Their mission: Construct World Vision Caregiver Kits to equip volunteers around the world who care for those impacted by AIDS but, because of poverty, often lack critical basic supplies.
The event, held in Minneapolis on Tuesday, hosted more than 500 participants who collectively built more than 2,500 kits to be shipped to AIDS-affected communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In attendance were Cindy McCain, First Lady Laura Bush, former Sens. Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and John Kasich, World Vision's Princess Zulu, and the ONE Campaign's David Lane.
"You are privileged, and with that privilege comes the opportunity to make a difference for people who do not have [privilege]," Princess Zulu told the crowd at the event. "So what you are doing today is a very unconventional thing at the convention — to say we as Americans care. You care, not only [for] things that affect you here, but the people who live around the world."
The 500 participants in attendance on Tuesday rolled up their sleeves and filled kits with cotton balls, latex gloves, Vaseline, flashlights, and notes of encouragement to the people who dedicate their time caring for people suffering from AIDS. Laura Bush addressed the crowd and offered thanks for the collaborative efforts of World Vision, the ONE Campaign, and party delegates and leaders.
"I want to thank each and every one of you," said the First Lady. "I have no worries; I can tell the ONE Campaign, I know whoever's elected will continue this because it is so effective, and because people depend on us, and because just like Princess [Zulu] and President Bush said, 'To whom much is given, much is required.'"
In addition to the caregiver supplies, Got Cents, a campaign run by the nonprofit Change for a Penny, organized a display of 6.1 million pennies in the formation of an AIDS ribbon — symbolizing the number of lives lost to AIDS since the last presidential election.
In part because ONE members have raised their voices in hundreds of town hall meetings, community gatherings, and direct meetings with the candidates, both John McCain and Barack Obama have committed to policies that will empower people struggling with global poverty and disease to lift themselves up and gain access to the care they need.
McCain has pledged to eradicate malaria. He also has spoken at length about America's role in combating global HIV and AIDS and the benefits of such U.S. initiatives as the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Obama has committed to doubling U.S. foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012. He would build on proven, successful foreign policy programs, such as America's global AIDS strategy to which he has pledged a stronger commitment than in current law.
"Assembling these kits at the Republican Convention sends a symbolic message that fighting extreme poverty is an important issue in this election," said Lane. "Voters, delegates, and the candidates themselves are demonstrating their commitment to doing more for the world's poorest people."
Three ways you can help
|Join World Vision in our advocacy for orphans and vulnerable children.|