Acknowledging Orphan Sunday


Photo courtesy of Hillary Haris

“Events like Orphan Sunday help share the need and possible solutions. Everyone can do something, we just help people find their “something,” Hillary Haris said.

Rachel Silliman

You hear fantasy stories of how orphans go from having nothing to receiving more than enough. Although that’s the case for some orphans, for others it’s not, and that can cause them to start to lose hope. How would you feel if you had nothing? No family, no food, nothing. That’s how plenty of orphans around the world feel.

Hillary Haris, the Director of Outreach at the Centre County Orphan Care Alliance (CCOCA), was able to expand on Orphan Sunday, an event that recently took place in Centre County. Orphan Sunday happens every year on November 10th. The theme for this year’s Orphan Sunday was “More than Enough”.

“More than enough foster families for every child to have an ideal placement,” Haris said, describing this year’s theme. “More than enough adoptive families for every waiting child.” She mentioned how the CCOCA wants to show orphans that they can indeed have enough and that they can have hope again. She said one of the focuses is to keep siblings together. So many times, those in orphan care get separated, and that’s one reason why Orphan Sunday was made. 

Overall, the event was for parents to have the opportunity to learn about foster care and adoption, but there were also games and childcare for the children who attended with their families. Some of the activities for the young ones included a catapult game, an archery game, and bounce houses. Food and drinks were also provided for those who attended. 

“The games were a hit with the kids. Of course we always want more people in attendance but it is one of those things that you can do all you can do to promote and trust that God will bring whomever needs to be there,” Haris said. The event started at 4:30 PM and went to 6 PM. The evening started with families having the opportunity to connect with each other and eat, also for kids to play. From 5 PM to 6 PM, the kids had childcare as the adults went to sit in a program that held many speakers. The night ended with those considering adoption or foster care seeing pictures of local kids who needed families. 

Hillary said the total attendance count this year for Orphan Sunday was 100 people. She went on to say that while the attendance went down this year, it is growing higher at other events they hold. The Centre County Orphan Care Alliance doesn’t have a building of their own to do these events, so they move all around Centre County. They take this time to move around so that all orphans can have a chance to experience hope again. Events like Orphan Sunday are the events where kids get foster and adoptive families. Such events are very special for each of these kids.

“My family has been a foster family for the past 11 years,” Haris said. Haris, as well as many others, are all in to help these orphans see hope. It’s very important to them that these kids find homes and it was very special to hear about.

“For the first time in 2009, the Christian Alliance for Orphans united organizations and churches across the globe in a shared vision for Orphan Sunday. We would rise together for orphans- not merely to benefit one group or mission, but to see God’s people worldwide rise as His first answer for children who lack the protection and care [of] family,” Haris said. CCOCA is just one organization out of many that are trying to change as many orphan lives as they can. 

To end, Haris talked about their theme Bible verse for Orphan Sunday. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Haris said, citing Ephesians 3:20. And it leaves us wondering what they’re going to do next year for Orphan Sunday.