Helping the Most Vulnerable Among Us

In the two weeks since Hurricane Sandy ripped across the Caribbean and slammed into the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, we’ve all witnessed terrible destruction. But I’ve seen another picture emerge, too–as ordinary people have stood up to help those who need it most. Neighbors helping each other clean rubble out of damaged homes, restaurants handing out free meals, and businesses opening their doors to those in need of a shower or a place to charge a phone.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF has been the recipient of fantastic generosity, too. Our building was badly damaged in the hurricane, but this week we move into temporary quarters in a number of locations in New York City, thanks to the generosity of colleagues at UNICEF and other UNICEF supporters. “Now more than ever, we know that the U.S. Fund for UNICEF needs to keep its work going,” said Rick Levy, Partner and General Counsel at ICM Partners, whose company has loaned us 35 spaces for staffers. “This has been a reminder of how much the world’s children need UNICEF.”

UNICEF was created after World War II to help children living in war–ravaged areas. Although its work has grown exponentially over the past 65 years, it is still the leader when it comes to emergency and disaster relief efforts for children. Today, UNICEF serves the most-vulnerable children in developing countries–providing a global safety net when disaster strikes: Food, clean water, vaccinations, a safe, warm shelter.

With staffers on the ground all over the world, strategic transit hubs on four continents, and a 24/7 emergency operations center in New York, UNICEF provides children with the help they need, when they need it.

This holiday season, you can be a part of that safety net by making UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts part of your holiday tradition. These are truly gifts that give back–lifesaving products that are delivered directly to children most in need, including those caught in devastating natural disasters. Buy mosquito nets to protect a child from malaria, oral rehydration salts to combat diarrhea, measles and polio vaccines. All UNICEF Inspired Gifts are shipped from UNICEF’s supply warehouse to aid children in more than 150 countries.

It doesn’t take much to save a life. For example, just $28.60 provides enough measles vaccines to protect 100 children who are vulnerable to this deadly and highly contagious disease. Even better, every dollar donated for a measles vaccine through our Inspired Gifts program will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor from now until #GivingTuesday, November 27.

As we give thanks for all the blessings in our own lives, let’s continue to help the most vulnerable among us—in our own neighborhoods and all around the world.

Caryl M. Stern is the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer. Previously, Caryl served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after a ten-year career in higher education, most recently as Dean of Students at Polytechnic University in New York.

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