'Count on Spokane' to change the world one child at a time


by Laura Papetti, KREM.com


Posted on August 19, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 25 at 11:18 AM

SPOKANE -- KREM 2 News is kicking off a community effort called "Count on Spokane" to help 2,600 hungry and hurting children around the world.

In March, KREM 2's Laura Papetti traveled to El Salvador with the humanitarian relief organization World Vision to show people here where help is needed, and how you can take part.

El Salvador is a country of contrast where busy cities and city life are right next to deep, lush green jungles and quiet poverty.

Marena and her two children live in a one-room mud and corrugated metal hut. From the back of her home, you can see the San Miguel volcano -- an image of impending danger -- but the struggles in life are more basic here. They need things like food, water, good health.

The single mother of two survives on the edge of desperation, hoping each day there is something to eat.

"It's really hard for me to make ends meet," Marena said, "and for them to go hungry, it makes me sad."

Suri is the face of so many children in El Salvador, so adorable and loved, but has never known a day without hunger. She's often sick without care or medicine.

KREM 2 News went along with World Vision to see what's being done to alleviate poverty in El Salvador. It was a five-day journey to see how dollars are spent if someone sponsors a child through World Vision.

The non-profit works with more than 21,000 kids in El Salvador, and thousands more are waiting for sponsorship in there. World Vision volunteers and staff quite literally battle through horrific storms and old world obstacles to give some peace in a chaotic and hostile environment.

The Sanchez family is one on the World Vision waiting list. Children wait out a rain storm in a mud hut, not knowing a different life, but knowing that they are never fully fed or healthy. In a different village, Malena and her family had to be evacuated from another hut because of the rain. These are the children of El Salvador and they are waiting for help. These kids are waiting at a chance for something different.

World Vision helped build classrooms and provide backpacks to a village, and give children hope for a different life. World Vision doesn't seek to change the world at once but just one child at a time.

And for the next six weeks, Spokane can help create that change.