Mission Without Borders (MWB), a UK charity working in the poorest countries in Europe, is to provide more than 30,000 parcels of essential food items, Christmas decorations and festive treats to people living in some of the worst poverty experienced across the continent.
Each year for the past three decades, MWB has distributed thousands of Operation Christmas Love parcels to people living below the breadline in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. The food staples contained within each Operation Christmas Love parcel are often a lifeline for people living in poverty. In Romania, 70% of people in rural locations live below the national poverty line. The vast majority of employment is seasonal, agricultural work and during winter this type of work is scarce. Increased financial burdens and food insecurity mean families are unable to meet their basic needs and the colder months are blighted by hunger and suffering.
MWB UK’s National Manager, Carly Jones, says:
“The living conditions experienced by families in the communities where we work are shocking and unacceptable. High levels of unemployment and limited investment in infrastructure has caused poverty to become deeply entrenched in many communities.
Through Operation Christmas Love we aim to provide practical relief to people and families in need of immediate assistance. By participating in our programme in the long term, families and communities also have access to education, training, emotional support and microenterprise opportunities, giving them the means to live independently and hope for a better future.”
MWB has been working in Eastern Europe since the 1960s and its long standing local partnerships mean it is able to reach vulnerable people and communities that other organisations and local authorities may be unable to access, including Eastern Europe’s most remote, rural communities and Roma families living in destitution due to social stigma. In recent years the charity has also responded to Europe’s pressing refugee crisis by extending its Operation to support 2,500 refugees from the Middle East.