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A mom needed a Christmas miracle, and Eddie Vedder delivered.

Like this family, 1 in 3 children are growing up in low-income households.

A mom needed a Christmas miracle, and Eddie Vedder delivered.

Facing eviction and the prospect of not being able to give her children the Christmas she felt they deserved, Tyshika Britten took to Craigslist hoping for a miracle.

“I am a mother of six, 5 boys and 1 baby girl,” she wrote on Craigslist. The 35-year-old hair stylist worried her children would wake up on Christmas morning to disappointment. "I'm trying my best. I pray every day and now I'm begging for help. I know it's not about the gifts, but they are kids! I'm such a failure right now. ... Please help me."

Help came in the form of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder.

On Dec. 20, the Washington Post featured Britten's story as part of a wider-ranging article on the struggles facing poor and working-class families around the country. That same day, Vedder and his bandmates were named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2017 alongside the likes of Joan Baez, Journey, and Electric Light Orchestra.


After hearing about what Britten was going through, Vedder decided to send a check for $10,000 to her family. Others joined in, as well, sending the family a Playstation 4 and a tablet, among other things.

Eddie Vedder at a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images.

In Britten's plea for help, Vedder saw echoes of his own childhood.

"I was just so moved by the story and what this mother did for her children," Vedder told the Washington Post, recalling Christmases in which he received used and sometimes broken toys as a child. "I thought those kids must be so proud of their mother for reaching out. That takes a lot of courage."

Working families shouldn't have to struggle to afford the basics, especially over the holidays, and yet more than 1 in 3 children are growing up in low-income households.

Eddie Vedder saved the day for Tyshika Britten, but the problem goes much deeper than one family's Christmas. Vedder himself referred to the gift as a "tourniquet" to help one family through what is hopefully a short-lived rough patch, but poverty is a complex, wide-ranging issue affecting the lives of millions nationwide.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images.

Last year, rapper 2 Chainz engaged in a similar act of generosity, bringing Christmas to one family by paying their rent for an entire year. These acts of good faith and charity are heartwarming, but they're also just temporary.

We may not all be rock stars, but there are surely things we can do to help out those less fortunate this holiday season.

There are thousands of families in need. Why would Vedder choose this family? Because they reminded him of his own family's struggles years ago, their story moved him powerfully to act.

It's easy to turn off stories of poverty when they feel far away from our lives — but when we can see ourselves in the shoes of those who are less fortunate, it's easy to do something. Our similarities may not always be glaringly obvious, but if we look hard enough, those stories aren't so far away from our own.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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