UNICEF: Canadians choose to give the gift of generosity with last-minute Survival Gifts this holiday season

Canadian generosity purchased 39,217 life-saving gifts, totalling more than $1.7 million in 2014

TORONTO, Dec. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - With the holiday season in full swing, many Canadians have decided to skip the shopping malls, choosing to give the gift of generosity instead – and there's no better time than right now to come together as a country and feel good about giving. 

As another difficult year, fraught with conflict and war, comes to an end, UNICEF is asking Canadians to continue their generous support of Survival Gifts and help save the lives of children around the world. With hundreds of millions of children in need of humanitarian assistance, from Syria, to the Central African Republic, Yemen and South Sudan, the need for life-saving Survival Gifts is at an all-time high.

Canadian generosity continues to save lives
To date for 2015, Canadians have purchased 22,899 Survival Gifts, including Bed Nets, Plumpy'Nut, Oral Rehydration Tablets and Vaccine Packs, totaling $1,157,260 in humanitarian support, making a significant difference in the lives of children living in some of the world's most dangerous places. With the gifts purchased so far by Canadians this year, 1,129,208 children will be reached with critical health, education and protection programs.

"Canadians are keen to help children and families fleeing conflict and war in Syria, generously stepping up local efforts to ease the transition for Syrian refugees as they arrive in Canada this month," says Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada's Chief Development Officer. "But we can't forget the 8.25 million Syrian children at risk in the region who are in need of life-saving support—many of them have known nothing but war."

"We're grateful for the support Canadians have shown through the Survival Gifts program this year already and, as the holidays approach, we encourage Canadians to consider these life-saving essentials as they think of stocking stuffers, gifts for teachers and gifts for those on their list who have everything they need," added Avery. "Essentials like schools supplies, vaccinations and clean water are life-changing for children in developing countries and a wonderful option for gifts this holiday season."

Last-minute gifts that make a difference
Survival Gifts make for meaningful stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts that truly give back. Whether as a special gift for the kids, a friend, teacher, colleague or that challenging someone on everyone's gift-giving list, Survival Gifts provide tangible life-saving and life-changing items that benefit children in need around the world, while providing family and friends a unique gifting experience.

UNICEF's Survival Gifts under $30  are quick and easy last-minute holiday gifting solutions and include life-saving gifts such as:

This year, add on a UNICEF 360° Viewer ($12) and see Survival Gifts in action through a virtual reality experience that puts you in the shoes of Sidra, a 12-year-old Syrian girl currently living in the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan.

Made accessible and affordable through a simple cardboard virtual reality viewer, a smartphone and virtual reality film content available at www.unicef360.com, this advanced storytelling experience helps close the loop on gift-giving, showing Canadians how their generosity makes a real difference.

For a limited time, when donors purchase a featured Survival Gift, they will receive a free UNICEF 360°virtual-reality viewer. Survival Gifts can be bought online at survivalgifts.ca or by phone at 1 888 777 0380.

B-roll video and high-resolution photos for Survival Gifts and UNICEF 360° are available here

B-roll video and high-resolution photo resources about the Syrian crisis are available here

Backgrounder about UNICEF 360° is available here

Fact sheet about UNICEF Survival Gifts: Holiday Gifting Ideas is available here

Fact sheet about UNICEF and the Syrian Crisis is available here

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.


Image with caption: "Students raise their hands to answer a teacher's question during summer catch-up classes at the UNICEF tent school in Al Takiya Al Kasnazaniya camp for internally displaced people in Iraq. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151215_C7186_PHOTO_EN_564388.jpg

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892, 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca


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