Canadians invited to bless children in need with Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts

Canadians invited to bless children in need with Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts

Canada NewsWire


National Collection Week—when everyone’s boxes are to be at Collection Centers—is Nov. 18-24

CALGARY, Oct. 15, 2019 /CNW/ – Canada’s 2019 Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection season starts today, as thousands of individuals, families, churches, businesses, sports teams, and community groups begin packing shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items, plus personal notes and photos.

Operation Christmas Child is an annual initiative of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization that works in more than 100 countries.

Thanks to all the items that Canadians lovingly put in their shoeboxes, and the $10-per-box they donate to cover shipping and other program costs, Samaritan’s Purse is able to deliver the boxes to children around the world living in the midst of poverty, disease, war, and natural disaster.

Last year, Canadians filled more than 517,000 shoeboxes with gifts that shared God’s love and hope with struggling children in West Africa and Central America. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed more than 167 million shoebox gifts in over 100 countries.

“Every shoebox packed by Canadians enables us to offer hope and joy to children in some of the most impoverished parts of the world,” said Randy Crosson, director of Operation Christmas Child. “Please consider packing just one more box to increase the impact you and Operation Christmas Child will have this season.”

Shoeboxes are given as unconditional gifts regardless of the child’s race, religion, or gender. When given, they often open doors for Samaritan’s Purse to work with community leaders in identifying and addressing important needs such as clean water, literacy, vocational training for women, school meals for children, etc.

National Shoebox Collection Week is Nov. 18-24: Each gift-filled shoebox packed, donated, and delivered to one of hundreds of collection centers throughout Canada by Nov. 24 will make a long journey into the arms of a child in need. People can also pack boxes online at PackABox.ca.

News Media Resources: Operation Christmas Child radio, TV, and general media kits are here. To learn more, including suggestions concerning what to put in shoeboxes, please visit SamaritansPurse.ca/OCC.

About Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian relief and development organization that takes its name from Jesus Christ’s biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Like that Good Samaritan, who found a beaten man and helped restore him, we aid victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. Besides Operation Christmas Child, our work includes providing safe water, vocational skills, and agricultural supplies and training to families in the developing world. Visit SamaritansPurse.ca for more information.

SOURCE Samaritan’s Purse Canada

View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2019/15/c5578.html

Sleep Country Launches Annual Give A Kid A Coat Campaign

Sleep Country Launches Annual Give A Kid A Coat Campaign

Canada NewsWire

Donations will be accepted at Sleep Country and Dormez-vous stores now until November 24th, 2019

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2019 /CNW/ – Ahead of the upcoming winter season, Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. (“Sleep Country” or the “Company” (TSX: ZZZ)), Canada’s leading sleep retailer, is holding its annual Give A Kid A Coat campaign in support of the Salvation Army and regional charities. Designed to support local children in need, the charitable initiative runs nationally from now until November 24, in an effort to prepare families for the harsh winter conditions experienced nationwide. The program was introduced in 1998, with the goal of helping children stay warm throughout the winter months.

Sleep Country (CNW Group/Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. Investor Relations)

“Sleep Country’s mission is to better the lives of Canadian families. This is integral in our day-to-day operations and commitment to helping Canadians get a better night’s sleep,” said Christine Magee, Co-Founder and Chair of Sleep Country Canada. “Sleep Country is dedicated to giving back to our communities and helping families and children in need. With our Give A Kid A Coat campaign, we’re able to raise awareness for an important cause while ensuring a warm and safe winter for less fortunate children in the communities we serve. Together with the generosity of our local communities and customers, we have been able to donate nearly 25,000 winter coats in the last 5 years alone.”

Canadians can donate new or gently used winter coats, hats and mittens at any of the 276 Sleep Country and Dormez-vous locations across the country. Items collected will be distributed to local charities in each community like the Salvation Army to help children in need.

For a full list of participating Sleep Country and Dormez-vous locations visit SleepCountry.ca and Dormezvous.com

About Sleep Country Canada
Sleep Country is Canada’s leading omnichannel mattress and bedding retailer and the only specialty sleep products retailer with a national bricks and mortar footprint and an online presence. Sleep Country operates under three retail banners (the “Banners”): “Sleep Country Canada”, with omnichannel operations in Canada excluding Québec; “Dormez-vous?” with omnichannel operations in Québec and “Endy”, Canada’s leading online mattress-in-a-box retailer. As of October 15, 2019, Sleep Country has 276 stores and 17 distribution centres across Canada. All of the Company’s stores are corporate-owned, enabling it to develop and maintain a strong culture of customer service, resulting in a consistent and superior in-store and home delivery experience. Sleep Country also works closely with Canadian charities to donate new and gently used mattresses to families and children in need.

