Reform’s reverse Advent calendar
‘Peace on earth and mercy mild.’ That’s Reform’s Christmas present list this year – rather shorter and more demanding than usual. But don’t worry, you don’t have to sort out either of them all on your own. There are a lot of people already doing great work in the fields of peace and mercy.
So here’s what we’re asking from you. Every day in December, when you tiptoe downstairs and open the next window in your Advent calendar, you can take out a chocolate but put in a pound. Then, when Christmas comes, you’ll have £24 to give to people who are working to promote peace and mercy. We’ve asked some of them to tell you what they could do with your money. So read on and give well. Have a good Christmas.
Hot meals for kids
Action for Children
There are children in the UK who face a Christmas without food, warmth or love. Action for Children is working to change this by helping over 300,000 vulnerable children every year, including those living with domestic violence, in poverty or at risk of homelessness. Be a secret Santa for a vulnerable child this Christmas. You may not have reindeers or wear big red suits, but you can provide a hot meal or gift to those without. You can give young carers a much-needed break, and find young homeless teenagers somewhere to sleep.
To give £10, text CHILD to 70607. To give more, or for more information, visit iamsanta.org.uk/reform.
Embrace the Middle East
When power cuts in Gaza threaten to close hospital operating theatres, generator fuel keeps them working. In Gaza, where electricity only lasts a few hours a day, patients are at risk. If the power goes out during an operation, it can be a matter of life and death. At the Christian-led hospital in Gaza City, your gift of fuel helps keep the lights on so that their amazing team can continue their lifesaving work. A £23 Hospital Fuel Alternative Gift is enough for one hour of fuel. (You can throw in the extra pound as a donation!)
For more information and to give, visit shop.embraceme.org or call 01227 811 646.
Fingerlings – juvenile fish – grow to provide nutrient-rich harvests for families who face the devastating effects of rising sea levels and flooding. They cost £23 and are one of the ‘practical presents’ available from Practical Action, making a big difference to some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world.
For more information and to give, visit www.practicalaction.org or call 0800 389 1624.
Why not visit Christian Aid’s new virtual store, Charity Gifts, and buy a Christmas present that could make a real difference to people in poverty? Every purchase acts as a donation to the work of Christian Aid and its partners, and comes with a card explaining the present and the related project. For instance, £24 could help pay for an emergency disaster kit containing a mosquito net, a water purification kit and other essentials for South Sudanese families displaced by conflict. Your £24 could also buy a nanny goat to supply milk, food and income to communities in rural Kenya.
For more information and to give, visit charity-gifts.christianaid.org.uk or call 020 7523 2493.
Médecins Sans Frontières
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides emergency care to those affected by conflict, malnutrition, epidemics or natural disasters. Our doctors and nurses work tirelessly to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people around the world, such as Labaran (pictured), a three-month-old orphan in Niger suffering from malnutrition. With your support, MSF can continue to independently and impartially provide emergency medical assistance where it is needed most. Your £23.50 could provide 135 emergency food rations for people affected by crisis or natural disaster.
For more information and to give, visit bit.ly/MSFgift or call 020 7404 6600.
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Last year, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) carried out more than 650 medical evacuations. Every story is different and hundreds of lives are saved every year because of an MAF plane and your generous support. Lives like Isabelle’s (pictured) – a young mother from a remote village in Timor-Leste who developed eclampsia after giving birth to twins. In need of an urgent blood transfusion, MAF flew her to hospital to receive the lifesaving treatment she needed. Your gift of £24 could pay for the fuel for a 60km medical emergency flight, saving a trip of over five hours by road, which could be the difference between life and death.
For more information and to give, visit www.maf-uk.org/give or call 01303 852 819.
Christian Blind Mission
Give the gift of sight. Just £24 can fund a sight-restoring cataract operation for someone living in one of the world’s poorest communities, transforming their life forever. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Buying a gift from Christian Blind Mission (CBM)’s Give Joy range can help a grandmother like Lovinsa (pictured) regain independence and see God’s beautiful world again. CBM’s Give Joy catalogue is full of life-changing gifts. Bring hope to people who are blind or living with other disabilities in the world’s poorest places.
For more information and to give, visit givejoy.cbmuk.org.uk or call 01223 484 700.
Home for Good
Home for Good wants to ensure churches are safe, welcoming and supportive for looked-after and adopted children. Our children’s and youth leader training equips people to better understand the needs of children who have experienced trauma, enabling them to carry out sensitive, practical and appropriate ministry. Your £24 could provide essential resources that will enable ten leaders to access this training, so that every child and young person can feel engaged and empowered within their church. Care-experienced children are among the most vulnerable in our churches. Let’s ensure that each one can feel safe, loved and valued.
For more information and to give, visit www.homeforgood.org.uk/give or call 0330 001 0995.
This article was published in the December 2018 / January 2019 edition of Reform