Poverty busters worldwide were recently joined by a host of Calgarian Vacation Bible School (VBS) attendees. Ninety elementary-aged children from two churches in Calgary teamed up to take poverty alleviation seriously by raising funds to furnish a school in a developing community. Knowing that children there are forced to learn without desks or school supplies, these VBS kids tackled their goal with a roar!
The churches wove the fundraiser into their four-day VBS program this past summer. “We hosted the safari-themed ROAR - Life is Wild, God is Good! program at Emmanuel Christian Reformed Church,” explained Kristina Prins, one of the event organizers. “We wanted to bring the word of God to children in our community, and give them the opportunity to give and bless others.”
Each day, kids watched videos about children’s lives in African countries. “We loved the idea of kids learning about other children around the world, and for kids to have the opportunity to bless others who aren't as fortunate,” commented Kristina.
The VBS kids found the videos a real eye-opener. “It is sad and dangerous that girls have to spend all day getting water, and that people still get sick from it,” said seven-year-old Emmit. “It made me happy to see videos of people getting out of poverty!” These conversations didn’t just stay at VBS—kids brought up these topics in their homes with parents and other family members, and were able to collect donations by sharing with friends and family.
As funds accumulated, the children’s passion shone through. “We had a donation tracker located by the entrance, and each day kids would excitedly check how much money was collected, and how close we were to our $500 goal to furnish a school,” explained Kristina. “We also included a few 'extra' items that we could add to our donation—like a Dairy Cow, Water Tap, etc. which was definitely needed, as we collected $631!”
|For many of the younger VBS attendees, the videos about life in
FH communities was their first exposure to life overseas.
“It was very good to raise money for a classroom because it’s important for kids to learn they can have better lives!" explained Emmit. "And it was really good that we could also buy a cow so they have good food to eat, and that we could even get a water tap too so that their water would be clean, and it won’t be all dirty.” Clearly, this was no monkey business!
Everyone was thrilled to have surpassed the goal. Partway through the week, an anonymous donor called in to pledge an additional $500 if they met their goal, fueling the kids' excitement. “The enthusiasm of our children was inspiring,” said Kristina, “I think that the combination of watching FH videos, discussions, and the challenge helped the kids feel more connected to this cause.”
Fighting poverty isn’t just for charities and governments. If a seven-year-old “poverty buster” has what it takes to change someone’s well being, then so do you! Sometimes it takes a group of 90 poverty-fighting VBS kids to remember that.
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