by Carol Froom

“In addition to doing virtuous work, [ERDO] also met the highest standards for accountability, financial transparency, and the efficient use of donations.”

Public recognition for a ministry like ERDO’s comes with mixed emotions. We are grateful for acknowledgement of the work we do because it inspires new donors to support us. But we’re reminded that the work we do centres on alleviating human suffering and the effects of poverty. Gaining recognition in the public eye increases our ability to serve people in the name of Jesus and in doing so introduces more women, men and children to the God of justice and love.

We are humbled by the distinction ERDO received in December 2015 from the Financial Post. As one of 86,000 registered charities in Canada, according to the Financial Post’s criteria, ERDO was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Charities of the Year” for the past two years because “in addition to doing virtuous work, [we] also met the highest standards for accountability, financial transparency, and the efficient use of donations.” We’re so grateful that the Financial Post published their rationale and ratings, both in print and online, for donors and prospective donors to see. It’s our prayer that through this public recognition, God will bring together ERDO and people who are looking for ways to share their resources.

In addition to our rating by the Financial Post, ERDO is a top-rated organization to support according to Charity Intelligence, a body that assesses stewardship of resources, operational and fiscal transparency and accountability. Our significant food programming partner, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, has also been recognized by both Financial Post and Charity Intelligence for the past two years. 

None of our work—or the recognition received—could have happened without the support of churches and individuals. Here are just some of the things you helped us achieve under our four major areas of work: crisis response, food assistance, community development, and child sponsorship (ChildCARE Plus).

Crisis Response

Generous donors gave over $624,000 so that ERDO could assist thousands of Nepalese earthquake victims. In the first days, up to 3,000 people a day received food. In the weeks that followed, emergency kits reached thousands more, and shelters now cover more than 2,000 people.

In October 2015, ERDO, together with our general superintendent, David Wells, made a special request for support to assist Syrian refugees with emergency food and supplies. Through the response, over $330,000 was raised to meet urgent food needs and supplies to face the cold of winter for over 3,400 people.  

In addition to these two major crises, ERDO also:

  • Provided food relief for over 2,500 people in Zimbabwe.
  • Continued longer-term crisis recovery programs in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013 and assisted 18,000 people affected by Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) in 2014.
  • Provided food and crisis relief packs for 750 displaced children and their families in Ukraine.

Food Assistance

ERDO’s food programs reached hungry children, women and men on your behalf. Some of our food programs also receive matching funds through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and the Canadian government.

Our multi-year CFGB-assisted projects in 2015 included programs that benefited over 40,000 people.  These included the continuation of:

  • In-school feeding programs in Bangladesh, Honduras and Zimbabwe.
  • A livestock program in Marsabit, Kenya. Livestock from this program are partially funded through ERDO’s annual Christmas Gift Catalogue and online donations.

In addition, a new short-term CFGB project was launched in 2015: a Kenyan food assistance program to benefit 690 households in Marsabit using vouchers to provide necessary food.

ERDO also operated ongoing food programs that were not funded through CFGB. These included:

  • Child-focused feeding distributed through the Haiti Ministry Centre, a nursery school in Turkana, Kenya, and Alpha Cottages in Zimbabwe.
  • Agricultural training in Zambia.
  • Community school gardens in Zimbabwe, and providing one nutritious meal per day to 1,420 Zimbabwean children between the ages of two and four.

Community Development

ERDO actively looks for longer-term solutions to issues related to poverty in the communities where we serve. Communities sometimes need basic building blocks to help them to become self-sustaining. Our work in this area focuses on water, sanitation and health, and microfinance. 

Here are just some of our 2015 community development results:

  • Equipped 325 families with biosand filters in Cambodia so they would have clean, safe drinking water.
  • Completed two school borewells in Zimbabwe to provide fresh water and sanitation to children and the school communities.
  • Continued microfinance loans to women’s small businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and opened one lending post in Burundi. Since the “Wezesha Project” microfinance program began, over 7,500 loans have been made to develop small businesses and foster economic independence for women at risk.

Child Sponsorship

Over 7,500 children are now sponsored through ChildCARE Plus in our 28 country locations. As child sponsorship is about changing the life of a child, we’re excited to share the story of Cambodia’s first graduate from the ChildCARE Plus program in that country. Peaqkedy graduated from Grade 12 and then pursued technical training in appliance repair. Once he completed his training, the company that he’d been working with hired him to work with them full time. His journey is a true testimony of how education can help children break the cycle of poverty they face as a result of limited social opportunities. Above all else, Peaqkedy has been able to experience God’s love through sponsorship. This young man has dedicated his life to serving the Lord, and because of his testimony future generations will be reached.

The ministry ERDO fulfilled in 2015 impacted about 200,000 lives, including the life of this former sponsored child. While the stories of those we impacted will not find their way into charity ratings, we know that they stand as the real testimony of “doing good.” Thank you for your support when we write, call or email to share the needs in our world so we can fulfil our mission: “Do good. Seek justice. Rescue the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

(Emergency Relief & Development Overseas) is the humanitarian agency of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Carol Froom is ERDO’s director of resource development.

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