“Mr. Mpofu is the sole guardian of three grandchildren, including Thandi, who is part of our feeding program in Zimbabwe. Since he struggles to care for these children at home, he wrote to us about his relief in knowing that Thandi is receiving meals at school.”
“My name is Mr. Mpofu. I speak on behalf of the parents whose children attend Skente Primary School. The challenges in Tsholotsho are many and times are difficult, especially now that whole communities are suffering from hunger. As adults we often go without food ourselves so that our children do not cry from hunger in the night.”
So begins a letter written in a hut in Zimbabwe, pictured behind Mr. Mpofu in the photo we received. ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Overseas) received this letter from a concerned grandfather at one of the schools where we have been delivering emergency food to children for well over 10 years. The letter was received during a season of drought when very little food could be found in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mpofu continues, “You have provided porridge to Skente School, and our children are learning and passing exams because our school does not see closure when hunger is severe. As parents, we work with the school to make sure the feeding runs smoothly. We keep the school and grounds clean, take inventory, collect firewood, and help unload trucks.”
Mr. Mpofu is the sole guardian of three grandchildren, including Thandi, who is part of our feeding program in Zimbabwe. Since he struggles to care for these children at home, he wrote to us about his relief in knowing that Thandi is receiving meals at school.
Bringing food to children in Zimbabwe lifts a huge burden off families like Mr. Mpofu’s. Without this assistance, Mr. Mpofu would struggle to keep those precious children alive. His gratitude overflows into acts of service, and he joyfully helps the school with their food distributions.
Food for Kids is one of the matched programs we highlighted last year in our Christmas gift catalogue. For $7.50, our supporters could provide a child in Zimbabwe with a school meal every day for year. Thanks to over 300 Christmas gifts, we raised $43,730 for children. Together, we fed over 5,800 children in Tsholotscho, Zimbabwe, in 2022 because of last year’s Christmas giving.
See what a huge and lasting impact a small gift makes?
Each Christmas, we carefully curate our programs into gifts that will support families throughout the coming year.
Our local partners were able to distribute over 200 goats to pastoralist families in Kenya this year after our donors gave Gorgeous Goats for Christmas. These goats provide milk to feed a child and provide an income for the family.
Caroline is one of the young mothers who received a goat from our gift catalogue. In Kenya, we are working with young women like Caroline who have little education to fall back on. These women often do not have many options for supporting their children financially, so our partners work with them and give them business training. Together, we open new avenues for women to change their own futures.
Caroline frequents the local market and has learned to buy small goats, selling them for a profit. She often brings her little boy with her when she does business. With the money she earns from her livestock, Caroline can take care of her family’s daily needs and provide for her children’s future goals.
Our Christmas gift catalogue also highlights urgent crisis needs; for instance, the Yemen Food Pack. Yemen has been experiencing war and severe hunger for several years now. Starvation is a very real possibility for children who live there. Last Christmas, ERDO was able to raise over $16,500, bringing food to almost 1,000 people for six months this year.
For Christmas 2022, you will be able to support displaced families in Ukraine and refugees in surrounding countries like Poland, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.
Thousands of families in Ukraine have had to flee their homes after the Russian invasion in February. Vera is one of about two million children who have been displaced during this war. She and her mother, Olga, escaped the city by foot, travelling for 10 days through fields and forests. They had to travel carefully, avoiding dangerous main roads. They arrived in another district of Ukraine where they were given shelter, food, and supplies from our ERDO partners.
Through countries surrounding Ukraine, we are continuing to send food and supplies to care for families still living in an active war zone. Volunteers from local churches are driving supplies across the border and distributing them to whomever they find in need. These volunteers are also rescuing families from bomb shelters and bringing them food.
Churches just outside the Ukrainian borders still need help to care for the huge number of refugees they have taken in. We are working with churches in Poland, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania to bring medical assistance, bedding, clothing, hygiene items, and food to these Ukrainian refugees.
To support ERDO’s effort in and around Ukraine this Christmas, please take a look at our new gift catalogue. You can find an online version of the catalogue at https://www.erdo.ca/giftcatalogue or order a print version from our office by calling 1-800-779-7262.
Alicia Kolenda is the marketing and communications co-ordinator at ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Overseas). She is passionate about seeing families released from poverty and set free by the love of Christ. This article appeared in the October/November/December 2022 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2022 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos © ERDO.