His Hands Support Ministries is regularly offered donations in kind (such as clothes, shoes, etc). While we sincerely appreciate the sentiment and generosity of these offers, in nearly all cases we will decline the offer. Let us explain.
His Hands desires to be viewed by its in-country partners as partners in a common effort. We try not to just give people a "hand out", but rather a "hand up". Our main body of work consists of helping children achieve an education and thereby equip them to become dignified contributors to their society. Sometimes charity alone can erode one's self-esteem if given for a long period of time. Imagine how you would feel if the only clothes you ever owned during your whole life were hand-me-downs.
Also, more often than not, the donations offered can be found in the local markets. Purchasing an item in-country is often cheaper than shipping fees or the cargo fees we have to pay to bring the used or donated item with us. The donated items can, actually, hurt the local economy by flooding the market with free donated items, hurting local businesses. The markets already have clothes, food, and shoes; what is needed is the funds to purchase them. If you are trying to help your sponsored child’s school by sending crates of pencils or used clothing, what about the father or mother of your sponsored child who has a stall selling pencils or used clothing in the local market? Has your donation of free pencils or clothing really helped their family or has it hurt them instead by taking away the need for the product they sell?
With money, people can be paid to work, and with that pay, they can afford food, clothes, shelter, education and healthcare. So, other than at times of disaster, when food and supplies necessary for survival are unavailable, goods and services can be purchased in-country by the people we work with.
These are some of the reasons why we say that the best thing to send is money. Money will pay for school tuition and uniforms, exam fees, doctor's fees, and oil, rice and beans for the feeding programs and much more. It also supports the local merchants. Once these students have the opportunity to get an education, they are better qualified to enter the workforce. They can become teachers, doctors, nurses, mechanics and business people in their own country. They will be in a position to not only provide for their own families, but also to help their countrymen and their communities. They can take up the torch so our work at "helping them" will be done. 'Lifelong Foreign Aid Recipient' should never be anyone's chosen career.