Hundreds of millions of children worldwide suffer from poverty, and the impact it can have on a young life is nothing short of tragic.
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (link) estimates that 385 million children live in extreme poverty, which is best described as people living on $1.90 or less a day.
Gender or ethnic discrimination, exploitation, and domestic violence can cause people to live in poverty, resulting in a lack of basic necessities such as water, food, shelter, education, and healthcare.
This year, COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation.
"COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. "Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before."
But there are organizations that are striving to lift children up, meeting needs for food and warmth while also teaching them about God's infinite love.
CBN's Orphan's Promise is a children's outreach that partners with established ministries to help orphans and vulnerable children around the world.
Nearly 1,000 children in Ukraine were given warm clothing such as jackets, gloves, hats, and shoes this year. Since April 2020, Orphan's Promise has fed 5,000 starving children in Ukraine and post-Soviet countries.
And Orphan's Promise has special holiday plans this year that will not only nurture children but entertain and delight them. Gatherings have been organized in multiple countries including Ukraine, Armenia, and Kazakhstan where there will be time for worship, gift-giving, and sharing a meal together.
CBN's humanitarian organization Operation Blessing, which provides hunger relief, clean water, and medical care to children around the world, has festive events planned in Norfolk, Virginia.
During the month of December, OB and CBN's local outreach have been serving hot meals to families and delivering Christmas dinner groceries that include a frozen turkey and fresh-baked holiday treats. The organization is distributing family gifts including a Superbook Christmas box, along with toys and gifts to children of all ages.
Mary Allsbrook heads up CBN's local outreach and is overjoyed by the outpouring of support this year.
"We are delighted that Operation Blessing joined CBN's local outreach team and its LAUNCH ministry network this year to help bring Christmas cheer to underserved families. What a blessing to celebrate our Savior's birth and share the love of Jesus in very tangible ways this Christmas!"
Despite limitations that have resulted from the effort to prevent the spreading of COVID, the ministry continues with ongoing efforts to safely distribute grocery bags with various food items once a week to families in Norfolk.
Another mission agency, Gospel for Asia (GFA), is also devoted to meeting the critical needs of children while inspiring hope in our Heavenly Father.
"Bridge of Hope" is one initiative that GFA established that offers children a promising future. The Bridge of Hope child sponsorship program gives over 70,000 needy children a daily meal and regular medical checkups - in efforts to improve their physical health and development.
"It's critical that this generation does not give up, that it's empowered to break free from the stranglehold of poverty," said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. "Otherwise, countless millions of children will be doomed to a life of misery in the world's gutters and slums. They deserve so much better than that."
This Christmas, GFA is offering a gift distribution program that supports an entire family and helps to break the cycle of poverty.
Last year, 262,534 families in Asia received gifts like cows, bicycles, and sewing machines. These donations help feed and clothe children throughout the region.
Eliminating global poverty is the end goal that everyone wants to see. And these ministries are bringing the world one step closer to fulfilling that objective, giving children around the world hope for a brighter tomorrow.
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