While we try to focus any compassion/humanitarian efforts as much on local long-term development as we can, there are times where direct aid in the form of charity can’t be avoided. These are the times where we are providing charitably for a short-term need, knowing it is likely to recur in the future, but trying the best we can to help NOW while the person in front of us is hungry, cold or sick.
In recent months we’ve been able to distribute over 170 food bags each month to provide several days of food to about 800 poor people in the local community. These bags contain rice, cracked wheat, tomato paste, noodles, cooking oil, and usually some type of canned meat.
We are thankful to have been able to give these direct to families, usually along with a Gospel paper for the benefit of those who can read, and in turn also support several local grocers who supply us the bags for around $11-$13 each.
As winter creeps in upon us, we’re switching gears a little to focus less on food needs and more on cold needs. Did you know that, based on a very recent study, living in a room that’s only at 10C/50F begins to significantly affect health, cognitive ability (20% less blood flow to brain) and increases stroke/heart attack risk? I didn’t know that either, but you can read about it here on the BBC, and it’s further reason why trying to help the poorest this winter is so urgent. Temperatures in high altitudes areas here get well below 50F in the day and especially at nights.
We typically help buy small diesel fuel heaters for families without one or with an old broken one (like in the picture) that doesn’t work any longer. These little heaters usually heat one room, where the family will eat, sleep and live throughout winter.
The cost of heating oil has skyrocketed compared to last year. Many people are asking us now for wood heaters, in the hopes they can scavenge for fuel. Proper chopped wood for heating is also fairly costly, at around $70 for a square meter, but more reliable than heating fuel supplies have been in past winters. With the global diesel price spikes and shortages this year, we don’t expect it to be an easy winter.
How You Can Pray For Our Direct Aid Charity Efforts
It’s never easy to determine who should get the bag of food, the winter heater or jug of heating oil, and who should not. Our ability to help is obviously limited by both time, volunteers and money. Pray for wisdom for us to discern the truly neediest cases. Many of the families on our past charitable distribution list were in great need during the COVID-19 lockdowns and years following, but some are now not as needy as others.
Along with that, the UN estimates in our host country that general poverty is approaching 82%, around every 4 out of 5 people, and extreme poverty is reaching 36% or more. We find that almost ALL of those we help are in poverty relative to the general country – and especially relative to the West – but not all are in the extreme category. We are having to whittle down aid to those closer to the lowest tier of the extremes. It’s a hard transition to begin cutting poor people off who once received help, but we feel the Lord is having us do that so we can better serve the even poorer out here with the limited resources we have left. Pray for grace and wisdom to do that, and understanding from those who will have to stop receiving direct aid in coming months.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. This is a work bigger than any of us, but not bigger then God or His church! If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.