S. C. Family Shows True Meaning of Christmas with Eight Days of Giving Challenge with Food for the Hungry

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While it’s common for children in the U.S. to dream about gifts they’ll get for Christmas, one Lancaster, S.C., family is learning to be more captivated by what they’ll give.

The Reis Family

In many families in the West, Christmas is for giving things that are nice to have, but far from essential. It brings a huge sense of purpose to give things that can mean life or death for a child in the developing world.

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While it’s common for children in the U.S. to dream about gifts they’ll get for Christmas, one Lancaster, S.C., family is learning to be more captivated by what they’ll give.

“As our children are growing up, we’ve wanted them to develop a heart for giving,” said Jeremy Reis, Food for the Hungry (FH) Director of Digital Marketing. “It’s gotten to the point that our kids see Christmas as a time of giving rather than getting. So, we’ve started eight days of giving in our family, and we are inviting others to join in.”

For eight days in December, one day for each person in their family, the Reises are using FH’s online gift catalog to give something to a vulnerable family around the world. Reis will be blogging each day at blog.fh.org, beginning on December 8, about the family’s journey through the FH gift catalog.

The eight days are modeled after the Jewish Festival of Lights, or Hanukah, and span from December 9 to 16. By asking others to join them in their new Christmas tradition, they hope to reach 100 gifts given per day given through the FH gift catalog.

The catalog is designed to deliver gifts that impact the lives on the most vulnerable globally. Through the gift catalog, families in need receive items like small farm animals, school supplies and uniforms and bed nets.

The practical impacts of this kind of giving can be seen in children all over the world. FH beneficiary named Biniam, who lives in Zeway, Ethiopia, has experienced this impact first hand. He ran away after his father died and his mother began to struggle to provide for the family. His mother eventually found him and convinced him to come back home. Still, without a school uniform, he was unable to go to school. The gift of a school uniform from FH gave Biniam hope for his future by opening the door for him to go back to school.

“It’s because these gifts cost so little yet mean so much that we are challenging our friends and family—and really anyone—to join in these eight days of giving with us,” Reis said. “In many families in the West, Christmas is for giving things that are nice to have, but far from essential. It brings a huge sense of purpose to give things that can mean life or death for a child in the developing world.”

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Founded in 1971, Food for the Hungry provides emergency relief and long-term development programs in more than 20 countries to help the world's most vulnerable people. Learn more by visiting http://www.fh.org. Social connections include http://www.facebook.com/foodforthehungry and http://www.twitter.com/food4thehungry.

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Eileen Gorman
Food for the Hungry
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