TAMPA, Fla. -- When people think of a collection agency, they don’t usually see a connection with ending child poverty. But by sponsoring a child through a Christ-centered, child-focused and church-based charity like Compassion International (https://www.compassion.com/), Preferred CMS’s owners believe they are just stewards of the resources God has entrusted them with, so they have a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
Since October of 2015, The Preferred Group of Tampa, through its President and CEO, David Kelley, has partnered with Compassion International in sponsoring Abenzer, who is now 7 years old.
Abenzer lives in Ethiopia and his primary caregiver is his mother. He is in “Kinder 2” which is the US equivalent of Kindergarten and he loves learning about God, singing songs, playing games and soccer. He writes letters back to his friends at Preferred with the assistance of the church that looks after him and which provides support to him through Preferred’s monthly monetary commitment.
Preferred’s monthly gift allows the Compassion staff to provide Abenzer with educational assistance, nutritional supplements to protect against malnutrition, health care, recreational activities, and it allows them the opportunity to regularly share the love of Christ with Abenzer. But the program also has the ability for sponsors to give extra money for Christmas, birthday, and family gifts for their child, above and beyond their monthly commitment. Preferred’s employees wanted to provide for these extra giving opportunities for Abenzer and they also wanted to give extra money to support the administrative work of Compassion, so they created a “Casual Thursday for Abenzer” program where, for $3 a week, an employee can donate to the program and come to work dressed casually on that day. The program is working well with close to 100% participation most weeks. Due to the program’s success, the Preferred Group is now looking at sponsoring a second child through the program. The employees at Preferred hope other agencies, vendors, and businesses will be encouraged to sponsor a child through Compassion International and make a difference for a boy or girl in need.
About Compassion International
“Compassion International is the world’s leading authority on holistic child development through sponsorship. Compassion's history began in 1952 out of one man’s determination to help 35 children orphaned by the Korean War. Reverend Everett Swanson flew to South Korea to minister to American troops fighting in the war but grew increasingly troubled by the sight of hundreds of war orphans trying to survive alone on the frigid sidewalks of Seoul, where many died of starvation, exposure and disease. Swanson vowed to find a way to help the children. He raised enough money to support a Korean orphanage and established an organization that gave American sponsors the opportunity to help by paying a small monthly fee to cover the orphans food, shelter, health care and Bible-based education. Today, Compassion is a global ministry that serves more than 1.8 million babies, children and young adults by partnering with more than 6,700 churches in 25 countries to help break the cycle of poverty.
Compassion’s three Cs distinguish it from other child sponsorship organizations. Christ Centered. Child Focused. Church Based.
Christ Centered: Children and families served through Compassion do not have to be Christians, but they are offered a clear presentation of the gospel. As they experience God’s love in the physical world, many receive Christ and grow into healthy, educated, confident believers, ready to serve God and others in need.
Child Focused: Compassion believes extreme global poverty can be eradicated in our lifetime and is committed to helping whittle it away by serving the most vulnerable citizens — impoverished children. When children living in poverty are nurtured and equipped to overcome their circumstances, they are empowered to pursue their dreams, driving change into their families, communities and nations.
Church Based: Compassion builds a direct route to the children who need help most by partnering with indigenous evangelical churches located on the front lines of poverty. All Compassion programs are delivered through these community churches because they are uniquely qualified to understand the real needs of their areas and serve as a safe haven to children and their families. Everything from food and medical care to curriculum and counseling is orchestrated by volunteer church workers.