Red Nose Day brings people together for fun, entertainment, and to raise money for children who are impoverished and are in dire need of our help. The UK Red Nose Day has raised over 1 billion dollars since it first began in 1988. The third annual Red Nose Day in America takes place this Thursday, May 25th and half the money raised will be used right here at home in the United States, while the other half will be used to help the poorest children in Latin American, Africa, and Asia.
Red Nose Day began in the UK, and launched in the United States in 2015, thus broadening the universal connection, community, and commitment to tragic issues in the lives of youth, highlighted by the recent tragic terrorist attack in Manchester, England that affected many teens.
Comic Relief started in the UK and Red Nose Day originated there in the late 1980s. The event was started by British director, Richard Curtis (Love Actually). Three years ago, they decided to start a United States version of Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. The UK Red Nose Day took place earlier this year making way for ours occurring this week.
Since launching in America in 2015, Red Nose Day has received generous support from millions of Americans, hundreds of celebrities, and many outstanding partners including Walgreen’s, NBC, Mars, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Tragically, one out of five children in the U.S. live in poverty. Further, every year, more than two million kids in the United States face a period of homelessness. Homeless children and youth in our streets are also in constant danger of human traffickers, which is an evil that many of our churches and activists fight in an effort to end human trafficking. Money raised from the Red Nose Day event supports children in need through programs that help ensure they are safe, healthy, and educated.
Many organizations which serve children that will benefit from Red Nose Day, include Boys & Girls Club of America, Save The Children, Feeding America, and the Christian organizations Covenant House, and Charity: Water.
Sonoma Christian Home had the honor to sit down with Sister Nancy Downing, CND, Executive Director for Covenant House. Her dedication to improving the lives of homeless young people is unwavering and shines through in everything she says and does at Covenant House New York. She came to Covenant House in 2007 to serve as the Senior Staff Attorney. Shortly after, Sister Nancy became the Director of the Advocacy/Legal Department in 2008 and then General Counsel in 2015. In May of 2016, she stepped in as Interim Executive Director, serving the youth and staff with an open door — and open heart — policy ever since.
No matter what she is called to do at Covenant House, her commitment and compassion remain the same — not to mention her sense of humor!
Sister Nancy has over 25 years of experience in management and as an attorney, tackling issues of homelessness, poverty, fair housing, and civil rights. Prior to coming to Covenant House, Sister Nancy was the Executive Director of MCIF Center, serving immigrant women in Brooklyn, NY. Sister Nancy also served as Staff Attorney at New York Legal Assistance Group, representing clients with chronic and serious illnesses, Legal Services Coordinator for STEPS To End Family Violence, and as Executive Director of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
Earlier in her career, Sister Nancy worked for a major insurance company overseeing complex litigation involving civil and constitutional rights violations, serious personal injury, and other critical matters. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Southern Maine, and her law degree from Western New England College. She is licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut. She is a religious sister in the Congregation of Notre Dame.
Sonoma Christian Home enjoyed this inspirational time with Sister Nancy:
SCH: Where is Covenant House located?
Sister Nancy Downing: Covenant House is located in thirty cities and six countries. It served 46,000 needy kids last year.
SCH: What is the focus of Covenant House?
SND: We provides services for suffering children of the street. (See the mission statement.)
SCH: How does Covenant House serve children and youth?
SND: Founded in 1972, Covenant House is the largest privately-funded agency in the Americas. We provide loving care and vital services to the homeless, abandoned, abuse, and trafficked, and exploited children.
SCH: How will Red Nose Day benefit those whom covenant house serves?
SND: It provides awareness and funds for our core services.
SCH: How did Covenant House become involved with Red Nose Day?
SND: Last year we were contacted and became involved. Last year’s event was of great benefit to Covenant House.
SCH: How has this become especially meaningful and encouraging to Covenant House?
SND: It has been wonderful to bring awareness to the issues in which we are involved and to include more people. It has provided a sense of connection with a universal community dealing with these challenges.
Red Nose Day is about coming together to have fun and make a difference, raising money and awareness to help kids in need, here at home and around the world. Red Nose Day’s mission is to end child poverty – one nose at a time.
The Red Noses are sold exclusively at Walgreen’s and Duane Reade locations nationwide. People across the country can support the cause by coming together and wearing their Red Noses, organizing fundraising events, and watching and donating during the special night of TV on NBC to celebrate Red Nose Day.
Half of the grant money supports programs in the United States and the other half helps in some of the poorest communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Red Nose Day raised over $36 million in 2016, and over $23 million the previous year, totaling over $60 million in its first two years in the US.
Supporters can go to Red Nose Day to donate! They can also start their own fundraiser. There are lots of fun and easy ideas on the website, Red Nose Day. These kids need our help. Let’s do what we can to end child poverty “one nose at a time.”
Acts 20:35: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
To learn more about this author, visit Dr. Diane Howard