In partnership with professional athletes, a Christian organization launched an initiative that would support thousands of poor children in many countries, whose sponsorships were affected due to pandemic.
Compassion International (CI) partnered with athletes and ministries to set up "Fill the Stadium," a program that aims to provide food, medical care and support for impoverished children and their families during the coronavirus pandemic, The Christian Post (CP) reported.
Speaking to CP, Ken McKinney, spokesperson of the initiative, revealed that the pandemic impacted CI's fundraising efforts. More than 1,200 events were canceled due to shutdowns and COVID scare. As a result, 70,000 children, who are new into the program, were not able to receive support from the organization.
McKinney said that given the big problem on hunger, wherein people and children are dying out of extreme poverty, they realized that they have to find a way raising funds through the initiative.
He called for sports fans to support "underprivileged kids and their families." The $500 donation can already provide a year's worth of basic needs such as food, hygiene products, nutritional supplements and medical screenings.
As of April, they were able to fill in more than 49,000 seats of their goal of 70,000.
The athletes who partnered with the program include Minnesota Vikings' Dakota Dozier, Chicago Bears' Nick Foles, Baltimore Orioles' Chris Davis and Brock Huard, former member of Seattle Seahawks.
Huard told CP that his family has been supporting children through CI for decades already. His kids have even joined the organization in its humanitarian trips.
He shared that during a trip to Guatemala, he felt like the Holy Spirit spoke to him, revealing the enormity of the hardships being experienced by the third world countries compared to America.
"So many people have fallen below the poverty line, and the numbers are staggering. It's gotten so much worse amid COVID. It's catastrophic. The starvation is real, and the brokenness is real. I believe the Lord put me on those trips over the last few years before COVID hit so I could be aware of the catastrophic damage that it was going to do to them," Huard stated.
Huard then called for people in richer nations to sponsor kids facing hunger and poverty around the world, made worse by the pandemic. He also pointed out that one of the missions of CI is empowering the local church.
McKinney added that people in poor countries are seeking assistance from churches. Through this, many of these individuals are hearing the gospel for the first time.
"We give resources to churches to provide literal life-saving food distributions as well as the bread of life. Christ calls us to care for the orphan and the widow, to support those in need and to be stewards of what He's given us. It takes a kingdom mentality for us to make sure we are using the resources that God's entrusted us with to bless others," he continued.
"I think that's our biblical challenge: To use our resources to benefit those in need," McKinney concluded.
To know more about the initiative, visit Fill the Stadium.