When the deacons of Kanata (Ontario) Community Christian Reformed Church watched the devastation unfolding in Pakistan after the recent earthquake, they knew a unique response was required. While the story quickly disappeared from the front pages of Canadian newspapers, the vulnerability of earthquake victims kept growing.
“It all started with an e-mail between two deacons,” said Aaron Helleman, a deacon for the Ottawa-area church. “Once we realized the scope of the disaster, we really felt God was calling us to respond in a special way.”
So the church issued a communitywide challenge: Make a donation to help earthquake victims through the charity of your choice, and Kanata Community CRC will match the gifts, to a total of $10,000. The church publicized its challenge through local media. A church phone number and e-mail address allowed individuals to report their gifts.
The result? The Kanata church received word of $3,500 in donations from the community and matched that amount and then some through their contribution of $11,000.
“The $11,000 from our congregation was donated to the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee,” said Helleman. “Members of the community donated to various organizations, including World Vision, UNICEF, Red Cross, Care Canada, and the Mennonite Central Committee. A special time-limited dollar-to-dollar matching grant from the Canadian government meant that the $14,500 raised was doubled yet again, for a total of $29,000 going to relief for earthquake survivors in Pakistan.”