Eight thousand miles away from where you and I sit today, off beaten red clay roads twisting and turning through the thick Ugandan vegetation, little children languish behind bars inside crude concrete prisons. Purposefully kept far from villages and towns, these unlikely “criminals” find themselves locked up through no fault of their own.
Abandoned, orphaned and rejected by society, some children are chained to windows. Others stand half-naked in barren cells, next to overflowing tubs of their own waste. Walk down the long halls and these scenes repeat—hundreds of heartbreakingly lonely kids with empty bellies and hollow eyes, kids who should be laughing and playing tag in the sunshine instead of sitting here, abandoned in prison.
One girl was dumped there by an angry relative because she failed to give her aunt a respectful enough greeting. One boy was brought by government officials because he was repeatedly caught begging for food after his parents died of AIDS and no one would take him in.
And one is a thin little baby, just 10 days old.
Neglected isn’t a big enough word to describe the state of these children. So when a small group of families in Atlanta learned about their plight, they knew they must do something about it. And a ministry called SixtyFeet was born.
The name refers to the fact that fresh water is often found just sixty feet below the surface in Africa. In a land where millions have died from drinking contaminated water, having access to clean water can change people’s lives forever. But SixtyFeet isn’t just about building wells to access this life-giving water—it’s about meeting all the needs of these imprisoned children—physical, mental, educational and spiritual.
Because of their outreach, at this very moment, volunteers are feeding, holding, counseling and providing medical care to these precious little ones. As you can imagine, with seven known facilities and perhaps more yet undiscovered, a handful of families and volunteers can just barely begin to accomplish all that needs to be done.
Maybe you can’t go to Africa and help these kids in person. But this Saturday, you can ease their suffering from just off the Covington Square. On May 5th, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m, at the corner of Monticello and Reynolds Streets, Journey Church will be hosting our first annual SixtyFeet Cupcake Kids sale. We’ll have cupcakes, lemonade and even a few crafts for sale. All donations will go directly to SixtyFeet and will be used to feed, clothe and heal Uganda’s imprisoned children.
I’m going to be there with my kids, and I’d love to meet you. I’ve been told that I’m a pretty decent baker, so come on out and try my Key lime coconut cupcakes, or my deep, dark Hershey’s cupcakes topped with Reese’s peanut butter frosting. There will be a wide variety of goodies to choose from, served with a smile by adorable kids in cupcake t-shirts.
And if you can only join us from afar, click HERE to visit our virtual cupcake sale online. (By the way, it’s not too late to host a Cupcake Kids sale in your town! Just click “Sign up for a sale” on the previous link.)
You know, I almost feel guilty mentioning a fund-raiser when so many of us are struggling due to the economy. But being involved with orphan care over the past year has shown me that my first-world struggles are actually quite small.
Here, we’re made to believe that if we don’t own a huge home, drive a new car and eat at fancy restaurants, we’re poor. That is such a lie. I’m thankful for the perspective that helps me see it as the falsehood that it is.
My family’s moderate income is an extravagant abundance. My 12-year-old minivan isn’t ugly—it’s reliable and paid for. The morning bowl of Cheerios, the crisp salad greens at lunch, the store-brand spaghetti we had for dinner—I can’t see that as meager fare anymore. I have a machine to wash my dishes, another to wash my clothes, a sturdy brick house on a big, wide yard in a safe neighborhood filled with friends.
And my children, who’ve never known what it’s like to be hungry or abandoned, live free, riding their bikes and playing tag in the sunshine. May God forgive me for ever complaining that what I have isn’t enough.
Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications.more»