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World Vision Continues Around-the-World Tour to Find the 'True Spirit of Christmas'

Team began quest in U.S. three weeks ago, will travel to one more country in next two weeks

$25 million fundraising effort aims to fight poverty and help 625,000 people around the world

So far, more than $6 million has been raised toward this year's goal

Contact: Laura Blank, World Vision, 646-245-2496, lblank@worldvision.org 

LUSAKA, Zambia, Dec. 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- Since November 19, World Vision and thousands of people around the world have been traveling the globe in search of the Christmas spirit as part of the Christian humanitarian agency's "Spirit of Christmas" tour.  The month-long tour features interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. In the past three weeks, World Vision's team has been highlighting both the heartbreaking circumstances of the poor and the inspiring impact even small donations of a few dollars can make in helping families provide for their children. 

"We are more than halfway through our around-the-world tour, and the response from people worldwide has been incredibly inspiring," said Devin Hermanson, campaign manager for World Vision's "Spirit of Christmas" tour.  "Whenever the red-eye flights, long car rides to remote villages, and unusual meals like guinea pig for Thanksgiving start to tire our team, we remember the brave people we've met in every country along the way.  Their tireless perseverance in the face of adversity gives us the inspiration and strength to continue our journey and spread the word about the powerful impact the Gift Catalog can have."

The team has traveled to New York City, Quito, Ecuador, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The team left Cambodia on Saturday, December 5 and traveled to Lusaka, Zambia.  There the team will learn more about malaria, the number one killer of children under five in Zambia.  They will meet one family who suffered from malaria for years before World Vision gave them bed nets to protect themselves.  And they will see how simple gifts like goats and seeds and tools for farmers are making life-changing differences in communities throughout the country.

Fast facts about the "Spirit of Christmas" tour in Lusaka, Zambia:

  • The team has traveled more than 20, 405 miles since November 19.
  • So far, more than $6 million -- or almost 25% -- has been raised toward this year's $25 million goal.
  • Nearly 12 million people live in Zambia.
  • More than 85% of Zambians live below the poverty line, and 50% are unemployed.
  • Malaria is the biggest killer of children under five years old and remains a major health concern for adults, too.
  • 1.1 million people -- more than 10% of the population -- are living with HIV and AIDS.
  • The life expectancy for the average Zambia is just 38 years old.
  • World Vision has worked in Zambia since 1981.

As part of the "Spirit of Christmas" tour, the organization seeks to raise a record-breaking $25 million through the World Vision Gift Catalog to help provide these communities with much-needed resources like water, livestock, medicine, and agriculture -- assistance that could change the lives of nearly 625,000 people.  If World Vision meets the Gift Catalog's financial goal this year, it would be far more than the aid agency has ever raised during the holiday period, making it a truly extraordinary response in extraordinary times.

World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996.  A gift given through the catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty, while at the same time honor your friends and loved ones.  There are more than 100 gifts (many under $35) to choose from.  To order, visit our website at www.worldvisiongifts.org or call toll-free 1 (888) 511-6511. All items are tax-deductible.     

To schedule an interview with the team as they travel, please contact Laura Blank at lblank@worldvision.org or +1.646.245.2496.  To follow the team online, log onto Facebook, visit us on Twitter, or check out the “Spirit of Christmas” campaign site at www.worldvisiongifts.org.

Note: The "Spirit of Christmas" World Tour Schedule
Bronx, New York  November 17 - 22, 2009 
Quito, Ecuador   November 22 - 27, 2009
Phnom Penh, Cambodia  November 28 - December 5, 2009
Lusaka, Zambia   December 6 - 13, 2009
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  December 13 - 17, 2009
Bronx, New York  December 18 - 23, 2009

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.  We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit
www.worldvision.org/press.