Christmas Holiday Roundup: Charity and Children Top the Bill
ETV's traditional charity program "Jõulutunnel" raised 208,000 euros for the needy, which will be distributed through the Food Bank.
The money will help the organization, started by Dutch-born humanitarian Piet Boerefijn in March 2010, to buy equipment it needs to make deliveries, including refrigerated transport. Hotlines opened on December 18, and a few thousand euros had been donated before the live pledge program itself.
The way the Food Bank operates is that food is both donated and distributed free of charge.
In his Christmas Eve address, the president recapitulated a main theme of his presidency - helping and taking notice of those in need.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves also singled out safety and security responders for special acknowledgement.
"Let's also think about all those who look out for our sense of security during this beautiful holiday season - police, medics, Defense Forces and rescuers. Let's think about our loved ones who are far away and wish each others well. And those who have left this world but whose memory gives us strength."
As to the Christmas Eve worship service from St. Mary's Cathedral, televised by ETV for the 25th year in a row, Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Andres Põder spoke of making society more focused on children's needs.
Põder said it would be good if "we would not have to talk about poor, underfed children, depressed children, children without the desire to live. Our society [could] be more family-centred, with a loving mother and father. We should be able to create a community where we could live well even in smaller rural places and villages," he said.
He said that participation and interest in Christian social work with youth is increasing, with a line of new Christian private schools recently opened and admissions up in the University of Tartu's theology program.