Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
In India, COVID-19 infection rates are rising exponentially and the health system is collapsing under the burden. Hospitals in urban centers are overcrowded and often turn people away. Supplies, including oxygen, are running low, and various strains of the virus more frequently require that patients be treated with oxygen. Families that already struggled to meet basic needs have become even more vulnerable to hunger and other challenges. Grief, anxiety, and depression are common across the population. With partial lockdown in place in many states and full lockdown in others, migrant guest workers are returning to their native villages. In addition to the economic impact of the loss of work, the influx into the villages may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas. Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our partners as they work to meet the urgent needs of this new wave and prevent the further spread of disease; while also looking ahead to long-term needs and planning for the future.
Eleven years ago, an unhoused person died of exposure on the streets of Hood River, Oregon. Local clergy got together and vowed that they were not going to let it happen again.
Together with other community partners, they created the Hood River Warming Center, which offered nightly refuge to neighbors during the cold winter months. In addition to a warm place to sleep, guests receive a hot meal--provided by a network of local restaurant partners-- and a place of refuge. They find a community and sense of sanctuary that provides warmth in more ways than one.
On this International Women's Day, Week of Compassion celebrates the strength and resilience of women worldwide. Your gifts to Week of Compassion support development programs that empower women through education and opportunity. When women are empowered to grow crops, go to school, learn a trade, become entrepreneurs, and work together towards their goals, the whole community thrives through their success!
Supporting women’s empowerment is a mission priority for Week of Compassion, especially now. During the pandemic, many of these life-changing programs experienced significant setbacks. Investing in women is of urgent concern and will help communities around the world move forward from the challenges of this season.
From Guatemala to East Africa; from Haiti to Serbia; from Iraq to South America, and so many places in between, the work of empowering women is the work of compassion, and that work empowers whole communities to grow and plan for the future.
If you’d like to honor the women in your life today, consider making a gift to Week of Compassion and designating it to the Women’s Empowerment Fund. Now, more than ever, your investment in the lives and futures of women will have a lasting impact and change lives for generations to come. We are grateful for your continued support in helping women thrive around the world, around the year.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
“There are times when we look up to the heavens and ask… do you really mean wherever? Even if wherever involves 911 moments or disasters? Again, the answer is yes, wherever. When you go through flooding, winter storm damage, busted pipes and significant home damage, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail damage, insurance or no insurance… God is wherever. And then … God sends help. It comes in all forms and from friends of all kinds. Some of those friends are from Week of Compassion. They come with resources and with faith. They come with ears and hearts open. They come with hands open ready for work and with hands folded in prayer.” -Rev. Joe Hodges, Senior Minister, The Woodlands Christian Church, TX.
By: Jennifer Allen
God sent the message: feed the masses.
In the community surrounding First Christian Church of Parkersburg, West Virginia, the number of unhoused and underfed neighbors has increased due to COVID-19. Restrictions on housing facilities and illness among volunteers who typically feed the hungry have led to less availability of sheltered beds and fewer food pantries disseminating sustenance to those in need. These dynamics have caused a compound crisis in the community.
On a cold morning, a group of women sit sharing coffee and conversation together. Times have been tough, but as the women share their stories and challenges, an idea emerges. Inspired by their shared experience, and their common love of handmade crafts, they begin planning a project that will generate income for their families.
Update on Hurricane Isaias: After skirting the eastern coasts of Florida and Georgia, Hurricane Isaias made landfall near the border of South and North Carolina and will bring rain and winds along the Eastern Seaboard through the day. So far, Disciples have fared well, and Week of Compassion staff is in conversation with partners to help provide relief in the complex COVID-19 environment.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps. ~Psalm 85:10-13