Children Donate Funds to Buy 5,400 Bed Nets for Congo

CHICAGO, IL (September 30, 2010) – Children across the Evangelical Covenant Church contributed more than $54,000 to the “Bed Nets for Life” Children’s Service Project.

The funds generally were collected during Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs and will provide mosquito nets for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent the spread of malaria. Each net costs $10.

“One of the great things about the Children’s Service Projects is that it serves as a catalyst for children across the globe to impact each other,” says Steve Burger, director of children, adult, and family ministries for the Department of Christian Formation. The department sponsors the project in cooperation with Covenant World Relief.

“As the children in North America read stories of faith amidst struggle among children in the most destitute places in the world, their hearts are impacted,” says Burger. And as the children in North America spearhead giving, they provide hope and opportunity to children in areas marked by the cycle of poverty.”

Children attending a nine-day VBS at Modesto Covenant Church donated 2,505 pounds of pennies ($3,670), says Meilynne McKenzie, children’s ministry director. More than 800 children participated in the VBS program (see accompanying photo).

The students were divided into two groups throughout the VBS and encouraged to bring coins for the “penny contest.” New totals were announced every morning.

More than competition motivated the students. Each day during the morning’s gathering program, the children heard a story about a child from Congo. As they followed the story, the students learned more about the people they were helping.

“They love missions now,” says McKenzie.

Malaria is the largest killer of children under the age of five in Congo. The mosquito-borne illness kills 900,000 people worldwide each, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Nearly 243 million cases were reported in 2009.

Bed nets have helped some countries cut the incidence of malaria by 50 percent, according to a 2009 WHO report.

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