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NASHVILLE: The people of The United Methodist Church are marking the lead up to April 25, World Malaria Day, with a renewed call to members and friends to support Nothing But Nets, a grassroots anti-malaria effort which allows anyone, for $10, to send a lifesaving bed net to a family in Africa. Bed nets protect children and their families from the bites of malaria-infected mosquitoes.
“Malaria is a crisis that is threatening many of God's children across the globe,” said Bishop Thomas Bickerton, referring to malaria’s rank as Africa’s leading killer of children under age five. “Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are the most scientifically proven way to stop its spread.”
Bickerton, chairperson of The United Methodist Church’s Global Health Initiative, joins with the people of The United Methodist Church in urging everyone to forego a lunch out, and to direct that $10 savings toward the purchase of a bed net.
“We’re asking people to ‘skip a lunch, send a net, save a life,’” said Bickerton.
Dubbed “To Lunch or Not to Lunch?” the campaign highlights how $10, the cost of lunch, is all that it takes to provide a potentially lifesaving bed net to an African family. A $10 donation at www.umcnothingbutnets.org covers the cost of the bed net, its distribution, and education on its use.
New downloadable resources are available at www.umcnothingbutnets.org for churches to use for World Malaria Day 2009, including a bulletin cover, door hanger, web banner, poster, and postcard.
Inspired by a column by sportswriter Rick Reilly, Nothing But Nets’ founding partners include the people of The United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation, the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, and Sports Illustrated. To date, Nothing But Nets has raised $25 million, enabling the distribution of 2.5 million bed nets.
Seven-year-old Hannah Skelton of Caldwell United Methodist Church in Caldwell, N.J. raised $400 for Nothing but Nets after she learned of the plight of children in Africa from her pastor, the Rev. Jeff Markay. “He told us kids were dying . . . and I really wanted to help,” said Hannah.
Hannah emptied her piggy banks and then scoured the house to find spare coins when her parents promised to match whatever she could raise. Then she began calling family members and friends to ask if they could help her raise money for nets. “Nets can help because mosquitoes can’t get in the nets,” said Hannah.
When Hannah took the money to the bank and shared her story with the bank teller, she got $10 more. Hannah is continuing her quest to raise money and says she will continue to give through her allowance. “I am trying to get everyone in Africa to have a mosquito net,” she said.
For more information on malaria or to make a contribution to Nothing But Nets, visit www.umcnothingbutnets.org, or call 888-252-6174.