The Impact of Church of the Brethren Grants

It is hard to overstate how much the Church of the Brethren’s U.S. and Global COVID-19 pandemic grants have provided life-sustaining assistance to our sisters, brothers and neighbors during this difficult time. There can be no doubt that the financial support that we share blossoms into God’s love and grace made real and tangible to others.

Many bags of food
Church of the Brethren U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic Grant EDF funds support the Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church drive-thru food distribution to about 500 people weekly.. Photo courtesy of Eglise des Freres Haitiens Miami

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause widespread disruption, unemployment, hardship, food insecurity, hunger and illness in the United States and around the world. Unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic have the greatest negative impact on the most vulnerable members of society who are often already struggling to survive, including children, older persons, those with disabilities, those who are unemployed or work in low-wage or informal sector jobs, immigrants, and refugees.

Smiling woman receiving gift
Widows were the main beneficiaries of COVID-19 food relief in Nigeria. Photo courtesy of EYN

In response to the pandemic, the Church of the Brethren COVID-19 Pandemic Grant Programs are responding to the crisis by providing funds to U.S. Brethren congregations and districts and to Global Brethren churches and partners to provide humanitarian relief for vulnerable people. Assistance has included food distributions; prepared meals; payments for utilities, household rent, and medicines; hygiene and safety supplies; and school supplies, among other activities.

Smiling woman with two young children in front of trees
This single mother was assisted through pandemic grant funds after she lost her job due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of BDM

In the U.S., as of Sept. 30, 2020, grants were provided to 28 Brethen congregations from 11 districts totaling $122,562. New grant requests are still being accepted. Churches that received grants and have provided good reporting are being offered the opportunity to apply for a second grant.

Three women wearing masks standing behind a table with food. A sign says "Gracias BDM"
The Iglesia de Cristo Sion Church of the Brethren (Pomona, Calif.) used COVID-19 grant funds to distribute food and hygiene items. They also helped families pay for utilities, such as electricity and internet for children attending school virtually. Photo courtesy of Iglesia de Cristo Sion Church of the Brethren
Group of people with large yellow bags of food
A group from the Twa community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received much needed food supplies through a global COVID-19 grant to the DRC Church of the Brethren. Photo courtesy of Ron Lubungo

Globally, 14 grants have been provided to 10 countries, totaling $216,550 as of the end of September. Those countries include Brethren groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Nigeria, Rwanda, Spain and Venezuela, as well as the mission in South Sudan.

The Church of the Brethren in Haiti used a COVID-19 pandemic grant to distribute beans, rice, cooking oil and hygiene supplies to vulnerable people in their communities. Photo courtesy of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti

Quotes and comments from COVID-19 Pandemic grant reports:

With funds from a COVID-19 grant, members of the Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren prepare a hot GrabNGo meal for community members to pick up from the church. Photo courtesy of Sebring Church of the Brethren

Global grants

  • An 80-year-old woman with no one to support her exclaimed, “My brothers and sisters have not forgotten me!”
  • “The people are very thankful and grateful to you for thinking of them in such a time. We want you to know that you save many lives during the pandemic COVID-19, because they would have died from not from the COVID-19, but from famine.”
  • “Families are witnessing that God cares for the needy. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for sending not only a monetary contribution, but also your spirit of solidarity and compassion by walking with us in the Spirit of Christ.”
Man wearing hat holding sign that says "THANK YOU!"
A beneficiary of a COVID-19 grant received by University Baptist and Brethren Church (State College, Pa.) expresses appreciation for the shelter and food he received during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of University Baptist and Brethren Church