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.
Isaías 49:10 No tendrán hambre ni sed, ni el calor ni el sol los afligirá; porque el que tiene de ellos misericordia los guiará, y los conducirá a fuentes de aguas vivas.
Inseguridad de tener comida. Disturbios políticos. Los cambios del clima amenazando la viabilidad de las cosechas…
Imagínense todas esas cosas, pasando a la vez. Y entonces, dos huracanes consecutivos llegan.
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.
“When Hurricane Michael made landfall in October 2018 and devastated our area, you answered our call... to provide disaster recovery assistance for residents who do not have adequate resources to rebuild and restore their lives in the aftermath of the strongest storm to hit Bay County... and today, we are postured to assist the many residents still recovering from Hurricane Michael, and those impacted by COVID-19, and now Hurricane Sally.” -Donna Pilson, Rebulid Bay County, Inc. Executive Director
Rebuilding communities and lives after a disaster takes time; often, it takes years. Media coverage wanes after the immediate impact, so many never witness the later stages of recovery. But needs continue to evolve long after the initial crisis. And sometimes, new needs emerge as well. Week of Compassion is committed to supporting local partners through every stage of disaster recovery as they meet rapidly changing needs in their local communities-- and even face the challenges of compound disasters.
“Everything we usually do has been turned upside down,” says Lisa Crouch, Associate Director of Children’s Disaster Services, a Week of Compassion partner through Brethren Disaster Ministries. Children have unique needs following disasters, and CDS typically provides trauma-informed childcare in evacuation shelters and disaster resource centers during and after disasters. But as the pandemic has changed the face of disaster response, CDS has adapted their work for the COVID-19 context.
One of the greatest concerns throughout this pandemic has been for refugee and displaced populations. People in resettlement communities often live in close proximity where distancing is not possible, and safe water and sanitation facilities are not readily available. This makes those in a tenuous situation even more vulnerable.
The highly anticipated New Year is finally here. With the beginnings of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, many of us are beginning to think about what life returning to “normal” may look like in the year ahead: in-person worship, children back in school, travel… While much remains uncertain, the possibilities are hopeful.