Footprints with Hope began as an official foundation in November of 2019. Christmas in Colombia was our first project. The Colombian Methodist Church asked if we could help the children of Colombia experience the joy of Christmas. The response from donors was overwhelming and the compassion of those gifts left a significant impact on the communities impacted. The turnaround was very quick because the foundation had only been open a matter of weeks. Thus, there was little time to raise the desired amount to help those communities in need.
As we approached the idea and began the fundraising process, we learned that in order to adequately execute the project, each community would need an estimated amount of $200 to be able to buy gifts for up to 80 children. The funds also included the ability to purchase special drinks and snacks, traditional to a Colombian Christmas celebration. Many of us here in the United States spend $200 (if not more) on just one child; imagine carrying that amount over to supply an entire village of children with gifts that will bring them joy. The communities we served in 2019 with Christmas in Colombia included Santa Rita, Barranquilla, Brisas del Mar, Palmito, and Caucasia. This year, with the help of our donors once again, we are hopeful to help eight communities. Those will include: Santa Rita, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Brisas del Mar, Caucasia, Palmito, Sincelejo, and Buena Ventura.
When serving these communities through the project of Christmas in Colombia, each of you who contribute is leaving a footprint in the community. The children receiving these gifts are living in a location which is considered displaced due to the 50 year-long war which took place in Colombia. Under most circumstances, a displaced community is neglected. The health care is inadequate, many of the children are living day to day with minimal portions of food, and income is scarce. The children often do not have pencils and notebooks, let alone toys. I’ve witnessed children in these villages using simple sticks and stones to play a game. Last year, when the received their gifts, the joy on their faces was unmistakable. They held in their hands treasures for their world.
Not only did this encourage the children, but the gifts also brought tears of joy for the parent(s). I sat and listened to stories of moms whose child had received a gift, share through their tears, the impact this act had on their life, not just their child. They asked me why we cared? The Colombians wondered why those of us here in the United States would want to spend our money on a person or child we’d never met. For these moms, one simple act became a memorable milestone they will never forget.
Why We Do It
It is for those reasons and more that when we were asked to do Christmas in Colombia for the 2020 year, we did not hesitate to say yes. This year has been challenging for all of us. COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way or another. The entire world around us is changing rapidly in response to the virus, and that stretches us all emotionally. Many people have lost their jobs, which challenges the economy. And we have obviously been physically impacted with the virus hitting those at risk and spreading like wildfire. To say this has been a tough year would be an understatement.
It hasn’t just touched our every day lives in the United States, but it’s been a global pandemic which has impacted the world, and Colombia is of no exception. We choose to work on the project of Christmas in Colombia in spite of the obstacles that confront us because we exist to carry hope to Colombia one step, one small act at a time.
The times are tough for all of us, but as we referred to in our $9 blog, the way of life in Colombia is very different from our comfortable lives. We do face our own struggles, but as we face those struggles, it is amazing what doing a small act for someone else can do to bring perspective. Even a donation of $5 goes a long way with this program.
Footprints with Hope exists so that we can carry hope to Colombia. They have shared their frustrations and discouragements with us during this time. We feel that Christmas in Colombia is one way to bring a little smile to a time of hardship. It is an avenue to share a little love with a community feeling neglected. Sending money to them to purchase the gifts in country is a way to boost their economy, even if in a small way. It is a glimpse of Christ’s love during a season we celebrate Him. Christmas isn’t about gifts, we know that. But it is about love. It is about sharing. And it is about hope.
That is why we invite you to participate with us in Christmas in Colombia. To make a donation to this project, which goes through November 30, please visit this page and help us carry hope to Colombia one step, one project, at a time.