The gift of grandparents

This Sunday marks National Grandparents’ Day, a chance for Canadians to honour grandparents for their guidance, wisdom and love.

Many grandparents are a pillar of strength in their own families, both here and around the globe. For example, just over 20,000 of the children sponsored by Canadians through World Vision live under the care of a grandmother, grandfather, or both—with absolutely no one else to take care of them.

Four-year-old Innocent of Zambia was born to an ailing mother who passed away before he was even a year old. Innocent’s grandmother, Lestina, was left with the challenge of finding him nutritious food, and looking after his health and education. This led her to enroll him in World Vision’s child sponsorship program.

“I went to a nearby village to seek milk from cows and managed to feed him that milk for about six months,” Lestina says. “But World Vision also started supporting us with nutritious supplements like peanuts, some of which we planted so that we could have enough porridge for him to grow up into a healthy child.”

Here in Canada, a number of generous Canadian sponsors are not only invested in their sponsored child, but in growing a legacy of giving to pass down to their children and their grandkids. Many of these Canadians are grandparents themselves and are nurturing their own grandchildren through the experience of sponsoring a child together.

Bev Hoffart of Vancouver Island first began sponsoring almost 20 years ago, her own children served as the catalyst. “My two kids were younger, and I wanted to instill in them that it is actually a responsibility to give back to others if you were in a position of privilege,” she says. “Which our Canadian family certainly is.”

It’s Hoffart’s hope and belief that her children will continue to pass on this charitable legacy once they have their own children, “I trust that those values will again be passed down to our grandchildren, so that it continues even after we’re gone.”