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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quotes and comments from COVID-19 Pandemic grant reports:
- 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.”