'Giving spirit still alive': Majority of adults worldwide want to help others this Christmas

World Vision volunteer helps serve a line of families waiting to receive food from the Fresh Food Box Program. The program has served over 840,000 Americans nationwide.
World Vision volunteer helps serve a line of families waiting to receive food from the Fresh Food Box Program. The program has served over 840,000 Americans nationwide. | World Vision

Despite 2020 being a difficult year for people around the world, the majority of adults still want to help others and value the time they spend with family and friends, according to a new World Vision survey conducted in nine countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

The survey, conducted by YouGov PLC between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2 on behalf of the international humanitarian organization, found that 63% would prefer to receive a meaningful gift this Christmas that would help someone else rather than a traditional gift.

Further, 76% of people surveyed said it was important to focus on people in need of help this Christmas. And 70% also said the thought of spending time with family and friends this Christmas is what is bringing them hope.

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“This year has been a difficult one for all of us around the world and vulnerable children have been especially affected,” World Vision International President and CEO Andrew Morley said in a statement announcing the results of the study. “It’s heart-warming to see the giving spirit is still alive globally, and encouraging to see how much people want to help one another.”

The study also shows that a majority of people in six countries have either maintained or increased their charitable giving despite the financial impact of the pandemic, the evangelical humanitarian charity World Vision said.

“Only India, Lebanon, and South Africa have seen a decrease in the overall numbers of people giving to charity, however 3 in 10 people in those countries have started to volunteer locally instead of donating,” it added.

For the study, a series of questions were presented to adults in nine countries, including Australia, France, Germany and Mexico.

“I was moved to hear that it was in some of the countries where people have been worst affected by the pandemic or other catastrophes – South Africa, India, and Lebanon – people are still thinking about helping others," Morley stated. "It proves that despite the challenges this year has brought, the majority of people want to prioritize kindness to others and selflessness, even when things are difficult in their own lives.” 

As at least some vaccine trials have been successful, there is a spirit of optimism about the coming year, the survey found.

Sixty-seven percent believe that 2021 will be better than 2020, and 69% said we can put the worst of the pandemic behind us. “South Africans are especially positive (90% hope 2021 will be better) and British are most doubtful we’ve made it through the worst of the pandemic (however, more than half are still hopeful at 52%),” it said.

“After the year we have all endured it is heartening to see that while this Christmas may be different for most, goodwill and Christmas spirit is still alive and strong,” Morley concluded.

In May, World Vision warned that the world could experience a 30-year setback in the fight against extreme poverty without intervention amid the coronavirus pandemic as it launched a $350 million campaign to help some 72 million people globally with pastors as key players.

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