How poor is an orphan? Poor enough to say, “The first present that I ever received was a new pair of boots and socks from the Americans.” 8,112 pairs of boots are being loaded unto a ship this week and will arrive in Moldova before Thanksgiving for volunteers to personally give to orphans.
In anticipation of Children’s Emergency Relief International’s (CERI) annual winter boot mission, residents from Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) knitted more than 375 warm wool hats to protect orphaned and impoverished children in Eastern Europe from frostbite.
Children’s Emergency Relief International’s (CERI) Executive Director, Dr. Dearing Garner, and his team recently took part in a three day meeting in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where the focus was all about building resiliency and healing in children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Amid the lush, green landscape of Otutulu – a result of the active rainy season – locals eagerly awaited the arrival of CERI’s medical team. As one volunteer recounted, the beautiful surroundings of the town and joyful attitudes of the children seemed like a gilded façade.
Independence calls for more than just taking care of oneself. A truly fulfilling adult life requires opening your heart to serve others as well. This was Children’s Emergency Relief International’s message to a group of young adults participating in its Transitional Living program in Moldova.
When CERI led a fact-finding mission to assess the humanitarian needs of the children and families in Chiapas – one of the poorest states in Mexico – team members expected to encounter scenes of poverty similar to other countries served by the organization. Yet when the team ventured to the rural Mexican countryside, what they found was indescribable.
Two years ago, Dr. Jon Meyer took a leap of faith and packed his bags for an unprecedented assignment in the former Soviet block nation of Moldova. With a Ph. D. in Social Work and as senior advisor for CERI, he would serve as a consultant to the Moldovan government.
It was chaos from the moment Dr. Marks and his team touched down in Port-Au-Prince. They are used to responding in disasters...but nothing like this. Dr. David Marks is the Medical Director of BCFS. "We were scared. We got there at nighttime. It was hot. We knew the environment was going to be somewhat hostile."
On February 12, BCFS’ Emergency Services Division deployed a strike team to Port-au-Prince at the request of the Haiti Children’s Rescue Mission. The orphanage was sheltering a number of youth, ranging from infants to teenagers, many of whom were suffering from painful illnesses and injuries due to the quake.
Each winter for the past decade, volunteers from across the country have spent their holiday vacations in Eastern Europe with Houston-based Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), the overseas division of BCFS, distributing snow boots, thick socks, hats and scarves to orphans. The warm wear protects against painful frostbite that is common during the harsh winter months.