On September 12, 2015, the Canadian government announced that donations made by Canadians to help people in Syria and neighboring transit countries will be matched to provide up to $100 million in additional assistance. Donations made between September 12 and December 31 to World Renew, the relief and development agency of the Christian Reformed Church, are eligible. The government will place matched monies into the Syria Emergency Relief Fund. Canadian registered charities like World Renew can apply to receive money from this fund to supplement existing programs.
The announcement came shortly after the UN’s World Food Programme reduced its assistance because of low funding. This caused public outcry after haunting images of a little boy, one of many refugees who drowned while fleeing Syria, were posted and shared on social media.
World Renew’s Middle East crisis response began in 2012 with food provisions in Syria. It has evolved over the past three years to include non-food items such as blankets, heating fuel, and other emergency supplies.
World Renew has an active partnership with the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) and the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) to distribute these provisions through a network of churches. In Syria, over 2,000 households receive a package containing good-quality food each month. In Lebanon and Jordan, food packages and vouchers are also given to displaced families in these regions.
When visiting the distribution centers this past summer, Ken Little, senior project manager for World Renew, was impressed with the outstanding monitoring done by the LSESD and church volunteers. “It’s amazing to see how churches are reaching out to help their neighbors,” said Little.
World Renew suggests that churches in North America can further help by increasing awareness of the situation and its victims, by taking the time to consider refugee sponsorship, or by donating money to assist with World Renew’s efforts to save lives. Most importantly, Christians can help through prayers for peace and safety for all those in this war-torn region.