Millions of children in the UK and across the world are facing rising levels of food insecurity this Christmas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
Two charities, World Vision and Transforming Lives for Good (TLG), have joined forces to highlight the struggles many families are facing over Christmas, as well as how both charities are working to bring hope and transformation – and how you can help.
Between them, World Vision and TLG support children and their families across the world. World Vision is an international development charity working in more than 100 countries to transform the lives of vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) is a UK-based children’s charity, supporting children and families facing challenges such as school exclusion, poverty, and emotional wellbeing.
The world is facing unprecedented levels of drought, mainly due to climate change. In Kenya, both climate change and the impact of COVID-19 have left two million people facing famine levels of hunger.
The drought has caused food prices to soar, leaving families like Anastacia’s – a single mum from the Muukini village (pictured) – unable to afford food. Anastacia’s 12-year-old daughter, Nzilani says, “When I come home from school, I eat some boiled maize, and I only eat once, sometimes twice, a day.”
However, World Vision is intervening to support families like Anastacia’s. Through the charity’s child sponsorship programme, families have the means to gain a stable income so they can provide all of life’s essentials – like education, nutrition, and healthcare – for their children.
Nzilani is a sponsored child. Funding from sponsorship means she can go to school and get an education. “I am happy because I go to school and play with my friends,” says Nzilani proudly wearing a school uniform paid for by World Vision.
Back in the UK, many families are facing a Christmas full of anxiety after a prolonged period of financial insecurity, worsened by the pandemic, reduced income, and increased cost of living. Families like Martin Jr, aged five, his two teenage sisters, and his parents. Martin Jr’s Dad was put on furlough during the pandemic, during this time he experienced health issues and is currently temporarily unable to work. The family have also been affected by the removal of the Universal Credit uplift. This prolonged reduction in income, combined with the rising cost of living, left the family feeling isolated and anxious about how they were going to afford to pay the bills.
This is where TLG Box of Hope stepped in. TLG Box of Hope has equipped hundreds of churches across the UK to deliver emergency food and wellbeing parcels to families – including Martin Jr’s– throughout the pandemic. Mum Michelle said: “I went through a stage where I couldn’t sleep from worry. I sleep so much better now, mainly due to the church’s support. Box of Hope has done so much for my family”, with Martin Jr adding: “We made birdfeeders and played games, it was so fun. Thankyou Box of Hope!”
Sadly, it’s not just Anastacia and Martin Jr’s families that are facing challenges this Christmas relating to financial insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic and emotional wellbeing. Millions of people around the world are facing months of struggle, with charities like World Vision and TLG urgently needing to expand their work to meet the ever-increasing need.
Such provision from both charities, both here in the UK and across the world, is needed now more than ever to support families through Christmas and beyond, bringing hope and community to a time that would otherwise be filled with anxiety and isolation.
How you can help
Therefore, both TLG and World Vision are uniting to call upon individuals and churches to consider what they can do this Christmas. Both charities are running Christmas appeals.
TLG are encouraging people to donate to their one-off appeal to help deliver more Boxes of Hope to UK families this Christmas. TLG urgently need to raise £48,000 this Christmas to reach over 10,000 children with practical wellbeing support during these challenging winter months. Donate today and together we will provide for children and families in crisis this Christmas.
World Vision are seeking sponsors for children experiencing the effects of the drought and global starvation crisis in the most challenging places. Sponsoring a child today will help provide a child and their family with nutritious food, clean water, and access to healthcare – forever changing their life and future for good. For the same cost as two takeaway coffees per week, you can make a huge difference.
Written by: Jo Duckles