Friday, May 30, 2014

Seaforth Couple travels to the Philippines to help Sleeping Children

As published in the Huron County Focus, May 30, 2014.
Click graphic to see a larger version.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SCAW Travelling Volunteer in Globe and Mail

As published in the Globe and Mail, May 29, 2014.


Arrogance astounds


Having recently returned from Togo, Africa, may I suggest that the next summit on maternal, newborn and child health take place in a small rural village like Ledikope, Agrippa, Goudeve or Agoekondji in the areas northwest of Lome, Togo – not in a posh Toronto hotel.

Delegates could sit on a dirt floor in a hut with temperatures hovering around 38 C and have limited access to clean drinking water – but they could actually listen to the mothers, teachers and principals who know what they need for the survival and good health of children in the villages.

They would get a first-hand view of the daily struggles for women as they rise at dawn to get water, find food and take their children to school. The women know what they need, but in the West we still like to tell them what we will do to solve these issues.

Our arrogance astounds me. The Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health says, “We also engage stakeholders – charities, universities, businesses and governments.”

What about the women and children? Aren’t they the stakeholders who must be consulted first?

M.L. (Peggy) Morrison, Oakville, Ont.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CHSS Redwalk 2014

As posted by the Clinton News Record, May 28, 2014
Each year, a committee of teachers and students at CHSS participate in a fundraiser known as the “Walk-A-Thon” in support of their school and other organizations.
This year, students walked almost 16 kilometres on May 22, in the name of Bike 7650/Jumpstart and Sleeping Children Around the World, as well as fundraising for a new mascot costume for the school.

According to the school’s website, the committee selected Bike 7650 to support current CHSS student, Claire Fleming, and former CHSS student, Will Fleming, who are biking across Canada to raise money for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, which allows children to participate in sports and recreational activities.

The team also Sleeping Children Around the World in order to recognize the importance of helping children who are less fortunate in other countries. Sleeping Children Around the World provides bedkits to children in underdeveloped countries. Each bedkit contains mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, clothes and school supplies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Little Current United Church Women host presbytery spring rally

As posted by the Manitoulin Expositor, May 21, 2014

Attendees of the Sudbury Presbyterial UCW spring rally sing ‘It’s a Small World’ during the event which was hosted by Little Current United Church women last week.
LITTLE CURRENT—Last week the Little Current United Church (LCUC) hosted the Sudbury District Presbyterial United Church Women annual spring rally, bringing together UCW members from across Sudbury and the North Shore to network, exchange ideas and sing.

“We had over 50 women, representing eight different areas across the district, attend our spring rally last Wednesday,” explained LCUC UCW co-president Helen Gordon. “It was a great day socializing, singing and everyone really enjoyed our guest speaker Leslie Fields. It was our year to host and we were really thrilled with how the day went, though it’s always a good day—a chance for everyone to recharge their batteries.”

After morning registration, the UCW held a book review discussion, followed by lunch at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church across the road, prepared by the Anglican Church Women (ACW).

In the afternoon, guest speaker Leslie Fields discussed the Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW) organization, drawing on her own experiences as a volunteer with the organization.

“I have been very involved with this organization (SCAW), and still am as a travelling volunteer,” said Ms. Fields during her discussion with the UCW. “The innocence of a child is something we all hold dear, because all children deserve to feel loved, safe and protected, but not all are.”

Ms. Fields explained that the organization was founded by Murray Dryden who grew up during the depression and that as a travelling salesman he learned what it was like to be deprived of a safe, dry sleep.

Through a hobby later in his life of taking photos of sleeping children around the world, Mr. Dryden became passionate about ensuring that all children should be entitled to a comfortable bed and pajamas, leading him to start SCAW in 1970 with the distribution of 50 ‘bed kits’ in Pune, India.

Ms. Fields described the bed kits cost $35 each, and that they contain sleeping items needed for the children in the intended country such as a mattress or hammock, sheet or blanket, pajamas and anything else that fits the budget that the SCAW ground organizers in the area think would be beneficial.

Since the organization was founded, over 688,600 bed kits have been distributed to children in over 10 countries.

The UCW members commented following the presentation on what a great program it was.

The topic of SCAW was carried over during LCUC Pastor Jane Blannin-Bruleigh’s closing worship

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seaforth couple travels to the Philippines to help Sleeping Children

As posted by the Seaforth Huron Expositor, May 14, 2014
By Whitney South, Seaforth Huron Expositor

Chris and Gail Hills have always had a passion for helping children and nothing could be closer to their hearts than the needs of Sleeping Children Around the World (SCAW).

Recently, the couple traveled to the Philippines as part of a group of volunteers to help hand out bed kits, a much needed service provided by SCAW in developing nations.

“The reality of living in third world countries is grim,” says Chris, explaining how just one bed kit can make the difference for an entire family. “They’ve got nothing and when you’re there helping, the experience is just overwhelming, they’re just so grateful.”

Donors for over 20 years, Chris says the couple never thought about actually traveling.

“I didn’t think I could handle it emotionally,” explained Chris. “A friend of mine I didn’t know was involved, encouraged me and I was hooked, once you’ve experienced something like this you just can’t get enough of it.”

An organization which provides bed kits to kids across the globe, SCAW is a group dedicated to making a difference in a child’s life, regardless of race or religion, who are in need and are typically located in underdeveloped and developing countries. On this trip, the group was able to distribute 6,000 kits, an annual goal they have been able to reach the past couple years.

Murray and Margaret Dryden of Etobicoke founded the charity in 1970, with the hope every child in the world could benefit from the comfort of a good night's sleep.

"It all started when Murray tripped over a child sleeping on pavement in India. He thought if that child could get a better night's sleep, he would be able to do better at school," said Chris. "I actually met a young man who still had his blanket and bed mat from a bed kit he got in 1998, he'd even taken it to university. He said it changed everything for him."

Since the organization began, SCAW has raised over $23 million in order to provide bed kits for children in 33 countries worldwide, reaching their millionth child in 2009.

According to the organization's website, not one penny of the $35 bed kit donation is spent on administration, 100 per cent goes to a needy child.

The couple had previously gotten the chance to travel to Sri Lanka together two years ago, while Chris has traveled several times over the past four years.

For Gail, the ability to interact with the children and their families was something she’ll never forget.

“There was one child who was so small, very very tiny. Because he was so small, I got down on my knees to him and I was giving him a bed kit when he spontaneously ran into my arms and I swung him around, it was a wonderful moment,” she said, smiling. “These moments really hit you, you’re in tears often.”

The bed kits provided contain much more than just items needed for a good night's sleep.

Besides a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket and mosquito net, children selected for the program also receive other necessities including a towel, flip flops and even school supplies. Contents vary from country to country depending on local needs, and products selected to be part of the kit are made and purchased from the countries where they’re distributed, in order to support the local economy.

After each kit is handed out, every child is photographed with the donor’s name and country, or special occasion message, on a label. Each photograph is then mailed to the donor as a way to help them remember the child who so greatly benefited from their gift.

In the Philippines, children and their families usually live in 10-foot by 8-foot tin shack with dirt floors and no running water and many only earn enough to spend $1 a day on food.

“The whole thing won’t work without donors, so it’s up to generous people out there to help give children a chance to improve their way of life,” Chris explained. “Spreading the word and getting people interested is so important, absolutely everything is volunteer based.”

For more information on how to donate to Sleeping Children Worldwide, visit

Chris Hills can be contacted at either, or by calling 519-522-1913.