Things are tough all over. That old adage is certainly true today as most people feel the effects of a depressed economy.
But the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee wants to remind donors that the people who were already in a tight spot during good economic times are the ones really getting squeezed now.
People already plagued by chronic disasters, AIDS, and rising food prices are even more desperate, wondering how they will feed their families each day.
Donations to CRWRC, the CRC’s relief and development agency, are running about $1.8 million behind what was conservatively budgeted for this fiscal year. (CRWRC receives no regular funding from churches through ministry shares, only donations.)
That shortfall means that aid to some of the world’s poorest people will have to be cut.
And because CRWRC leverages most of its money by partnering with governments and other organizations, a shortfall of $2 million results in an actual loss of double or even triple that amount in programming, affecting millions of lives.
Andrew Ryskamp, CRWRC’s U.S. director, said that income has been sliding for the past year as the economy sank, but the organization has been able to maintain core programming by delaying any new programs, using reserves, freezing salaries, and cutting pensions and benefits of employees. But even with all those cuts, donations are still coming up short.
CRWRC has posted a rare plea to donors on its website (www.crwrc.org) and sent a letter to Christian Reformed churches.
Ryskamp said he and CRWRC Canada director Ida Mutoigo resisted publishing such a letter for as long as possible.
“We had to let people know we are adjusting to these realities,” he said. “We want people to be aware of what the reality is, and if they are in a place to help, that’s wonderful, but we also understand these economic times are difficult.”