A charity organization created by the family of the founder of the retail chain Walmart has given millions of dollars to a pro-vouchers lobbying group.
The Walton Family Foundation has donated $6 million to the Alliance for School Choice, a group that advocates for the expansion of alternatives to public school education.
A South Side Chicago church is holding onto faith as they wait for over 300 toys to be donated to their children's toy drive before they kick off their holiday giveaway event this afternoon. Over 630 inner city children are expected to attend but as of Christmas Eve morning, Sanctuary Family Worship Center had only received less than half of what they were hoping for.
"It looks like we'll be getting enough toys, so we won't have to turn anyone away," said Pastor Virgil Jones, to the Christian Post. "We'll be collecting toys up until the time of the party and if for some reason we don't have enough, we'll mail the toys to the children after we've collected more."
The church's annual toy drive is in its 19th year and each time, Jones says that they have been able to create a Christmas experience for children that come from families who have little to no financial resources. more >>
In a generous act of kindness, Pope Francis gave 2,000 unsuspecting immigrants, who stay at a shelter within close proximity to the Vatican, practical Christmas gift packages that included a signed card, postal stamps, a pre-paid international calling card, and a free day-pass for Rome's metro.
The immigrants stay at the Dono di Maria home that was founded by Mother Teresa 25 years ago under Pope John Paul II's blessing. Many of them arrived in Rome with little to no means, after fleeing from regions in Africa afflicted by armed conflict or from poverty and human trafficking in Asia and Eastern Europe.
"The Pope is very familiar with our work here and understands the realities that people face ... the guests were very happy," said Sister Michelle, the superior of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Rome, according to Catholic News Agency. more >>
Palestinian militant group Hamas has accused Israel of intentionally flooding the Gaza Strip during a massive storm last week. But Israel says that the dams it is accused of opening don't even exist.
"The allegation of [Israel] opening dams and flooding the Gaza Strip is baseless and false," Uri Schor, a spokesman for Israel's Water Authority, shared with The Times of Israel in response to the accusations, adding that no dams exist in the area.
"The opposite is true: due to the damage caused by the storm – which affected all neighboring countries and not only the Palestinian Authority – Israel responded to a special appeal conveyed through the UN, transferring four high-power pumps to the Gaza Strip intended to help residents remove water from flooded areas." more >>
The Los Angeles Dream Center is currently gathering signatures to object to a possible ban on publicly feeding the city's homeless, with an online petition directed at the city's mayor.
City councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion recently that has sparked controversy and initiated conversation about the lack of solutions for L.A.'s homeless population. If passed, the bill would prohibit organizations from providing outdoor food services to the needy because such actions get in the public's right of way and sometimes they have "negative impacts to the surrounding community," according to LaBonge's official motion document.
"If feeding were to be banned or restricted, it would cut off our lifeline to not only feed the homeless but families," said Pastor Matthew Barnett to The Christian Post on Thursday. "Tens of thousands of people would be impacted. Mobile trucks are the only way to reach people. We've been doing this for nearly twenty years. Mobile outreach meets people in their world and that's where the impacts are made." more >>
Recently released videos by UN Children's Fund UNICEF feature Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa and Gandhi in humorous "dinner party" conversations meant to encourage people to click banner ads and contribute toward life-saving medical supplies for children.
The videos, titled "The Good Guys Christmas," center around the premise of three of history's most recognizable figures, recalling the good deeds they have done for the world. They are joined by an average Joe who reveals that he was invited to this special party all because he clicked on Internet banners leading to UNICEF's Swedish page allowing online users to purchase vital medicines and other supplies for needy children around the world.
"So basically, you starved yourself for the sake of the people. That was so nice of you," Mother Teresa compliments Gandhi in one of the videos, sitting around a dinner table. more >>