Already hard-hit by economic woes, Lebanon is staggering under the COVID quarantines, so how are World Challenge partners responding?
We serve Syrian refugees and other vulnerable people in Lebanon. For the last couple years, we have been focusing on education, psychosocial support, counseling and vocational training.
Before COVID-19, Lebanon was already going through a serious financial crisis, so the government is not in a position to help people who have lost jobs or those who are day laborers and must keep working in order to feed their families. As a result, the lockdown is pushing people further into poverty.
As time has passed, we witnessed the increasingly dire condition of people who have no resources and are literally starving. Some people are going to the streets, saying, “We prefer to die from coronavirus than from hunger.”
A Gift of Food in Troubled Times
When COVID-19 hit Lebanon, we were forced to stop all of our educational programs. Initially, we gave all of our students homework for two weeks, hoping that the lockdown would only be for a short period. Obviously, that did not happen.
We decided to increase our food aid in response and have been creating food packs to distribute to those who are most in need. We have a long list of students and beneficiaries whom we personally know and can continue to minister to through this provision.
The demand for our help is definitely increasing, and for the first time in all the years we have worked in this city, we have neighbors who live in the same building as our center visiting us and asking for help. These neighbors were doing okay, despite the economic upheaval that was happening before the pandemic; but the lockdown has been the final blow for many people who were managing to keep afloat before. When they saw the food packs arriving at our center, they came asking for help.
Now we are even receiving calls from different local churches, asking if we can provide them with food packages that they can distribute to their own communities.
The Continuing Work of God
We’re trying to stay safe while also being there for others. It is a daily juggling act, but we believe that this is what we are called to do at the present time. These are truly unique times, but the basic necessities for living have not changed.
Our biggest need now is food and hygiene kits. We’re also looking into medical help since some people are not able to afford their usual medicine. Jesus said, “I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me water to drink. I was sick, and you visited me” —or brought medicine to me. So we will continue serving and caring for the most vulnerable in our community.
Thank you to everyone who is standing with us as we need each other to be one body and show Jesus to the world.