mama of three kids, Caleb (14), Adelynn (12), and Emily (9). The Newells have been at Brook Hills for 12 years. While Herbie enjoys serving in the student ministry, Ashley serves in the children’s ministry. Herbie serves as the Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services, an orphan care ministry focusing on adoption, foster care, birth mother ministry, and caring for the (un)adopted.