Easter baskets for Russian orphans

SOAR's Baskets of Hope program needs your support. (SOAR International)

SOAR’s Baskets of Hope program needs your support. (SOAR International)

Russia (MNN) — The Winter Olympics are no longer in the headlines, but Russia is. Their grip-tightening on Eastern Ukraine has everyone on edge. Recent polling in Russia finds more than 50% of those surveyed favor sending troops to take Ukraine by force.

While this sabre-rattling continues, orphans are facing a bleak future. Prostitution, drugs, organized crime, and suicide await more than 60% of the children who age out of the orphanage system. Many of these children have no hope. Happiness is difficult to find.

SOAR International Ministries is trying to change that temporarily with their Baskets of Hope campaign which is currently underway.

SOAR’s Greg Mangione says, “Easter is just such a great time to share the Gospel and use this project with our partner churches in Russia, to give them the tools they can use in their continuing ministry to orphanages there.”

This year, Mangione says, “We’re hoping for at least 500 baskets. The project is similar to our Christmas project: bringing gifts, the Gospel message, personal letters from individual sponsors like your listeners, and a children’s Bible.”

The number of Easter Baskets are down this year. Mangione says, “Our project in Sochi [Winter Olympics] was the largest project we’ve ever done, and that took a lot of resources. The issue between Russia and Ukraine and the tensions with the U.S. could have played a part. I can’t say for sure what it is, but we trust this project is in the Lord’s hands and He knows how many gifts we will receive.”

Mangione says he’s not putting a lot of emphasis on the number of baskets. “More important than the numbers are the hearts and lives that will be touched, the seeds that will be planted, and the churches that will be strengthened.”

It costs $40 to sponsor a basket, which includes basic school supplies, personal care items, toys, candy, and a Bible.

Mangione says this year they’re not going to a major city like Moscow or St. Petersburg: they’re going to areas considered to be off the beaten path. “Some of them literally take over four hours to get there. It’s far off the beaten path. So, we’ve been encouraged by this churches outreach to these orphanages that are way out there that would get any attention otherwise.”

Your support is needed now. Click here to contribute safely and securely. You can also send a letter to the child who receives your gift.