Take time, make time for AIDS orphans.

Ronna Jordan, of Farmington, N.M., believes the act of caring is so important that an entire day should be set aside to do just that — care.

She calls it the National Day of Care. It’s a day during which she’s urging all communities of worship to incorporate a caring theme into their day of worship prior to Valentine’s Day each year.

What does she think faith communities should care about?

Orphans, particularly those with AIDS or those orphaned because of AIDS.

The idea for the Day of Care originated from Jordan’s mission trips into Africa five years ago. As she witnessed what she termed “the devastation of an entire continent,” she grew concerned about the millions of children who are without parents.

As she quickly worked toward raising money for the crisis, she became overwhelmed by the daunting size of the solitary task. There had to be a better way to help more people, she thought. She reasoned that “most people want to help, but most people have no concrete ideas on how to help.”

So, she began to pray.

Out of her prayers came the birth of an organization called the National Day of Care.

The NDOC would be a way to nudge faith communities toward helping organizations of their own choosing care for the AIDS orphans. On this particular day, the NDOC acts as a kind of clearing house, passing on to churches concrete ideas for helping the victims of this African epidemic.

“There’s a scandal in the church today,” she said. “The scandal is that we have been the least willing to respond to this crisis.” It’s a scandal she documents by citing a 2001 Barna Research poll which suggested that Evangelical Christians, which Jordan claims to be, are the least likely group to help AIDS victims in Africa, including orphans.

“Tragically,” she said, the Christian church is missing its own mandate.” The one found in the Biblical book of James: “The Christian who is pure and without fault in the sight of God is the one who takes care of widows and orphans.”

“Let’s stand up and be the church,” she said, which “means wrapping the wounds of humanity. We are the missing link to solving this crisis. The church can and should step up to the plate.”

Standing up to something is what Jordan is all about.

Last year, she and her retired husband sold their house and used the money to seed the organization. “It really is no sacrifice at all, not compared to the sacrifice millions of Africans make each day. We live in a trailer now. It’s inconvenient at times, but it’s really nothing. We aren’t suffering or being persecuted, not like the AIDS victims.”

While the focus of NDOC is helping those orphaned by the African AIDS epidemic, the group has expanded its caring to those orphaned by the more recent natural disasters.

Nevertheless,” Jordan said, “nothing compares to the African AIDS epidemic. With over 80 percent of the world’s AIDS cases, Africa contains 13 million children orphaned due to the disease. The most tragic wave to hit Africa wasn’t the tidal wave; it was the wave of death from HIV. It kills over 250,000 people every month in Africa.”

This is her third year to sponsor the national event. This year she expects “hundreds of people in 12 states to be participating. And once people know how great this is and that they have the opportunity to help, we hope to be in every state by this time next year.”

All Jordan wants you to do is care for a day. But it’s a day that may change a life.