Jeff Foxworthy in Nairobi, Kenya with Compassion International in 2008.
Jeff Foxworthy (Photo courtesy of Jeff Foxworthy)
“Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” host Jeff Foxworthy might be a self-proclaimed “redneck,” but he also sticks his neck out for children suffering in poverty.
"I've been blessed to travel to Africa with Compassion International on several occasions,” Jeff Foxworthy tells FOX411.com exclusively. “I've gotten to see first-hand the life changing impact of the work they do. It is amazing!"
Founded in 1952, Compassion International helps to foster more than one million children in 25 of the world's poorest countries.
“We are one of the oldest organizations of its kind,” Zane King, Artist Relations Manager for Compassion International, tells FOX411.com. “We exist to be an advocate for the poor and to release children from poverty. We are a Christian organization—and we’re unapologetic about that because the primary partner that we have in the field are the local churches.”
Last summer, country duo The Roys traveled to South America with Compassion International to witness the organization’s mission in action.
“They brought us to Bogotá, Colombia and we got to see what Compassion International does first hand—it was amazing to see what they do out in the field,” Elaine Roy, one half of the brother/sister team, tells FOX411.com.
“We actually got to meet the children we sponsor, which was so life changing—it really put into perspective what Compassion International does and how they help children in poverty. They help them with their medical needs, their schooling—anything to help that child develop.”
The Roys were overwhelmed meeting the little girl and boy that they sponsor for the first time.
“When we first saw them, they ran to us like we were long-lost relatives,” says Elaine. “It should have been a commercial for Kleenex, because I was bawling the whole time. They say that sponsorship changes the children’s lives, but deep down, it really affected us and changed our lives forever.”
“It was really difficult to go and see the conditions that they live in,” Lee Roy tells FOX411.com. “Little things that we take for granted, like flipping a switch and instantly getting electricity, heat, air conditioning or running water doesn’t exist for them. To see them live in that kind of extreme poverty, it really breaks your heart. What mends your heart is when you talk with them—they have such a great sense of family and faith in God—they truly believe that they are blessed.”
Long popular with country artists, Compassion International is sponsoring two major country music festivals this summer.
“We are so blessed that we get to do music for a living,” Elaine Roy explains. “We always said that if we had any kind of success, big or small, we would love to help and give back, and we’re proud to be involved with Compassion International.”