Article by Teddy James appeared Engage Magazine’s website November 16, 2016.

There are over 500,000 children in the foster care system right now,” Magan Williams told me during a recent conversation. She works with Canopy Children’s Solutions, one of the oldest nonprofit organizations in the state of Mississippi, recruiting and training people to become foster parents in its home state.

While that number of children in the foster system is high, there is another truth that is equally intriguing. In American right now, there are over 350,000 churches. If two families out of every church in America opened their homes to children in need of temporary or permanent placement, no child would be without a home.

November is National Adoption Month in America. It is a great time to gain awareness of this unseen problem in America.

I could give you more stats and numbers with stories, but Williams shared two videos with me that I believe tell the story much better than I ever could. Take a few minutes and view them below.

Now grab some more tissue. This tornado has just started.

If you noticed during the first video, the Zoe begins packing all her belongings in a garbage bag. That is art reflecting reality.

“We had a girl become incredibly angry, distant, and depressed one day,” Williams told me. “She had come into a home where we thought she would be happy, but nothing would get through to her. She finally broke down and told us what happened. Many of the kids in the foster system carry their belongings in large, black garbage bags. In this girl’s case, she had set her bag down, with everything precious and meaningful to her, and it was carried out with the trash. Her pictures of family and siblings, her dolls, everything was thrown away like trash.”

The calling to adopt is a big calling that should not be taken lightly. However, the call to serve and care for orphans is universal to every believer (James 1:27).  One way to serve children in the foster system, especially in the state of Mississippi, is to participate in Canopy’s suitcase drive. They work to gift a suitcase or duffel bag to each child. This helps take care of their few belongings and ensures what they have is not seen or treated as less that the precious artifacts they are.

To find other ways to serve and items that are needed on a daily basis you can provide, visit Canopy’s Needs List.

Providing a piece of luggage may seem small, but it can mean the world to children in the foster system. But that is only the start of what Canopy wants for their children.

“The driving force behind Canopy is that every child deserves a home where they feel loved and safe,” Williams told me. “That is why we work to recruit, train, and equip people to become foster parents.

“But we know that not everyone is called to that. So we also want to recruit, train, and equip people who can support the foster parents and others who do volunteer.”

Williams gave me several practical ways to do that during our interview on the Engage podcast.

If you want more information about how you can help, visit Canopy Children’s Solutions or your state’s child services department.

Access the original story here.

*January 2017–Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services indicated nearly 6,000 children in the state are living in the child welfare system. Approximately 500 of those children are seeking the loving care of a forever home.