Back in 2004, a few months after I began my first real job, I decided I wanted to sponsor a child in need. I had heard about the big Christian organizations like Compassion and WorldVision, but I did a little web searching for a specifically Catholic organization, one that would support the Catholic faith of its sponsees. That's how I discovered CFCA, the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. CFCA matches sponsors (mostly by making presentations in Catholic parishes throughout the United States) with impoverished children and aging people in 25 countries. According to their website, "Sponsorship provides for fees, books, school uniforms and supplies - items children living in poverty cannot afford. Our work enhances the lives of the poor with clothing, nutrition and household items needed for basic comfort and good health." CFCA is not a Catholic missionary organization, so they do not proselytize sponsees of other faiths. But if the sponsees' family and community are Catholic, sponsorship dollars also go towards their catechetical formation. I know this because my sponsored child told me about the benefits he receives.
I am happy to introduce you to Manuelito, a sixteen-year-old boy living in a village outside of Manila, Phillippines. He is the oldest of three children of a casual laborer and his wife. Manuelito attends school and does well in his studies (I get to see a copy of his report card - in tagalog and English - every year). In his most recent letter he told me that he is now folk dancing with his school's intramural team. He also won second place overall in their Mr. Teen competition. Woohoo!
Isn't he a cutie?
And isn't this a great card that he designed and wrote for me?
(Note: due to the time delay in our communications, I just received this card that he made me in February. And he hadn't heard at that time that I'm married now and have a new last name.)
If you are interested in sponsoring a child, aging person, or religious vocation candidate, visit CFCA's sponsorship page for more information.