By United Methodist News Service
United Methodists can make a difference in battling global malaria by sacrificing lunch on April 25.
Pittsburgh Bishop Thomas Bickerton, chairman of The United Methodist Church’s Nothing But Nets initiative, is asking United Methodists and others to skip lunch on World Malaria Day and use their lunch money to buy a lifesaving mosquito bed net.
Rather than spending $10 at a restaurant, people are invited to “Skip a lunch. Send a net. Save a life.” The United Methodist Church is encouraging individuals to send the lunch money to Nothing But Nets, a grassroots, anti-malaria effort. A $10 gift provides an insecticide-treated net and teaches a family in Africa how to use it for protection from malaria-infected mosquitoes.
In Africa, 3,000 children die every day from malaria, according to The World Health Organization. The World Health Assembly established World Malaria Day in 2007 as an annual observance to provide “education and understanding of malaria.
“Malaria is a crisis that is threatening many of God’s children across the globe,” Bickerton says. “Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are the most scientifically proven way to stop its spread.”
Since it began in 2006, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $25 million for 2.5 million nets. Inspired by a column by sportswriter Rick Reilly, Nothing But Nets founding partners include The United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation, the National Basketball’s Association NBA Cares and Sports Illustrated.
According to Roll Back Malaria, there are 109 countries where malaria is a health hazard. An anti-malaria international partnership set 2010 as a target for delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment.
The scourge of malaria continues despite great progress in combating the disease, says the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at United Methodist Communications. As World Malaria Day is observed on April 25, United Methodists are encouraged to remember that for the cost of a sandwich and soft drink a life can be saved. “It’s such a simple thing, and such a life-saving investment. If we all gave up one lunch and contributed $10 for a bed net, we’d feel better, the world would be better and perhaps a life will be saved. Forgoing lunch is such a small but important act of sacrifice,” he says.
Donations to Nothing But Nets may be made on line at www.umcnothingbutnets.org. To donate through The Advance, place checks in church offering plates, designating the gift for Advance No. 982015, Nothing But Nets. Gifts may also be mailed to Advance GCFA, P. O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9063. All gifts will be used to purchase and distribute nets and educate people on their use.