Meet the Uptons: A Global Family

threeSponsoring a child with Food for the Hungry (FH) is meaningful in different ways to each person. Some people look at sponsoring as a way to learn about another culture or an opportunity to minister to a vulnerable child.

Shannon Upton and her family decided it was a chance to make a commitment to a child’s development and bring him into their family’s love and support through praying and writing to him.

“From the beginning, sponsoring Angel Luis was a family decision,” says Shannon. “We talked it over with the kids and told them that if we committed to sponsor a child, then that child would be a part of our family. We write to Angel Luis as a family each month, and we pray for him as a family as well.”

oneShannon–who is the author of the book, Organizing You, which takes readers through a discovery process of their own spiritual clutter to finding solutions for mental and physical organization—is big on visual cues. To help her family remember that Angel Luis is important in their family, she put up his picture.

“In our family room, we have framed pictures of our children, and a framed picture of Angel Luis is right there with them,” says Shannon. “He is a part of our family.”

Shannon is teaching her children the disciplines of what it means to care for others outside of their immediate family. A part of that caring is building empathy and being aware of other’s needs that are different from our own.

four“Though my primary hope is that we’re making a difference in Angel Luis’s life, I know that he’s making a difference in ours as well,” says Shannon. “We’ve talked so much about what hardships he must endure and how his life experiences must be so different from ours. Though I don’t bring him up with the kids when they are having the ‘I wants’ about something, I will sometimes ask them in a happy moment, ‘What do you think Angel Luis would think about this?’ It helps them keep our blessings in perspective.”

In an effort to keep learning about each other, Shannon says corresponding with Angel Luis is important to their family. Recently, after receiving a communication piece from FH, the family decided to create a similar communication piece and sent it to him.

two“When we saw the list of questions that he’d answered and realized how much better we knew him because of them, we wanted to share our answers with him as well,” said Shannon. “We want him to know our hearts so that he can see Jesus shining in our family!”

Shannon is also personally doing her best to help others experience Christ in their lives. Shannon serves as a public speaker for Christian ministries for women. Her website,, helps women to find answers to balancing the hectic lifestyle of work, raising kids and more. When she’s at an event where there is a collection for missions, she asks them to send it to FH and also gives 10 percent of income from her book to FH.

You can also have your own personal ministry to help FH serve the poor by sponsoring a child. One of the greatest barriers in overcoming poverty is low self-esteem, when you send encouraging words to help a child feel like he or she is important, you’re bringing Christ’s message of love and value into that little one’s life.

FH wants to thank Shannon and her family for being such a key part to helping end poverty in Angel Luis’ world.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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