35,000 Children from Poor Families in Eastern Europe Aided by Christmas Campaign
by AT News Team
The Adventist Develop and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Germany organized a campaign last fall that resulted in the delivery of Christmas packages to 35,000 children in low-income communities in Belarus, Bosnia, Georgia, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova and Serbia. The boxes contained toys and food, as well as other items.
Christmas was celebrated January 6 and 7 in many of these areas where the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar. Churches, schools and youth groups throughout German collected in-kind gifts as well as cash donations for the project. The campaign is called Children Helping Children.
ADRA trucked the gift boxes into the communities and worked with local non-governmental organizations to distribute them to needy families. Collaborating volunteer groups in Germany organized flea markets and bake sales to help fund the trucking expense.
One particularly creative effort this year was organized by Friendly Service, a volunteer group in Munich. On November 23 student volunteers recruited by the group gave five hours to wrapping Christmas gifts for customers at a shopping center. The tips donated by the people they helped went to help fund the campaign.
“This project puts a new spin on an old tradition among Christian churches,” an American pastor commented upon hearing about the program. “Church members and their friends in the community seem to want to do something for the poor at Christmas and ADRA Germany has channeled this into an effective project. I wonder what could happen if ADRA in the United States were to do something like this with one million Adventists?”
Information was provided by the APD Adventist News Agency in Switzerland.