A few days ago we received a call from the director of a refugee camp. The camp is quarantined by the government, as is the rest of the city—no residents can leave the camp. Not being able to leave the camp means not being able to work. Not being able to work means no food for the family.
The director of that camp, he knows us. We’ve worked together for years now. And he knows that when there is a serious need that is time sensitive, he can come to us because we have an amazing community—you.
We asked you, friends around the world, to donate so our refugee friends could eat. You responded immediately.
On Saturday we purchased staple goods from a wholesale warehouse—the kinds of foods our friends prefer to eat: bags of rice and cracked wheat, big cans of tomato paste, and bottles of oil. We met with friends from each section of the refugee camp to unload trucks and create individual packs for each family.
And then in small groups, with representatives from each section of the camp, we distributed the food door-to-door.
We were careful to make sure that each family got their share. We were careful to make sure that the distribution happened in a way to preserve the health of camp residents as well as those distributing food (a heavy rainstorm helped keep people indoors!).
The social isolation that comes with trying to curtail the spread of coronavirus shows us in stark detail just how connected we are. Even the most self-reliant among us depend on others in more ways than we can count. That’s one reason why times like these are so devastating for our refugee friends. Most are separated from their families and the social structure that made life work.
Whether just a block or half a world away, this is how we change the world—we become community to each other. We become present to each other, we respond to each other in love as we’re able, we see our own joys and suffering in each other’s lives, and stay open to each other no matter what the circumstances.
A few days ago we asked you to give. You did! And within days we put enough food for a week into the hands of more than 2,000 families who need it.
We are hearing about more families and more camps in the same situation: locked down, no way to get food. We must keep showing up.
It’s easy to feel helpless these days. But it’s the perfect time to expand your definition of neighbor! Help us say yes to the next group of families in need. We’ll continue to safely show up for them as quickly as possible.