For more information about the company visit sleepcountry.ca, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SleepCountryCanada.

SOURCE Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. Investor Relations

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Poor diets damaging children’s health worldwide, warns UNICEF

Poor diets damaging children’s health worldwide, warns UNICEF

Canada NewsWire

Poverty, urbanization, climate change and poor eating choices driving unhealthy diets

1 in 3 children under five is malnourished; 2 in 3 children under two live on poor diets

NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2019 /CNW/ – An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them, UNICEF warned today in a new report on children, food and nutrition.

An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them. © UNICEF/UN066971/Mawa (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)

The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition finds that at least 1 in 3 children under five – or over 200 million – is either undernourished or overweight. Almost 2 in 3 children between six months and two years of age are not fed food that supports their rapidly growing bodies and brains. This puts them at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections and, in many cases, death.

“Despite all the technological, cultural and social advances of the last few decades, we have lost sight of this most basic fact: If children eat poorly, they live poorly,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Millions of children subsist on an unhealthy diet because they simply do not have a better choice. The way we understand and respond to malnutrition needs to change: It is not just about getting children enough to eat; it is above all about getting them the right food to eat. That is our common challenge today.”

The report provides the most comprehensive assessment yet of 21st century child malnutrition in all its forms. It describes a triple burden of malnutrition: Undernutrition, hidden hunger caused by a lack of essential nutrients, and overweight among children under the age of five, noting that around the world:

  • 149 million children are stunted, or too short for their age,
  • 50 million children are wasted, or too thin for their height,
  • 340 million children – or 1 in 2 – suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A and iron,
  • 40 million children are overweight or obese.

The report warns that poor eating and feeding practices start from the earliest days of a child’s life. Though breastfeeding can save lives, for example, only 42 per cent of children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed and an increasing number of children are fed infant formula. Sales of milk-based formula grew by 72 per cent between 2008 and 2013 in upper middle-income countries such as Brazil, China and Turkey, largely due to inappropriate marketing and weak policies and programmes to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

As children begin transitioning to soft or solid foods around the six-month mark, too many are introduced to the wrong kind of diet, according to the report. Worldwide, close to 45 per cent of children between six months and two years of age are not fed any fruits or vegetables. Nearly 60 per cent do not eat any eggs, dairy, fish or meat.

As children grow older, their exposure to unhealthy food becomes alarming, driven largely by inappropriate marketing and advertising, the abundance of ultra-processed foods in cities but also in remote areas, and increasing access to fast food and highly sweetened beverages.

For example, the report shows that 42 per cent of school-going adolescents in low- and middle-income countries consume carbonated sugary soft drinks at least once a day and 46 per cent eat fast food at least once a week. Those rates go up to 62 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, for adolescents in high-income countries.

As a result, overweight and obesity levels in childhood and adolescence are increasing worldwide. From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of overweight children between 5 and 19 years of age doubled from 1 in 10 to almost 1 in 5. Ten times more girls and 12 times more boys in this age group suffer from obesity today than in 1975.

The greatest burden of malnutrition in all its forms is shouldered by children and adolescents from the poorest and most marginalized communities, the report notes. Only 1 in 5 children aged six months to two years from the poorest households eats a sufficiently diverse diet for healthy growth. Even in high-income countries such as the UK, the prevalence of overweight is more than twice as high in the poorest areas as in the richest areas.

The report also notes that climate-related disasters cause severe food crises. Drought, for example, is responsible for 80 per cent of damage and losses in agriculture, dramatically altering what food is available to children and families, as well as the quality and price of that food.

To address this growing malnutrition crisis in all its forms, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, the private sector, donors, parents, families and businesses to help children grow healthy by:

  1. Empowering families, children and young people to demand nutritious food, including by improving nutrition education and using proven legislation – such as sugar taxes – to reduce demand for unhealthy foods.
  2. Driving food suppliers to do the right thing for children, by incentivizing the provision of healthy, convenient and affordable foods.
  3. Building healthy food environments for children and adolescents by using proven approaches, such as accurate and easy-to-understand labelling and stronger controls on the marketing of unhealthy foods.
  4. Mobilizing supportive systems – health, water and sanitation, education and social protection – to scale up nutrition results for all children.
  5. Collecting, analyzing and using good-quality data and evidence to guide action and track progress.

“We are losing ground in the fight for healthy diets,” said Fore. “This is not a battle we can win on our own. We need governments, the private sector and civil society to prioritize child nutrition and work together to address the causes of unhealthy eating in all its forms.”

For photos, broll, the full report, factsheet, graphs and datasets, click here. After 00.01 GMT 15 October, you can browse the special interactive feature on our website or download the report here.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our live-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

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