Discovering Community in 2020

For World Renew, 2020 started with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and commitment…then came March 2020 and a pandemic that rapidly changed how we work – but not why we work.
Man and woman with medical face masks, standing on a path

For World Renew, 2020 started with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to supporting communities around the world to engage in life-giving, sustainable practices that improve the well-being of people facing poverty, disaster, or injustice. Then came March 2020 and a pandemic that rapidly changed how we work – but not why we work. 

Explore our community development efforts here.

Through God’s grace, the continuing generosity of our donors, and our committed field staff, World Renew was able to pivot to meet the demands of COVID-19. Our field staff became the epitome of resilience. Psalm 9:9 teaches us, The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”. Our staff reached out to their stronghold as they adapted programs to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, often coming together for virtual prayer, asking our Lord to give them the perseverance to carry on. And carry on they did!

Learn more about our COVID response here.

It is estimated that due to the pandemic as many as 115 million people globally joined the ranks of those already living in poverty. Understanding that protecting their health was difficult, even unlikely, for poverty-stricken families, World Renew local partners in 17 countries distributed hygiene kits that included masks, soap, and disinfectant. Janet*, in Kenya, one recipient of a kit smiled gleefully and said, “I am happy because my people and I shall be able to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

But just as dangerous a threat to their health as COVID-19 has been for families facing food insecurity, the virus has also put them in greater danger of going hungry. To address the growing need, in November World Renew ramped up our World Hunger Campaign and our Giving Tuesday initiative to bring long-term food security and emergency food deliveries to the most vulnerable families. While gifts from churches continue to flow in, we celebrate the gifts already given to this initiative that provided food security for an entire year to over 3,500 families. We continue to pray that we will be able to provide more families with the means to put food on their tables in 2021.

Join our efforts to bring food to every table by purchasing a gift in this year’s Gift Catalog here.

Though COVID-19 certainly has been the headline for 2020, there were other areas of need that we at World Renew had to shift our attention to, even as we continued to address the growing hunger and poverty that the pandemic created. In July, following COVID-19 safety measures, we responded to the flooding in Michigan; in August our local partners quickly reached out to deliver emergency supplies to families affected by the explosion in Beirut; and in November we provided food, water, and temporary shelter to Latin Americans displaced by the hurricanes Eta and Iota. These are just a few of the disasters we responded to in the midst of the pandemic. And through all of these disasters, our resolve was strengthened by the generosity of our supporters.

Learn more about World Renew’s disaster response efforts here.

But there was yet another fallout due to COVID-19. As countries around the world went into lockdown gender-based violence (GBV), domestic violence, and child marriages increased. In Nigeria, after public outcry, the government was forced to declare a state of emergency against GBV. While families struggled to put food on the table in Bangladesh, there was a rise in child marriages as families opted to marry off their daughters to help ensure they had access to more stable food. Globally, there were more reported cases of domestic violence. From November 25 to December 10, World Renew joined the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism Campaign protesting gender injustice. We continue to stand strong against gender injustice as we move into the new year.

Read, a survivor of gender-based violence, Mina’s story here.

Though for many the pandemic has been a time of isolation, for World Renew a sense of community was cultivated as our loving donors banded with us to support all of our efforts to continue to walk with those struggling with hunger, poverty, and injustice. There are too many stories to tell, yet each and every one is a testimony to God’s love working in our lives. 

As 2021 dawns, we hold on to love and look forward to God continuing to work through us to restore justice and extend mercy to the world’s most vulnerable people.

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