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Super Bowl: Children in need benefit from brand-new clothing printed for losing team

New England Patriots' pre-printed Super Bowl apparel will get a second life in impoverished countries through World Vision's Gifts-in-Kind program.

February 5, 2008



Emilia, 29, stands with her three daughters who are donning NFL Super Bowl sweatshirts and knitted caps they received from a World Vision social worker. World Vision's partnership with the National Football League provides excess post-season apparel that is shipped and distributed to children and families in need of warm clothing.
Emilia, 29, stands with her three daughters who are donning National Football League Super Bowl sweatshirts and knitted caps they received from a World Vision social worker. World Vision's partnership with the NFL provides excess post-season apparel that is shipped and distributed to children and families in need of warm clothing.
© 2007 Magda Camanaru/World Vision
Even though they didn't win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots will still be champions in several countries around the world.

Before major NFL events, like the Super Bowl, participating teams often pre-print victory apparel. The winning team sells its items right away, but the losing team is left with large quantities of merchandise that cannot be sold.

In this case, World Vision is partnering with the NFL and Reebok to help children in need receive the treasure of new clothing. Instead of throwing it away, the losing team's pre-printed victory apparel will bring joy to children in need around the world.

A shipment that changes lives

The Patriots' shirts and caps will be shipped to World Vision's distribution center in Pittsburgh, where staff will sort the items and add them to shipments for World Vision field staff. Once those shipments arrive, field staff members distribute the apparel to children and families in need.

For many of the recipients, these will be the first new articles of clothing they have ever owned.

After the 2007 Super Bowl game, a significant portion of the apparel for the Chicago Bears — last year's losing team — was distributed in Zambia, and the rest went to areas of Chad, Chile, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, and Romania.

One Romanian family received some Chicago Bears' apparel after the 2007 game and enjoyed the gift of added warmth.

Difficult circumstances

Mihaela Ciobanu, a World Vision social worker in Romania, brings a special box as she visits this family's small, overcrowded kitchen in the northeast region of the country. Twins Mihaela and Paula, 11, do homework with their sister, Gabita, 7, as they watch their mother prepare lunch. The woodstove serves as the cooking surface and the main source of heat for the house. It is fueled by small branches gathered from the nearby forest. Good firewood is a commodity the girls' parents Emilia and Paul, both 29 cannot afford.

Mihaela Ciobanu, a World Vision social worker in Romania, walks down a muddy road on a cold, gray winter day to deliver a gift to Gabita, Mihaela, and Paula. The dreary conditions shown here illustrate the need for these children to have warm, clean clothing during the winter months.
Mihaela Ciobanu, a World Vision social worker in Romania, walks down a muddy road on a cold, gray winter day to deliver a gift to Gabita, Mihaela, and Paula. The dreary conditions shown here illustrate the need for these children to have warm, clean clothing during the winter months.
© 2007 Magda Camanaru/World Vision

They are both out of work, and the family lives off the income of occasional labor and the children's monthly state allowance about $30 dollars per month. Ciobanu says more than 75 percent of families in the area face a similar situation.

Winter is one of the hardest times of the year for them. Aside from the obvious difficulties of coping with sub-zero temperatures, it's nearly impossible for them to find any odd jobs from November through March.

'Father Christmas is going to come'


Food is the priority for this family, so items like warm clothes are a luxury. "We do not have money to buy [the children] new clothes," Emilia tells the social worker. "Gabita often wears the clothes from her older sisters…"

Looking at the cardboard box Ciobanu brought along, Emilia continues: "I kept telling them that Father Christmas is going to come to them as well and he finally did."

The girls gather around as Ciobanu opens the box, and three little pairs of eyes peer anxiously to see what's inside. Ciobanu pulls out three brand-new sweatshirts each proclaiming the Chicago Bears as the 2007 Super Bowl winners as well as some knit caps.

'Like a gift from heaven'


The girls are in awe of their gifts, afraid to even try on their new clothes until Ciobanu encourages them to do so.

"Come on, girls, don't you want to see how they fit you?"

That's all the convincing they need. At once, the children start pulling on their new sweatshirts and hats.

These hooded sweatshirts are a perfect layer to add under their coats, as sub-zero temperatures and snow have been common this winter, and the girls walk more than a mile to school over rough roads.

"I am glad we could provide these warm clothes," Ciobanu says. "Every support like this comes like a gift from heaven for all these children, I can assure you."

Learn more


>> Read about World Vision's Gifts-in-Kind program, which collects donated items from generous corporations and distributes them to children and families in need around the world.
>> Read an article about a similar partnership between World Vision and Major League Baseball, which provided excess postseason apparel to flood survivors in the African nation of Ghana.

Two ways you can help

>> Thank God for the gift of brand-new clothing that Mihaela, Paula, and Gabita received through World Vision's partnership with the NFL and Reebok. Pray that this partnership and others like it would continue to benefit children and families around the world who are in need of basic necessities like warm clothing for the winter months.
>> Donate now to help World Vision ship and distribute the donations of clothing and shoes we have received from generous American manufacturers. Your gift will multiply 14 times in impact to help keep children warm in 20 countries around the world.

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