By: Zoe Noakes   |   Posted: July 10, 2024

As sponsors, what role do you play when disaster strikes? Here’s what you need to know and four ways you can help kids during a crisis.

What is a Sponsor’s Role in a Crisis?

As sponsors, what role do you play when disaster strikes? Here’s what you need to know and four ways you can help kids during a crisis.

Written by Zoe Noakes
Photography by Ben Adams, Lina Marcela Alarcón Molina, Hutama Limarta, Edwin Estioko, Sara Navarro, Nico Benalcazar.
child in red looks at camera

Earlier this year, my brother and I watched in alarm as scenes of horror and violence in Haiti played across the TV. Compassion serves over a hundred thousand children there, and we knew many of them would be would be threatened by the political unrest. For my brother, it felt a little more personal: he sponsors a teenager in the Caribbean nation.

The news of extreme gang violence, lootings, kidnappings and families fleeing from the chaos was sobering. We wanted to help but weren’t sure what we could do. When disaster strikes, you might feel the same helplessness.

As sponsors, what role do you play when disaster strikes? What can you do to help children during a crisis?

Here’s what you need to know.

How Sponsorship Supports Children in Crisis

Your sponsorship connects children to urgent support.

First, let’s talk about what your sponsorship already provides when a child is in crisis. By sponsoring a child, you’ve connected them to an incredible support team through Compassion’s partner — the local church. During crises, natural disasters, civil unrest and economic instability, these courageous church staff and volunteers are often the first responders in their community. And they know the child you sponsor by name.

Your sponsorship enables Compassion’s partners to provide emergency relief to children and their families.

Our church partners help kids to access emergency aid and necessities like clean water, shelter, clothing and trauma counseling. All over the world, they provide urgent support to families when they need it most.

There are dozens of crises happening worldwide right now. And our church partners are responding. In Haiti, partners are providing emergency cash transfers to families unable to work. In Honduras, they're sheltering children left homeless by landslides. And in Ethiopia, they're placing emergency food packs into the hands of hungry families impacted by conflict.

If the child you sponsor is directly impacted by a crisis, Compassion will contact you.

Be assured that Compassion will contact you if the child you sponsor has been directly impacted by a crisis. A friend received an email sharing how she can pray, write and give to support the child she sponsors in Haiti. On the other hand, my brother could breathe a sigh of relief. He realized the teen he sponsors lives far from the violence. Compassion didn't contact him, so my brother knew the teen he sponsors was safe.

Sometimes More Help is Needed

Compassion focuses on long-term child development so we can help ultimately free children from poverty. Sponsorship giving does so much to care for children and set them up for brighter futures. But sometimes during a crisis, more support is necessary. That’s when Compassion will ask for financial gifts to help meet the extra need. Your donation will help provide urgent food, shelter, medical care and safe water.

lady stand in flood holding child

Sponsors may receive a crisis alert if the child themselves or their community, region or country is heavily affected by a crisis. We want to give sponsors the opportunity to provide additional support through prayer and financial gifts.

Current urgent needs, like the global food crisis, are highlighted on our website. These crises often affect children across multiple countries. Any supporter can give to help affected children, and we’re so grateful to those who do.

Four Extra Ways You Can Help During a Crisis

During a crisis, here are four ways you can give hope and meet kids’ urgent needs.

1. Pray

Prayer is powerful. During a crisis, pastors and center staff encourage children by sharing that sponsors are praying for them from all over the world. Children say it gives them courage and strength during tough times.

  • Pray for disaster and crisis-affected countries, for an end to conflict and restoration for broken and hurting communities.
  • Pray for local church partners on the front lines of the crisis, for wisdom, protection and strength as they reflect God’s love into their communities.
  • Pray for crisis-affected children and families, for protection, provision and comfort.
  • Pray for generosity among God’s people, that hearts will be moved to help the vulnerable.
little girl folds hands to pray

2. Share

Your friends, family and community can’t act if they aren’t aware of the situation. You can help vulnerable families by following Compassion on social media and sharing posts to raise awareness of the crisis and the need. You can also tell friends or church family what you know, or even forward emails about a crisis to people you know would care.

girls hug each other amidst flood

3. Give

Compassion’s Disaster Relief fund exists so our church partners can move to help families immediately. By donating, you’ll be empowering staff and volunteers to be the hands and feet of Jesus during a crisis.

boy hugs lady in yellow dress

4. Encourage

If the child you sponsor has been impacted by a crisis, please write to encourage them. Your words can provide hope at a time it may be hard to find. They can help increase their faith and trust in Jesus. Our local staff’s priority will be on providing for the children’s immediate needs, so there may be a delay in replies to your letters. But your words will provide immense comfort and love. Not sure what to say? A simple note saying you’re thinking of their family and are praying for their situation is perfect.

girl holds letter close

You Bring Hope

No matter the crisis, God is using the local church and supporters like you to bring hope. Back in Haiti, the teenager my brother sponsors is being supported by a caring team. His family, my brother in Australia, and the local church are cheering him on through the challenges.

“It’s important to remember that Compassion has been working in Haiti since 1968,” says Jonathan, Compassion Haiti’s video producer. “They were there before this crisis, will be there during and will remain long after the emergency has ended.”

This is true for Compassion’s church partners all over the world. Thank you for showing up for children in crisis!

Give Hope When Disaster Strikes

girl in blue shirt stands in front of rubble

Provide emergency relief and support for children facing crisis situations.

girl in blue shirt stands in front of rubble