Every child that comes to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) has one thing in common – hunger. Some are hungry for food and some are hungry for hope. Some are hungry for love and some are hungry for safety. Some are hungry for a kind word and some are hungry for a caring touch. Some are hungry for someone they can trust. Some are hungry for an opportunity to learn. Some are hungry to escape their chaos. But whatever their reason, they are all hungry in their own way.
Many of the children in BCH’s care have lived in situations where there was not always food, clean clothes, kind words, or caring embraces. Far too often, their lives have been filled with chaos, pain and hopelessness.
A child who is hungry finds it hard to be hopeful. A child who is ignored stops talking. A child robbed of affection won’t give or receive hugs. A child who experiences betrayal struggles to trust.
Children who come into our care and are hungry for food eat as if they will not eat again in a long time. I have seen a child stare at his plate as if he can’t believe the food is really for him. Some children actually put food in their pockets and then hide it in their rooms. As they begin to feel safe and secure, those that gorged themselves slow down. Those who are more timid begin to feel at home and simply enjoy the meal.
Mealtimes at BCH are about filling tummies, but it is also about more. For many of our boys and girls, food represents love, hope and security. Meals are times to offer encouragement and give loving hugs. Eating the meal prepared by their cottage parents is a perfect time to catch up on the day’s events. Meals are a time when cottage parents and children sit, listen and learn from each other. With as many as 12 children sitting around the dining room table, all experience a feeling of home. Devotions and presenting the Gospel message of God’s love, healing and hope follow many breakfasts and evening meals.
Jenny lives at Broyhill Home in Clyde. Sherman lives at Kennedy Home in Kinston. Jenny and Sherman have things in common. They both came to us this past year and they both came hungry – hungry for food, hungry for a home, hungry for safety, and hungry for hope.
Sherman told me that he felt abandoned. He felt his own mother did not love him. He went on to tell me: “I was angry. I was empty.”
Sherman knows what it is like to be hungry physically and to wonder when he would eat again. He knows what it is like to be hungry emotionally and to feel as if no one cares. He knows spiritual hunger as well.
Recently while sharing his testimony, Sherman said: “When I first came to Kennedy Home I pushed everyone away. But the staff at Baptist Children’s Homes are very stubborn people. They do not give up on you. They get to you.”
Sherman recounted how on one particular night, feeling desperate, he got out of bed, fell on his knees and began weeping and crying out to God. He said his cottage parents helped him as he sought answers to the questions he had on his heart. In August of 2015, Sherman asked Jesus to come into his heart. He says that his favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jenny’s life was filled with despair. Like Sherman, Jenny had known what it was like to be hungry physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jenny shared: “When I first came to Broyhill Home I was very hurt. I felt abandoned and I felt like there was no need to even be alive. I had lived a childhood that no child should have to live. A childhood filled with drugs and fighting.”
Jenny’s father committed suicide when she was 11. Because her mother struggled with her own issues, Jenny’s mom was unable to care for her. Since living at Broyhill, Jenny has been fed physical food, emotional food and spiritual food. She is quick to tell anyone that she loves Broyhill. She says her life is better. She says that everything she experiences at Broyhill brings light to her life. Like Sherman, her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. Jenny is planning to go to college and one day serve as part of the juvenile justice system.
For Jenny and Sherman, Baptist Children’s Homes is home – home is where your needs are met. Thank you for helping to make a home for the children who turn to us hungry.
In the past two years, the numbers BCH is feeding has increased by more than 24%. We could not meet this need without your help. Please help feed the children.
For more information on how you can be a part of meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of these precious children, call Brenda Gray at 336-689-4442. For more information on BCH’s Food Roundup, go online at www.bchfamily.org/ foodroundup.