Image: A woman wearing a lab coat and face mask fills a syringe from a vaccination bottle.
Credit: © UNICEF/UN0402670
“Giving Tuesday” is on November 30, just after the First Sunday in Advent (Hope), and for many of us this year hope has come in a syringe as we benefit from vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 crisis won’t end for anyone until it ends for everyone and in some parts of the world, no end is in sight. Our Mission & Service partner ACT Alliance reports that less than 2 percent of vaccines have reached Africa and less than 7 percent have reached South America. Many countries in the Global South and East won’t even be able to start a vaccine program until 2022. If this continues, these countries won’t reach vaccination goals until 2024…if ever.
This Advent, through the United Church’s Gifts with Vision catalogue, we have the opportunity to give the ultimate gift ― the gift of life. Gifts with Vision is an initiative providing an online catalogue filled with a variety of projects to support. “Shopping” from this catalogue offers opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives throughout Canada and across the world during the Christmas season or any time of year. There are gifts to counter racism, gifts for healing and reconciliation, gifts which address poverty and hunger, gifts supporting leadership and education, and gifts providing wellness and safe spaces. When you visit the website you can click on a category you’d like to support and choose from among the projects listed. For example, you can provide a full vaccination for someone in the world for $25. For a $15.00 gift you can provide Inuinnaqtun language mentors the resources they need to spend 300 hours a year in one-on-one conversation sessions with their apprentices. The Inuinnaqtun language—the foundation of Inuinnait culture in Nunavut—has fewer than 600 fluent speakers remaining. Reclaiming their language and culture can help to heal the scars of systemic oppression.
Please consider buying some Christmas gifts from Gifts with Vision on behalf of your relatives and friends. Each gift provides support for specific Mission & Service partners and projects. There will be a few printed Gifts with Vision catalogues available on the table in the lobby of the church or you can visit the online catalogue at https://giftswithvision.ca/