Recent bone-chilling cold and snow across Eastern Europe is leaving many families struggling to survive. Laura Reinhardt is on the ground in Romania, reporting on World Vision's efforts to help those in need amid the harsh conditions.
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I watched as Stefan Matei-Vlad and two of his nine children, Ana Maria and Alina, headed up a mountain path that started off at almost a 40-degree angle. It wasn’t the more than a mile distance that worried me.
It was that the steepness of the climb in the snow and the fact that my World Vision colleagues and I would be making that trek with them. I’m not sure if my Zumba classes have prepared me for this.
Stefan and his daughters are used to this. The girls walk it every weekday to go to the elementary school in the village below.
On Tuesday, World Vision supplies including blankets, jackets, boots, and food loaded down the horse-drawn cart with them. These items will help see the family through the record-breaking snows that have hit Eastern Europe.
The family lives high up the side of the mountain, because it’s all they can afford on what Stefan makes selling firewood in the village below.
It’s not much for a family of 11 people.
Inside the family's humble home, Stefan feeds his youngest child, 7-month-old Corina, a little bit of the chocolate World Vision staff brought with them. Some of the younger children also enjoy their chocolate bars.
The snowstorms blanketing much of Eastern Europe have placed extra stress on families already in need. For many of them, World Vision provides a lifeline to help them weather the storm -- literally.
Despite their location and the snow, the Matei-Vlad family doesn’t have to go through this alone. They’re part of World Vision’s sponsorship program in Cluj County. Through this program, they’ve received both a horse and a cow, which have been a big help with work and in providing nutrition for the family.
There’s not enough money to pay for the children’s clothes and school supplies, but sponsorship helps them with these items, too.
Stefan and his wife, Maria, are committed to their children’s education. They say it’s the only way for them to achieve a better life.
Natural disasters can strain that dream of a better life. But World Vision comes alongside families both in normal times and in time of disaster, so that families’ hopes for the future can be realized.
It’s kind of like climbing a mountain together.
Make a one-time gift to help provide warm clothing to children in need in cold climates like Romania. Your donation, combined with generous donations from our corporate partners, will multiply 11 times to deliver items like coats, boots, shirts, pants, and more.
Also, consider sponsoring a child in Romania. Your love and support for a boy or girl in need will provide extra stability and assistance during times of crisis, like the recent cold snap.