Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) grants to provide COVID-19 and disaster relief aid in a number of countries. The grants include an additional allocation for the domestic COVID-19 Relief Program in the United States through the end of 2020, to assist Church of the Brethren congregations and districts in providing relief activities in their own communities.
An allocation of $60,000 funds the domestic COVID-19 Relief Program in the US through the end of 2020. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 to congregations and up to $25,000 to districts. Two grants totaling $135,000 were designated for the program in April and May, providing 35 grants to congregations and districts across the denomination. Starting in October, congregations that provided adequate reporting were invited to apply for a second grant. First-time applications also are still being processed.
A grant of $15,000 was given to the COVID-19 response of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) for the remainder of 2020. This is in addition to $14,000 given previously this year. As in other developing nations with people living in deep poverty, pandemic restrictions on work and travel, supply chain disruptions, and lack of public aid has created a hunger crisis. This is further complicated by ongoing violence. The funds will be used by EYN to help some of the most vulnerable widows and students at Kulp Theological Seminary, coordinated with the Nigeria Crisis Response.
A grant of $14,000 was given to Shalom Ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a longterm flood mitigation project. The ministry is related to the Church of the Brethren in the DRC. In mid-April, flooding in Uvira destroyed many bridges and hundreds of homes, making access to the community and the local Church of the Brethren difficult. Shalom Ministries requested a grant to remove one of the collapsed bridges, reopen the original riverbed, and repair the riverbanks, in consultation with the local government and community leaders and with help from an engineer.
A grant of $6,000 went to COVID-19 response in the DRC, through Shalom Ministries. The pandemic’s effects for the poorest citizens have been further complicated by natural disasters such as the flooding in April. Shalom Ministries is helping some of the most vulnerable people in the church communities needing help with food security and nutrition. A previous grant of $12,000 for this project was made in March.
A grant of $10,000 has been given to Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health as part of the Corus International group’s response to the August port explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The four-pronged response includes providing shelter by repairing homes; providing food and replacing kitchen appliances; repairing buildings and replacing assets of small- to medium-sized businesses; and working on health care, focusing on clinical needs and rehabilitation of damaged hospitals, moving medicines and medical supplies to suitable facilities, supporting those injured in the explosion and those with COVID-19, and psychosocial trauma recovery.
A grant of $10,000 for COVID-19 response in Venezuela supports the feeding program of the Church of the Brethren Venezuela (ASIGLEH). The program is for at-risk people affected by COVID-19 and the humanitarian crisis in the country. A previous grant of $13,500 made in June supported the provision of daily hot meals to 578 at-risk people for one month and the purchase of medical supplies. The church requested continued support for this “Good Samaritan Plan.”
A grant of $2,000 has aided the Limón River flooding response carried out by the Venezuelan church. Torrential rains in early September caused extensive flooding, including in the community where some church members live. More than 300 homes were damaged or destroyed, including household supplies, food, and furniture. The church response has included providing hot meals, basic medicines, first aid supplies, and personal protective equipment.
To financially support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at www.brethren.org/edf.
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