World Vision works to help needy women, children
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The Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is trying to link women from many local churches to fight poverty locally and globally.
"It's Christian women coming together with a common purpose to advocate for impoverished people and for justice around the world," said Pamela Hoffman, the volunteer coordinator for a developing chapter of Women of Vision.
Women of Vision has many chapters on the West Coast -- World Vision is headquartered near Seattle -- but few in the East, she said. However, the organization has a distribution center in Aleppo, where introductory meetings for the women's group will be held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 18, to give participants a choice of times.
Women from about 10 churches are involved so far, said Ms. Hoffman, of Cecil and a member of Calvary Full Gospel Assembly of God in South Fayette. Once the group is organized, they will choose a local project, and later a national and global project.
World Vision runs relief and development projects in 100 nations, including the U.S.
Ms. Hoffman, 44, who has worked in fundraising and in advocacy for children in foster care, said she was moved to get involved after reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by World Vision President Rich Stearns. The book challenges his fellow evangelicals to get serious about alleviating deadly poverty.
She was stopped short by his account of an encounter with a Peruvian woman whose husband had died. Their cattle were dying, so she had to take her three children out of school to tend their farm in the Andes mountains. The woman told Mr. Stearns that she prayed that God would not forget her or her children, and that he would send someone to help them.
"He realized that he was the answer to this woman's prayer," she said. "He had this vision of thousands of prayers going up into heaven, and we in America are the ones with the resources to answer them.
"When I read that I said, 'Lord, I will do something.' Ten minutes later I was on the Women of Vision Web site."
The Web site emphasizes that women and children are disproportionately affected by poverty. Nearly 30,000 children die daily from hunger and treatable illness, and two-thirds of the world's 785 million illiterate adults are women. Women do two-thirds of the world's labor but earn 10 percent of its income, according to its statistics.
Ms. Hoffman also has been accepted as a volunteer with the federal VISTA program, with a pending assignment to help the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank reach rural communities in Greene and Fayette counties, she said. Although that work is not related to the Women of Vision project, she hopes her participation in both will help link churches to what are often hidden areas of great need.
"We are all doing our own thing and World Vision might be a great tool for bringing churches together in a common purpose to meet the needs of the poor," she said.
"My hope and my prayer was that God would somehow unite us so that we come together in a way that is mighty. The idea is to see the world changed."
The registration deadline for the introduction meetings is June 15. For information or registration call 888-744-1812.
First Published June 1, 2009 12:00 am