Giving Tuesday 2020: Rising Food Costs, Hungry Children

The cost of basic food has risen all around the world because of the pandemic, and families living in poverty can’t keep up. But this Giving Tuesday, Holt donors have the chance to do something about it and feed a hungry child. 

Can you imagine not having enough food to feed your child?

This is the heartbreaking reality for so many families living in poverty around the world. Unfortunately, food scarcity is nothing new to families working each day, hoping to make enough daily wage to buy food. But in 2020, there are new reasons why children are going hungry. (The same reason why Holt’s 2020 Giving Tuesday campaign is all about giving food to hungry children!)

Here’s why children are going hungry:

Continue reading “Giving Tuesday 2020: Rising Food Costs, Hungry Children”

The Only Home He Knew

When a tragic fire burns down an orphanage in Haiti, Holt donors immediately step up to provide nourishing food, safe shelter and psychological support for the 28 children who survive — including one boy who lost the only home he ever knew.

Samuel with a life skills trainer at the transit center where he has stayed since the fire at his orphanage in Haiti.
Samuel with a life skills trainer at the transit center where he has stayed since the fire at his orphanage in Haiti.

Ten-year-old Samuel can’t remember how old he was when his mom left him at an orphanage in Fermathe, a city just south of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. He was little, though — around 3 or 4 — and he remembers that his mom visited him for a while afterward. Until she didn’t. Continue reading “The Only Home He Knew”

5 Ways You Feed Hungry Children

Hunger is one of the most devastating needs among children living in poverty. Every day, our staff around the world meet new children who don’t have enough to eat. So many children are sick, dangerously thin, have low energy, listless eyes and more because of lack of food. It’s heartbreaking.

But hunger is also one of the biggest needs Holt donors help meet. This year alone, Holt donors will have helped to feed more than 50,000 children by Thanksgiving.

And for Thanksgiving this year, so many people are choosing to share their blessings with a child in need by giving them nourishing food.

Your gift to help feed a hungry child can look several different ways in the field. But by whatever means and in whichever circumstance, you help to meet children exactly where they are — rushing food to them in the moment they need it most.

Here are 5 ways you help feed children around the world!

Continue reading “5 Ways You Feed Hungry Children”

COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids

An interview with Hang Dam, country director for Holt Vietnam, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children and families in Vietnam — and how sponsors and donors are meeting their most urgent needs. 

Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support during the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam.
Thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, this family received emergency food and support  after they lost their source of income during the pandemic.

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s Vietnam programs?

We in Vietnam feel so blessed to be safe up to this point in time. All of our children are safe. None of them are diagnosed with the illness. But the pandemic has caused so many difficulties for the parents because so many have lost jobs. Even with the social distancing period over in Vietnam, many families still face difficulties finding a job due to the number of companies that had to close down or ran out of business. Families have fallen into financial crisis and are struggling with daily living and needing basic necessities for their children. Continue reading “COVID-19 in Vietnam: How the Pandemic is Affecting Sponsored Kids”

How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Kids in Thailand: a Q&A

An interview with Kobgarn Trakulvaree, executive director of Holt Sahathai Foundation, Holt’s partner organization in Thailand.

The generous gifts from Holt sponsors and donors helped provide everything masks and sanitizer to storybooks and toys to keep children occupied during the pandemic.
The generous gifts from Holt sponsors and donors helped provide everything from masks and sanitizer to storybooks and toys to keep children occupied during the pandemic.

How is the pandemic affecting children and families in Holt’s Thailand programs?

Ten percent of the families we are helping are actually unemployed due to the pandemic. The rest have experienced pay reduction. Prior to the pandemic, the average monthly income of these families was 5,000 Thai baht per month, or around $167 U.S. dollars. Since the pandemic, most of the average income is reduced to only 3,000 baht a month — around $90 U.S. dollars. And the minimum, the lowest pay that we have found was only $17 dollars … So it’s not hard to imagine that these families are facing really hard situations. Continue reading “How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Kids in Thailand: a Q&A”

Children Overcome Anemia in Rural Vietnam

Children’s health dramatically improves just one year after implementing Holt’s Child Nutrition Program in Vietnam.

Distant mountains lead to rolling green hillsides and stepped rice terraces in this rural agricultural province in Vietnam. The environment is beautiful, lush, fertile. So much so, that you would never know that children here suffer from malnutrition. Continue reading “Children Overcome Anemia in Rural Vietnam”

The Children Left Behind

When a news story broke in China about children who died by suicide after their parents migrated without them, it became clear this was more than a crisis of poverty. It was a crisis of loneliness and loss.

When Luan's parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.
When Luan’s parents left, she was left in charge of her younger brother and her elderly grandparents.

Luan doesn’t blame her parents for leaving. She loves them and forgives them for doing what they did. She even goes to visit her mom sometimes.

“I don’t know why she left me,” she says of her mom, “but I don’t blame her or hate her.”

Luan is among an estimated 60 million children in China who are growing up without their parents — left behind in rural villages in the care of elderly grandparents or relatives who struggle to provide for them on their own meager resources. In some cases, parents leave their children when they divorce, or when they remarry and their new spouse won’t accept children from a previous marriage. But most parents leave when they migrate to cities in search of work. They leave out of poverty, out of desperation. Continue reading “The Children Left Behind”

Holt Partners With Vitamin Angels in Uganda

In partnership with the nonprofit Vitamin Angels, Holt’s nutrition team helps bring vital supplements and medication to vulnerable women and children in rural Uganda. 

A health worker administers vitamin supplements to a child in rural Uganda.
A healthcare worker administers vitamin supplements to a child at a child health camp in rural Uganda.

In October 2018, Holt’s nutrition team launched a partnership with Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides vitamins and deworming medication to mothers and children under age 5 who are at risk of malnutrition. Continue reading “Holt Partners With Vitamin Angels in Uganda”

I Won’t Give Up On Her

In the summer of 2016, Holt sponsor and then Holt employee Billie Loewen met a very sad, hungry girl in a remote village in Cambodia. She immediately signed up to sponsor her. Four years later, she receives an update that makes her heart soar.

In the first week of every month, I pull open the Excel spreadsheet with four years of monthly budgets. I open the Chase app and Wells Fargo and drift quickly over the charges, looking for anything amiss. The single line with a shortened title, “HOLT INTL CHILD,” and associated charge — $38 — always catches my eye.

Most months, paying bills is the only time I think about what it costs to sponsor the beautiful, shy, heartbreakingly sad little girl I met in a village in Cambodia on a scorching hot, dusty day in 2016.

Tiny, impossibly thin with straggly hair turning yellow from lack of nutrition, and a broad face with deep, serious eyes, 10-year-old Phal captured my entire heart the moment I saw her.

It’s been four years since I met her, and I think about her a lot.

Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.
Photos of Phal over four years of sponsorship reports. Her first photo is in the bottom right corner. Her most recent photo is top left.

Continue reading “I Won’t Give Up On Her”