How You Can Help

¬†Since publicly announcing our plans to host orphans this holiday season, many people, online and in real life, have asked how they can help our family. It’s part of the reason I mentioned fundraising in my last post; I already knew there was interest. After giving it some thought, I wanted to compile everything in one place so all my friends can see what we’re in need of receiving.

I’ll also remind everyone that you can help our hosting efforts by supporting our family businesses. I mentioned the Minecraft Party Host, and there’s also my husband’s side software business. ¬†Please keep him in mind for all your business’ software development. I sell a few books, and I’m happy to announce a new edition of my planner.


The left side of the weekly spread now has six additional boxes vs the written entry. All the other pages remain the same.

It’s a little bit prettier and the weekly entries are removed so there’s more space to get organized! Coming soon will be a lengthy post (or maybe ebook?) or how to use a planner to control your family’s chaos, even if you’ve failed at using planners before.

And don’t forget my retreat book! Great for Advent and year round!

I wish my kids would fundraise on their own, however every idea they came up with actually equaled a ton of work for me so unless they get really ambitious, don’t worry about any cute Mantoan children selling you something. Although;

This handsome guy wants the orphans to enjoy their visit. Don’t you want to help him out???

Now the specifics. The first list will be items that people who live close to us can donate or loan. If you live near my parents, you can also pass along items to them.

One twin mattress (We have a frame.) This kills me because my parents just got rid of two, and then a few weeks later we decided to host orphans.
Girls winter clothes, sized 6-8. I don’t know exact sizes so I need a range.
Boys winter clothes, sized 8-10. I have some, but most are in use, or are pretty worn.

New items we will need to buy for the children:
underwear/ shirts
everyday shoes/sneakers
winter coats
Christmas stockings
personalized ornaments
twin bed sheet sets, twin mattress protector
small rolling luggage (carry on size) to take back with them

I’ve put several of these items on an Amazon Wishlist. The shoes and coats I’d like to let them pick out, thus the gift cards. I went with stores we have close by that we might already have some leftover gift cards for, plus, the kids need quality clothes, but nothing brand name (think Nike), as that increases the chance of another child stealing it once they return to the orphanage.
The Christmas stockings and ornaments aren’t really a need, but I thought it would make them feel more a part of the family. All my kids have simple stockings I’ve stenciled or embellished, and I’m hoping to make a couple for the orphans before they arrive.

Additional expenses:
Food – I had a local friend ask about bringing meals. I hate to say no, but, it would have to be dairy free and gluten-free and I don’t know yet whether or not either child has allergies. Plus, the food needs to be bland as these children aren’t used to seasonings (or sweeteners). So, please ask me again once the orphans have arrived, and if you can meet our dietary restrictions, we’d love it! Otherwise, Fresh Direct gift cards would be awesome! (Aldi’s and Shop Rite are the local favorites.)
Gas – We’ll need to take both vehicles everywhere. (Amazon doesn’t seem to have gas gift cards. Anyone local, a Wawa’s card would work.)
Crafts supplies – It’s recommended to keep things simple, especially with younger orphans. We’ve got some day trips we can do, but I’m also preparing to just stay put, make some homemade tree decorations, maybe gifts for each other and other enjoy time together at home. I also want to give the children the opportunity to take simple gifts back to other children in the orphanage. I’m also hoping to send each child back with a small photo album. (Jo-Ann gift cards are on the wish list but craft supplies that are NOT popsicle sticks are welcome.)

Eye appointments – I’m currently looking to get eye appointments for both children. Ideally a local eye doctor will donate services and frames, if needed, or at least offer a significant discount. Project143 recommends Lens Crafters, however if any of my local friends have a personal recommendation, please let me know.

We have been so blessed to get donated dental services from Dr. Lloyd Calder at Family Dentistry in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Now a few notes about what we don’t need. Basically, lots of flashy presents; the stuff of Black Friday sales flyers. We will be giving all the children three simple gifts, plus stocking stuffers consisting mainly of basic hygiene items. The grandparents, and our kids, know anything else will have to wait until after the orphans leave. We will pack their backpacks and hope that when they return to the orphanage they can keep at least a few of the items we send along. Anything electronic, fancy or high-end will make them a target for bullies.

Lastly, I hope it goes without saying that you don’t need to donate anything to me. As an overly organized person, this post/ list is my way of trying to answer everyone’s questions who’ve expressed interest in helping, but obviously you’re under no obligation. No hard feelings on this end!

However, as Christians we are commanded to help orphans.

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

There’s lots of ways to go about doing that. You can foster children, adopt domestically or internationally or host orphans for a winter or summer term as we’re doing. If you’re unable to do those things, donating to families that are trying to adopt, or organizations that arrange adoptions or hosting is another way you can make a difference. You can also support the adoptive, fostering and host families in your community by asking them what their needs are. I’ve seen the beauty of adoption through several of my closest friends, but I’ve also seen the stress. If you cannot adopt or foster, why not help make it easier in some small way for the people that are choosing to do so?

Thank you in advance for your words of encouragement and support! I look forward to sharing this new chapter on the blog with y’all as it develops.


  1. I tried to use the Amazon link but your address isn’t a delivery choice (should have address hidden but show your name). Can you update?

  2. This is a bit random and potentially wholly inapplicable.. But. If they speak Russian, and you need any translation/interpretation help, totally let me know! I worked for the military and in government diplomacy interpreting Ruaaian-English and vice versa for a decade and still speak both daily. Would love to help :]

    (email is etomaria at gmail and so forth)

    Maria :]

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