World Vision Goes Around the World to Find the True Spirit of Christmas

November 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian News

QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 24– Since November 19, World Vision and thousands of people around the world have been traveling the globe in search of the Christmas spirit as part of the Christian humanitarian agency’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. The month-long tour features interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. In the past week, World Vision’s team has been highlighting both the heartbreaking circumstances of the poor and the inspiring impact even small donations of a few dollars can make in helping families provide for their children.

“Since we started the tour, we’ve met homeless families in the South Bronx, seen students struggle to afford pencils for school, and talked to parents who say they are worried about paying next month’s rent,” said Devin Hermanson, campaign manager for World Vision’s “Spirit of Christmas” tour. “It’s been eye- opening to me to come face-to-face with the needs of the poor in our own country, but I’m optimistic that our work through the Gift Catalog will help these families in the coming year.”

The team left New York City on Sunday, November 22 and traveled to Quito, Ecuador. There the team will learn how alpacas can transform a family’s income. These hearty animals are powerful income-generators for families living in countries like Ecuador. One animal can produce up to 12 pounds of high-value wool every year for 25 years. The wool fetches a good price at the local markets and enables families to buy food, clothing, and other essentials for themselves and their children.

Fast facts about the “Spirit of Christmas” tour in Quito, Ecuador:

* The team has traveled more than 2, 834 miles since November 19.

* So far, more than $3.6 million has been raised toward this year’s $25 million goal.

* More than 14 million people live in Ecuador.

* Approximately one-third of the labor force is engaged in agriculture.

* 23% of children under 5 have stunted growth due to malnutrition, and in some rural areas, it’s as high as 47%.

* The average life expectancy is 76 years old.

* Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line, and 41% of the country lives on less than $2 a day.

* World Vision has worked in Ecuador since 1973.

As part of the “Spirit of Christmas” tour, the organization seeks to raise a record-breaking $25 million through the World Vision Gift Catalog to help provide these communities with much-needed resources like water, livestock, medicine, and agriculture – assistance that could change the lives of nearly 625,000 people. World Vision’s cash donations are currently down 4 percent – or $33 million – a deficit that could ultimately affect the poorest families around the world. If World Vision meets the Gift Catalog’s financial goal this year, it would be far more than the aid agency has ever raised during the holiday period, making it a truly extraordinary response in extraordinary times.

World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. A gift given through the catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty, while at the same time honor your friends and loved ones. There are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from. To order, visit their website at www.worldvisiongifts.org or call toll-free 1 (888) 511- 6511. All items are tax-deductible.

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