Update: How You’re Helping Children & Families During COVID-19

From giving emergency food, water and medical supplies to supporting tele-counseling and more, you are doing amazing things to help children and families during this global health crisis. Here are the latest updates from the field.

Over the past few months, we’ve received lots of questions from you about how the coronavirus crisis is affecting children and families you help around the world.

In many ways, their lives may look similar to yours right now: children are home from school, parents are out of work or trying to find ways to work from home, they’re staying home — or wearing a mask when they have to go out in public. Parents and Holt staff in the field are teaching and reminding kids to “Wash your hands!” and “Don’t touch your face!”

But for children without families and families in poverty — the children and families you support — the effects of this coronavirus pandemic could have been devastating.

While the crisis is still ongoing and children and families will continue to face needs in the weeks and months to come, right now we want to share some good news…

Because of you, to date, our staff tell us that not one child in our programs has gotten sick from the coronavirus. Children who were hungry now have food. Families in crisis are getting the help they need! 

Here are just some of the amazing updates on children and families you’ve helped since this crisis began.


Of all the children and families you support around the world, children and families in India were perhaps hit the hardest by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. When parents lost their jobs and were under a stay-at-home order in their slum communities, they ran out of food within a couple of days. Their need was immediate. They feared their children would starve.

But because of you, our partner organizations on the ground were able to help immediately.

In the past weeks and months, they’ve delivered food baskets to over 1,800 families in greatest need. Social workers are offering support and counseling to families as they stay quarantined together, and some field offices are offering online classes and meetings to continue supporting the families in our family strengthening program.  

Hannah (front) sent us this selfie on the evening that her family received your emergency food shipment!

Hannah and her siblings went four days with no food. As soon as we heard about their need, we reached out to you to help send them emergency food right away. Hannah is just 18 years old and is in charge of her siblings since her mother passed away and her father abandoned their family. Their story is heartbreaking. But also full of hope — because of you! Thank you for sending them the emergency food they needed!

“During this lockdown, you gave me courage and faith by providing us with food assistance. When I received this help, I was so happy and believed that God is there. You have comforted families during this lockdown like a mother comforting her child.”

Haashini, a single mother of four

Another family that received food is single mom Haashini and her four daughters. Haashini used to work as a maid in a family’s home. She used to feed her children with leftover food her employers gave her. But she hasn’t had work since the coronavirus pandemic began. Her children were hungry. But then you sent them emergency food!

“During this lockdown, you gave me courage and faith by providing us with food assistance. When I received this help, I was so happy and believed that God is there. You have comforted families during this lockdown like a mother comforting her child,” Haashini says.


In Phnom Penh, you help children in rural villages go to school each year. And now, you’re providing handwashing stations to help them stay healthy and stop the spread of the coronavirus!

In addition to handwashing stations, you’re also providing emergency food to children and families in Cambodia. So many parents in our programs have lost their jobs, and have very little — or even zero — income right now. But your gift of nourishing, emergency foods like boxed soup, pictured below, is keeping children from going hungry.

Whether you gave in response to our urgent coronavirus campaign, as a sponsor, or even as a Gift of Hope last year, your heartfelt generosity is helping families all around the world to get through this crisis! Families like Narin and his family in Cambodia! Because of the coronavirus, Narin’s dad lost his job. But two years ago, you gave his mom a sewing machine as a Gift of Hope. Right now, her tailoring business is her family’s only source of income — bringing in $5 a day to help them buy food. Read more about Narin’s family here!


It seems so simple. Soap and water. But in Haiti, essentials like clean water and soap are hard to come by. Without soap and water, parents and caregivers didn’t know how they would prevent the spread of the coronavirus in orphanages and impoverished communities.

But with your help, Holt Haiti distributed handwashing kits to orphanages and impoverished neighborhoods where children and families in our programs live. Each station can serve up to 400 people and consists of a clean water dispenser, one gallon of bleach and one gallon of liquid soap.  Children in orphanages are using these water dispensers to prevent the spread of the virus! To go along with it, Holt staff in the field are provided handwashing training and instruction for the children!

Schools are closed right now for kids in Haiti, but when the reopen, children will continue to use these handwashing stations all year round. Thank you for keeping kids and families healthy during this pandemic!


You support an orphanage of 600 children in the city of Wuhan — the city in China  that a few months ago was at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Back in February, before the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic, these children and children in orphanages throughout China’s Hubei province needed urgent help right away. You helped send an emergency shipment of medical masks, disinfectant, thermometers and more to protect them. Orphanage caregivers used these supplies daily as they cared for the children. Orphanage doctors and nurses used them for medical checkups. They used these supplies to keep coronavirus out of the orphanage. And it worked! Not one child got sick.

Just last week, Holt received a letter of thanks directly from China’s Department of Child Welfare. We were so humbled to receive this heartfelt thank you, and want to share an excerpt of it with you:

“… In difficult times, Holt responded quickly and took active action, donating epidemic prevention supplies to many child welfare institutions and juvenile relief and protection institutions in Wuhan and other places, effectively ensuring the safety and health of children and working staff in the institutions. So far, all child welfare institutions and juvenile relief and protection institutions made a ‘zero infection record’ … Please accept our sincere appreciation, thank you for your outstanding contribution in the epidemic prevention and control in our child welfare field, thank you for your great support to our child welfare work.”  

At this orphanage in China, caregivers wear the protective equipment gifted by Holt donors. Children’s faces are obscured to protect their privacy.


In Colombia, you helped our partner La Casa hire additional caregivers as well as purchase masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, biohazard bags and disposable gowns for caregivers to protect the children from the virus. “Our efforts could not be possible without the generosity of our donors, families and friends… GOD BLESS YOU,” they wrote in a recent thank you message.

Caregivers wear masks provided by donors as they hold children at our partner care center in Bogotá.
Caregivers wear masks provided by donors as they hold children at our partner care center in Bogotá.


At the Holt-supported orphanage in Ethiopia, you helped provide masks, gloves, disinfectant and handwashing supplies to protect the children in care. And in the surrounding communities, our social workers reached out to 6,865 households to teach them about COVID-19 and how families can practice hygiene and sanitation to keep themselves healthy.

Children at the orphanage in Ethiopia are wearing the protective equipment you sent them!


In Thailand, you provided 250 families with care packages full of rice, cooking oil, fish oil, instant noodles, canned foods, baby formula, detergent, soap, toothpaste, disinfectant, cloth masks and more!

And you gave face masks for children living in orphanage care or with foster families. Because so many of these children have special needs, they and their caregivers were so grateful for these masks to use during doctor’s appointments.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, hungry children and families have received emergency food boxes of rice, sardines, coffee and soymilk. You also made it possible to provide emergency cash assistance to families in greatest need — helping them stay in their homes and out of debt during this difficult time without their normal income.


In Vietnam, you helped provide hand sanitizers, soap, thermometers, face masks and vitamin supplements to build up children’s immune systems. You also helped our orphanage partners pay overtime wages to staff and caregivers, who are working longer hours to care for children. Even during a pandemic, you’re helping to ensure that children’s needs are met, and they are receiving the best care possible.


In Uganda, Holt staff identified the families who were most impacted by the coronavirus and who had the most urgent needs. These 26 families received flour, beans, cooking oil, salt and soap.

At Holt, we have felt so encouraged and amazed by your generosity over these difficult past few months. Even in hard times, your compassion and care for children around the world is unwavering.

On behalf of the children and families we serve together with you, thank you.

Support Holt’s Child Nutrition Program

Your gift to Holt’s child nutrition program will provide life-changing nutrition and feeding support to children living in poverty and in orphanages around the world.

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