“The COVID-19 pandemic struck an already vulnerable world, doubling the number of people facing acute hunger worldwide.”
Every year, ERDO assists thousands of people suffering from food insecurity who are unable to access proper nutrition due to drought, conflict or displacement. The COVID-19 pandemic struck an already vulnerable world, doubling the number of people facing acute hunger worldwide. Clearly, access to food has never been more important.
ERDO is regularly in touch with our team on the ground: PAOC global workers, local churches, and other partners who are helping us respond to this growing food crisis.
Many areas where ERDO works are already facing food security issues, meaning that families cannot access proper nutrition to live a healthy life. Without food a child will not grow, their brain cannot develop properly, and receiving an education is very difficult.
Women and children are especially vulnerable in times of food insecurity. ERDO always desires to help those in most need—the poorest of the poor and the extremely vulnerable. In Rhino Camp, a refugee settlement housing thousands of South Sudanese people escaping violence, our local partners found that women and children were being missed in food distributions. Also, food supplied by other aid organizations did not provide enough nutrition for pregnant or nursing mothers. By providing food for elderly women, pregnant women and their children, ERDO found we could help the most vulnerable people in an already severe situation.
In a world of COVID-19, we are still helping women and children, working through our ChildCARE Plus (CCP) programs. In Honduras, where we partner with global worker Kathy Mizen, it is difficult to grow any food and urban poverty is rampant. ERDO has been assisting an in-school feeding program, giving daily meals to students from low-income families. This program keeps kids in school and gives parents financial room to pay for other necessities like clean water.
While Honduras is in a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, our CCP school programs are closed. Children are at home with their parents, many of whom work as day labourers and have lost their income. Thankfully, CCP staff and volunteers in Honduras have set up contactless food distributions and are making sure these sponsored children are being fed.
Other global workers and ERDO partners have remained in their mission fields and are finding new ways to feed their communities. Partners like Alejandro and Mercedes Cetrulo, International Missions global workers in Uruguay, have expanded their emergency food program and are now reaching twice as many people! The Cetrulos’ church is cooking for families who have lost their jobs and, while providing food, are also sharing the gospel.
This is an example of the church in action. When we work together to feed the hungry and care for the sick, those affected by COVID-19, we are truly working for Christ.
To see a complete picture of ERDO’s COVID-19 food response, visit www.erdo.ca/covid-19. To see more food distribution pictures and to hear stories from our partners, follow ERDO on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Above all, continue to pray for the families we are serving together.
Alicia Kolenda is the marketing and communications officer at ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Overseas).
This article appeared in the July/August/September 2020 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2020 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © ERDO.