A Message from Lutheran Disaster Response
by Kathye Hamm
In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, many people around the world are facing significant challenges – loss of income and livelihood, difficulty accessing medical care, obstacles to education – and the list goes on. Lutheran Disaster Response is supporting churches and organizations around the globe to ensure that people are able to thrive in spite of COVID-19. Currently, Lutheran Disaster Response is at work in 36 countries, addressing a wide range of needs by supporting global companion churches and ecumenical partners who are supplying personal protective equipment (PPE), providing food and other necessary supplies, and offering WASH (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) and awareness education. In the United States, the primary focus of COVID-19 support is funding congregational and social ministry feeding programs through ELCA synods.
In 2019, Lutheran Disaster Response worked in 40 countries and 20 U.S. states and territories. From major events such as Hurricane Dorian to more localized events such as an elephant rampage in a small Malaysian village, Lutheran Disaster Response responds to a wide range of disasters. Recognizing that every disaster is local, we work with affiliated Lutheran social ministry organizations, synods, global companion churches and ecumenical partners that are rooted in the affected communities. We are truly carrying out the ELCA’s motto of “God’s Work. Our Hands” by using the hands of Lutherans in the United States and around the world to bring God’s healing and renewal to those who have been affected by disaster.
When Lutheran Disaster Response arrives, we stay until the job is done, even if it takes years, such as with the deadly 2018 California wildfire season. Katy, a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Chico, CA, is one of the many people who lost homes in the Camp Fire. Her family relied on the generosity of family and friends, including their pastor, to find places to stay as their house was rebuilt. Two years later, Lutheran Disaster Response continues to work with Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and Lutheran Social Services of Southern California to support the rebuilding of homes and other long-term recovery efforts. As more fires blaze across the state this year, we remain in collaboration with LSS Northern California, LSS Southern California, and the three California Synods to respond to immediate needs. Through our work and the hands of Lutherans around the world, we are following Christ’s call to bring hope and healing to our neighbors in need.
Thank you for your continual support for Lutheran Disaster Response. To learn more about our work and ways to give, visit elca.org/LDR.
September 15, 2020
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