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When you live and work with the poor, as we have done for almost 14 years now, you stop seeing the poverty. You just see the people. We are always taken aback at the shock our guests from the US and other countries express, when they see levels of poverty which we now view as normal life.

There are aspects of poverty that can’t really be shared in photos, like the diseases which kill or maim people who could easily have been helped if they had had access to fairly basic medical care and nutritious food, and the grief of a family when a loved one is lost so needlessly. There is a sadness of knowing that your family has no way to pull out of the cycle of poverty – no access to a better education, and no jobs which pay enough for more than basic survival. There is a hopelessness.

What I can try to do is to show you, in photos, what our guests see when they visit us.

Once you’ve seen these photos, I hope you will have a better understanding of the tremendous blessing it is to these families, to receive a warm blanket, a bottle of shampoo, a simple toy for their child, school supplies, shoes, and other luxuries, like toothbrushes and toothpaste.

This isn’t a solution. We work on big-picture solutions every day – building schools and infrastructure, running feeding centers, holding medical clinics in remote areas, and helping people find the hope that knowing God provides – but once a year, we run this gift project as a way of saying, “We know how hard this is, and we want to help your life get one little bit better, today. Right now.”

This is our 14th year collecting donations of gifts and used items (in good condition) to distribute in our part of Honduras. It is a simple thing we can do, to help.

Will you be a part of the Gifts for Gracias project this year?
Details follow, on how to put together and ship gift boxes for children and families. We also accept donations of gift items in bulk, which we use to put together additional gifts, and also donations of clothing and bedding in good, gift giving condition. (People in our area tend to be smaller than the average in the US, so small and medium sizes of clothing and shoes are most needed. Also, we do have cold weather part of the year, so clothing and bedding suitable for all seasons are utilized.)

This is what you need to know, to create and send a gift:

Children’s gifts may be created in shoe boxes, child-size backpacks, or large, plastic zip-lock bags; family boxes (items specifically for the adults, or for the use of the entire family) usually require a larger box. A great idea is to package family gifts in a duffle bag or large backpack – the pastors love this! All gifts should fit into one of the following categories, and should be labeled in this way:

Baby girl or Baby boy 
Preschool girl or Preschool boy 
5 – 7 yr old girl or 5 – 7 yr old boy
8 – 12 yr old girl or 8 – 12 yr old boy
Teen girl or Teen boy
Family Box

Suggested items for the children’s gift boxes:

-tooth brushes, toothpaste, and other toiletries
-*crayons, markers, stickers, colored pencils and *coloring books
-pads of paper, pencils, pens, *school supplies, *backpack
-combs, brushes, hair bows 
-soap, baby shampoo, baby bottles, rattles
– balls, small toys, socks
*soccer balls, *inexpensive watches, *baseball caps
*dolls, *stuffed animals, *sunglasses

Suggested items for the family gift boxes:

-soap, shampoo (make sure it is tightly closed), *hair gel, toiletries
-candles, small decorative items, sewing kit
-hair things, handkerchiefs, purses
-dish towels, small kitchen items, plastic storage containers
-small flashlight, small clock (non-electrical)
-lotion, aftershave, perfume
-pens, notepads, stationary, tape, small office supplies
-shoe polish (brown or black), dark socks, inexpensive wallet
*blanket, *towels
*belts (smaller adult sizes), *baseball caps, *backpacks

(* Indicates especially appreciated items)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please only send food items separately packaged from the gift boxes!!! We have problems with pests and heat destroying the candy – and frequently other items in the same box are ruined. We will add candy to the boxes ourselves, just before distribution. You may send bags of candy, separately, to help us with this expense – just please package those items separately!

Gifts may be mailed to:

Gifts for Gracias
c/o Jim Cofer
7047 Blue Mountain Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

Gifts may be delivered, by pre-arrangement to the following addresses, but CALL FIRST:
Cofer Residence
7047 Blue Mountain Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
(301) 271-4896


Fredericktowne Baptist Church
8465 Biggs Ford Road
Walkersville, MA
(301) 898-8600

Drop off deliveries can be arranged, as long as you call ahead first! 
If you would prefer to help by sending a monetary donation, the directions are on the “how to donate” page, linked at the top of this page . . . simply add “Sowers Ministry – Gifts for Gracias” in the box to specify how you would like your donation used. 

Thank you, so much, for your help with this project!!!