30 Ways to Help Orphans


It’s Orphan Sunday! Let’s face it: caring for the world’s 153 million orphans is daunting. The task can seem so overwhelming that it’s easy to do nothing. But Scripture challenges us as we see the heart of God:

“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, NIV

Fortunately, there are many ways to care for and support orphans around the world beyond the obvious — adoption and foster care. The vast majority of the world’s orphans actually have one or more living parent or extended family member — who do not have the resources to care for their child. The options below contain many examples of how you can support these families and help them keep their children by paying them a livable wage for their products. There are also many options to care for orphans by providing food, medical care, and educational resources. Costs are as little as $4. Most can be done from your living room. All make the difference in the life of at-risk families and orphans in need.

Here are 30 of my favorite ways to help orphans this Orphan Sunday.

  1. Pray for orphans. Be open to God asking you to become a foster or adoptive parent. 
  2. Participate in fundraisers by adoptive families. Check out the Facebook group: Shop With a Purpose — Support Adoption Fundraisers.
  3. Join Fair Trade Friday Club, which helps women in Kenya keep their children by providing them with jobs creating products which are shipped to your door.
  4. Sponsor a child through World Hope International to help a child have access to education, food support, and spiritual guidance. 
  5. Choose one product you regularly use to always purchase Fair Trade: coffee, chocolate, tea, rice, cosmetic products, clothing.
  6. Discover your own Slavery Footprint, and write to companies who use unethical practices to produce cheap goods.
  7. Offer to support, encourage, pray for, or babysit for an adoptive family.
  8. Become a respite (part-time) foster parent, who takes foster children for short term (usually a few days). Placements are based on your availability.
  9. Sponsor an Ghanaian orphan’s food, education, or both through Feeding the Orphans.
  10. Move a child in an orphanage in China into a foster home through Care for Children for $35.
  11. Establish a church-based adoption loan program through the ABBA fund.
  12. The Both Hands Project pairs adoptive families with local widows who need help with renovations, cleanup, maintenance. The adoptive family gathers a team to support their work on a widow’s home while raising funds for their adoption.
  13. Donate to my friends, the Kelleys, as they adopt their daughter Emma from China. You can follow their story and donate here
  14. Sponsor the education and nourishment of an orphan in Liberia for $40/month through AfricanChildSponsorship.com.
  15. Buy a chick for $4 to support orphan care in Zambia at Every Orphan’s Hope. 
  16. Purchase gift subscription boxes made by at-risk women around the world to help them support their families at Bonjoy
  17. Skip a meal to feed an orphan for a month. Fast, or eat a meal of rice and beans, and give the money you would have otherwise spent to Food for Orphans. $10 feeds an orphan for one month. 
  18. Mentor or help meet material needs of a child who is “aging out” of the foster care system without a family.
  19. Become an advocate for an abused or neglected child by representing their interests in the legal system through a Guardian Ad Litum program.
  20. Decorate your Christmas tree and stuff your stockings with treasures from Ornaments 4 Orphans.
  21. Collect school supplies for orphans through Orphan Outreach.
  22. Buy a cool t-shirt for $22 from Rice Bowls and feed 40 orphans.
  23. Sponsor the care of a medically need orphan in China through Show Hope.
  24. One out of every 5 child deaths in Africa is due to Malaria. Provide a lifesaving mosquito net for $8 through Sweet Sleep.
  25. $27 can give 10 children in Liberia life-saving parasite treatment through Vision Trust.
  26. Host an older orphan from Latvia or Ukraine in your home for 4-8 weeks to expose them to family life, help them learn English, and help make connections which might result in a forever family through Project 143.
  27. Sponsor a micro-loan for an orphan graduate or caregiver to be able to start a sustainable business and earn a living through LifeSong for Orphans.
  28. Adopt an Orphanage through LifeSong for Orphans, supporting them financially, visiting them annually, and serving as an encouragement through letter writing.
  29. Shop from a selection of hundreds of gifts that are Fair Trade and ethically sourced at The Hunger Site.
  30. Donate your birthday! Ask your friends to donate to 147 Million Orphans in lieu of buying you presents. 147 Million Orphans will let you know how the donations were used to change the life of children around the world.