What will my children wear? How will we stay warm? As winter looms ahead, these troubling thoughts weigh on the minds of people who struggle to provide for their basic needs.
In remote areas of Eastern Europe where CAM works, the average income for families is only $2 each day per family member. On such a tight budget, winter adds a huge hardship as parents attempt to provide warm clothes for their children and heat for their homes. The elderly are especially vulnerable. Even though many of them receive a small government pension, they often spend their entire monthly income on heating during the cold winter months.
Through CAM’s Clothing Bundle Project, gifts of clothing, shoes, and comforters help ease the burden of winter for thousands of families and elderly people.
Our field staff in Eastern Europe get the most requests for clothing before school starts. Families hope to find clothes for their children so they can stretch their money for food and other basic needs.
A CAM contact describes the anticipation of one family when receiving a clothing bag. Happy shouts of, “This fits me!” and, “I also found something nice for me!” ring out as the children dig through the bag.
An elderly widow in Romania who previously worked on a communist farm does not receive a government pension. When our distribution driver delivered a bag of clothing to her, he told her that likely not all the clothes will fit. “That’s alright,” she said. “I’ve never been able to give free clothing to anyone, and now I’ll be able to.” This widow, like many other recipients, shares the items she isn’t able to use with needy people around her.
Apart from clothes, comforters are also a wonderful blessing to people who use them for warmth or a soft place to sleep. Comforters are used in various ways by Syrian refugees in the Middle East. They use comforters to keep out the draft or to serve as privacy curtains inside their tents or old apartment buildings. Since most refugees fled their homes with empty hands, they find themselves unprepared for cold weather. Many suffer illnesses from damp walls, water leaks, or damage to the interior of apartments. A warm comforter put together by loving hands is gratefully received by refugees accustomed to sleeping without any source of warmth.
Destitute people in warm countries benefit from the Clothing Bundle Project as well. When eighty-year-old Lohr in Liberia received a comforter, she exclaimed, “Thank you very much! Let God bless you people many times.” Lorh previously had only a thin piece of foam to protect her from the hard floor at night.
“In any country, clothes are very important,” says a CAM staff member in Nicaragua. “For example, how can I get a good interview for a job to provide for my family if my clothes are dirty and stained?”
About two million pounds of donated clothing are shipped to various countries each year. Although CAM receives about the right amount of quality used clothing, funds are needed to ship and distribute them. Our cost for the Clothing Bundle Project this year is estimated at $1,225,000. If you wish to contribute to this program, your support will be greatly appreciated.
Every gift of $69 processes, ships, and distributes approximately 125 pounds of clothing to the needy in Romania, Liberia, the Middle East, and other places. Thank you, supporters, for helping others experience warmth this coming winter!