In every context, Friends are especially attentive to the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Among FUM’s ministries around the world, immediate needs are becoming clearer as the coronavirus impacts lives and livelihoods.
For instance, in both Belize and Samburu, the ministry teams have identified food security as one of the most pressing needs. We’re pretty sure these aren’t the only places with this particular concern.
Eden Grace, FUM’s Director of Global Ministries, is currently in Belize for a previously-scheduled trip, and has witnessed the Belize ministry team step into creative and compassionate action in response to the impact of the necessary restrictions imposed by the government. As tourist arrivals plummeted to zero this week, vast numbers of people are already losing jobs. When the Friends School closes at the end of this week, the students will lose access to the breakfast and lunch served in school (the only food of the day for some of them.) This already-extremely poor community is about to experience significant deprivation. Belize Friends Ministries is therefore organizing to provide a box of basic food stuffs every week to forty families who are part of the Friends community.
In Samburu, the acting administrator, Daniel Lentigangoi, writes about the impact of a “work from home” order on day laborers, who have instantly lost their entire income. As all schools will close by the end of this week, families will need to incorporate their boarding-school students (the vast majority of all schools in Kenya are boarding schools) into their home food budget. Samburu Mission would therefore like to be able to provide basic food support to those who are most needy in their community.
Lugulu Hospital has asked for special prayers, as they anticipate receiving suspected cases soon. We are expecting to hear more from FUM’s ministry partners and mission projects as to their specific needs as the situation unfolds and the impact on our communities becomes clearer.
Friends are gathering in solidarity within their local communities, and also as a global fellowship. In order to allow Friends to support this solidarity work, FUM has created a special new fund, the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund. This new short-term fund will allow us to stand together with Friends in serving the most vulnerable in their communities. Whatever is not needed for these purposes will be rolled over to the Global Impact Fund after the Coronavirus crisis has passed.
If you would like to contribute toward the emergent human needs that this crisis is revealing, you may do any of the following:
• Visit https://donorbox.org/covid-19-solidarity-fund to make a secure online donation with a credit card.
• Send a check in US dollars to FUM, 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond IN 47374 USA. Indicate “COVID-19 Solidarity Fund” in the memo.
• Send a Kenyan shilling contribution to MPesa Paybill number 514608. In the account field, write COVID-19 and your name.
May Christ be more fully known through the love of Friends for those in need.
[In the picture above, Belize Friends School students and teacher Ms Patricia demonstrate proper handwashing technique in a meeting with parents on Wednesday afternoon. From Belize, Eden Grace writes, "Yesterday we worked on handwashing and alternative greetings. We practiced washing hands for 20 seconds and thought of various ways to time it (the students unanimously preferred the American custom of 'one Mississippi, two Mississippi...' which they had never heard before). We're requiring everyone (students and adults) to wash their hands upon entry to the classroom every time (morning, after break, after lunch, etc)."]