Acclaimed CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, were recently honored with the Children's Champion Award for their work for orphans in the United States and around the world.
The couple, who founded the orphan ministry Show Hope in 2003, were recognized this past Sunday together with Focus On The Family President Jim Daly at a banquet organized by the award's presenter, Children's Hunger Fund.
The award honors those who have used their positions of influence in government, business and charity, to ensure that children receive hope against the odds.
"It seemed only natural to honor Mr. Daly and the Chapmans for their compassionate care of orphans," commented CHF President Dave Phillips. "We are like-minded in our passion to care for the needs of children in crisis."
Since its founding as Shaohannah's Hope, the Chapmans' non-profit organization has been dedicated to mobilizing individuals and communities to care for orphans and reducing the financial barriers to adoption.
The ministry initially began out of the Chapmans' desire to see more children find their way into forever families, many of which are willing to adopt but are unable to because of the financial costs of adoption.
According to UNICEF, there are more than 130 million orphans and fatherless children in the world who have lost one or both parents. And in America alone, there are a half-million children in foster care, and approximately 120,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted.
Since its inception, the Show Hope ministry has helped over 2,000 orphans from 40 countries, including the United States, into forever homes.
Though Steven Curtis Chapman was unable to attend Sunday's banquet as he is currently on a joint tour with fellow CCM star Michael W. Smith, Mary Beth Chapman was on hand to receive the award and shared with those present her desire to empty all the orphan beds in the world.
"We are humbled to be receiving this in honor of all the children in the world who are without parents and need to be cared for while they wait," she added.
Also honored Sunday were Sue Hagen of Dole Food Company and Henry Morita of Nestle USA, who connected CHF with the generosity and resources of their respective companies, and California teen Samantha Neher, who was presented with the Widow's Mite Award, an honor developed to recognize young people who show generosity to poor children.
The Children's Hunger Fund Celebration Banquet this past Sunday was emceed by pastor and author Francis Chan and held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Among those who attended were actress Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) and songstress Rebecca St. James.