EDF grants in first months of 2024 include money for a South Sudan Crisis Recovery Initiative

In addition to the large grant of $225,000 that extends the Nigeria Crisis Response program through 2024, and the $143,000 for the humanitarian crisis affecting the church in Haiti, the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has provided grants to various countries including a grant that will help start a new South Sudan Crisis Recovery Initiative with staff from Global Mission.

Other grants fund completion of the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Dawson Springs, Ky.; support people displaced by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo; aid Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic; support migrants in Tijuana, Mexico; aid a congregation’s work following flooding in southern California; and provide emergency food following flooding in Burundi.

Financial support for these grants is received at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm

$68,000 was allocated to fund the beginning of the South Sudan Crisis Recovery Initiative. The Church of the Brethren Global Mission has a long history of service in South Sudan, resulting in the planting of two churches with other preaching points emerging. However, years of war and limited development, combined with the effects of climate change, have been devastating, resulting in widespread hunger. The UN Humanitarian Country Team for South Sudan estimates 9 million people have critical needs, 7.1 million will need food aid, and 1.6 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition.

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers work on a roof in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of BDM

After executives of Global Mission and Brethren Disaster Ministries visited in Nov. 2023, together with Athanasus Ungang, Global Mission staff dedicated to South Sudan, a revised mission plan was outlined. The plan focuses all programing around communities with developing Church of the Brethren congregations. As part of this planning, Brethren Disaster Ministries intends to work more closely with the mission, including requesting EDF funds to support agriculture, education, trauma healing training, and other areas of development, with an immediate need for relief programing. Grant funds will support food distributions, agriculture, a water well for a village school, and a small portion of overhead costs of the mission.

$62,000 has supported the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Dawson Springs, Ky., following tornadoes that swept through the area in Dec. 2021. The full-time rebuilding site has been in place in Dawson Springs since January 2023. Last year, 538 volunteers served 3,827 days helping 27 families. This provided cost savings to the community, Habitat for Humanity, and these families of over $973,500. This grant completes the rebuilding project through Aug. 17, 2024,

$40,000 has been granted to l’Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo) for the congregation in Goma to purchase and distribute soap, food, cooking/eating supplies, tarps, and mattresses to 600 vulnerable families displaced by ongoing conflict and violence in the eastern DRC. Previous distributions of food and relief goods by the DRC church, with help from EDF grants, have not reached even 10 percent of the displaced families and there continues to be significant need, said Brethren Disaster Ministries staff.

$25,000 was received by Communidad de Fe (Community of Faith, the Haitian-Kreyol speaking sector of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic) to aid Haitian refugees in the DR. Haitians have been fleeing into the neighboring DR because of multiple crises in Haiti. Most recently, Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince has been taken over by gangs and gang violence and kidnappings have become widespread threats throughout the country. The church in the DR reports that thousands of Haitians are fleeing into the country due to the violence, killing of family members, lack of food, and homes being taken by the gangs in Haiti. Haitians often come without any money, food, or clothing, and have no shelter. This aid will be supplemented by aid provided by Social Services of Dominican Churches (SSID), a nonprofit working with the Community of Faith that has already provided blankets, shoes, and small amounts of food.

Also in the Dominican Republic, $5,000 was given to help Iglesia des los Hermanos (the Spanish-speaking sector of the Church of the Brethren in the DR) provide emergency food to Haitians fleeing across the border. The grant funds will provide emergency food aid including rice, beans, pasta, eggs, canned sardines, oil, salami, and salt.

$8,800 was received by the Tijuana (Mexico) Community Center to support vulnerable migrants, in a project of Bittersweet Ministries. Migrants wait in Tijuana for their asylum seeker appointments with the US government, making the city a gateway for thousands of families, individuals, and unaccompanied minors seeking to immigrate to the United States. The majority come from Latin America, with increasing numbers of people from Haiti, China, Ukraine, and other countries. The Tijuana Community Center supported by Bittersweet Ministries and pastor Gilbert Romero provides housing and meals for people in need, originally for those living locally in poverty and more recently supporting those migrating through Mexico, such as asylum seekers. Part of this ministry is a daycare center for children that also serves at night as temporary housing for migrants. Considering the increased need of these migrants, the center requested assistance in providing beds and food to improve conditions.

$5,000 went to Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren in southern California, which responded to needs caused by storms and multiple floods. Extensive damage was caused by a series of heavy rains and flooding beginning this February. The congregation has an ongoing ministry of supporting families with meals and groceries that is now expanded due to the flooding. The storms also flooded the church building, including the area used for the food bank ministry. This grant, which is not used for building repairs, also helps replace the lost food.

$5,000 was granted to the Church of the Brethren in Burundi, to provide emergency food to 75 households in Gatumba that lost homes in the 2023 and 2024 flooding of the Rusizi River. Out of the families in need, the church selected 75 households, consisting of about 450 people, in urgent need of food aid and developed a plan to provide rice, beans, and soap to these families. The church is hoping to expand the program to include home repairs and rebuilding.


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