We can be so busy sometimes we forget to stop and count up what the Lord has done so far in certain areas. Our regular monthly food distribution to refugees and poor locals is one of those areas. We’ve been giving out monthly food aid for years, and it can easily be taken for granted how much the Lord has provided for this need.
Year to date in 2023, the Lord has provided for us to purchase and distribute almost 10 tons of food in the local community. Until today, we did not sit down and add it all up, but it is far more than we’d expected it would be by this point! We are thankful to look back and see what God has helped our small team to deliver to many needy families we know. It’s not been all at once, but bag by bag, family by family, month by month, God provides.
As of this year, we typically give out 170-180 food parcels a month (sometimes more, occasionally less) to just as many families when funds are available. These families represent almost 800 people in total being helped monthly. Last year, it was closer to 200+ families for many months, but it became more than we could handle, so we had to cut it back a bit. There’s no shortage of people in need, but the Lord’s shown us there are limits to what we can responsibly manage.
Each food parcel costs only about $15, weighs about 18 pounds and contains rice, lentils, pasta noodles, oil, cracked wheat, tomato paste, sardines or canned meat (depending on availability) and other items on occasion. It’s enough for a small family to use for almost a week, if stretched out and supplemented with bread and vegetables.
It can seem like a small thing to us Americans, accustomed to shopping carts filled to the brim with far more than 18 pounds of food. But for some needy families here, they’ll gladly wait hours in line to get these bags of food to feed their kids.
Why is it still necessary or even helpful to be giving out food in 2023? The host country where our ministry serves is still undergoing a prolonged economic collapse that began in 2019. Inflation’s bad in the USA, but out here the local currency is experiencing hyperinflation at a rate of 250% or more. The cost of living has gone up from years past, while wages are greatly depressed, and the poverty level is now around 80% as of this summer. We know of locals who will work 10-12 hour shifts and earn $4-$5 in the day at most, if they’re luck enough to find work. That’s hard to live on out here, and a bag of food to offset their living expenses for a few days to a week can make a big difference.
We’re thankful the Lord continues to provide in this. If you’ve helped toward this need in the past, we thank you as well! It provides us with regular contact and open doors with hundreds of families in the area. It gives a good witness in a dark place, and the community is appreciative that the Christians are helping the refugees and local poor regardless of sectarian or religious background.
Every month is another opportunity to do a little more to help out here. It can be good at times to count our blessings and see what the Lord has done with the few loaves and fishes we have to give. I hope it is an encouragement to those reading this as well to see how much God has helped in this one area just this year, not to mention to tons of food in years past.
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.