by Nikki Massie
There have been many times over the past six years that I have given thanks that I get to be part of the work of Lutheran World Relief.
Most recently, I felt that way because of what is going on in Gaza. Like me, you’ve probably seen it play out on the news. Rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians led to an outbreak of violence in the Gaza Strip and surrounding Israeli neighborhoods. Beginning July 17th, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a ground offensive in Gaza to proactively defend Israel from missiles being launched from Gaza.
With horror, I listened (and watched and read on the internet) as the death toll continued to rise. As of this writing, 1,845 Palestinians (including at least 1,354 civilians, of whom 415 are children and 214 are women). In addition, 67 Israelis have been killed (64 soldiers, two civilians and one foreign national). There are 187,000 people who remain displaced and in United Nations RWA shelters and 65,000 people have had their homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair. [source]
But what strikes the deepest chord with me about this crisis, is the toll it’s taking on children in the area. UN-OCHA reports that there are 373,000 children in need of psycho-social support and hearing the daily news reports it’s not hard to imagine why.
As a mother, this makes me especially thankful for the work of Lutheran World Relief and for people like you who support its mission. With your help, we are responding in two important ways.
We are sending Quilts and Kits
We are sending LWR Quilts and Kits to the area. In fact, we just received word from our warehouses that a shipment of Mission Quilts is headed that way. Quilts are especially helpful to displaced families. They provide warmth, can be used for bedding and are also a tangible symbol that people around the world care.
You can help by donating (or continuing to donate) LWR Quilts and Kits. By keeping our warehouses stocked, you allow us to respond to emerging situations while fulfilling existing requests of partners around the world. If you’d like to check the progress of the Gaza Quilt shipment, you can check out our Quilt & Kit Tracking Map.
We are partnering with local organizations
We are supporting the response on the ground, carried out by our partners in the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and organizations working together to respond to needs around the world.
One of our partners, The Department of Service to the Palestine Refugees of the Near East Council of Churches (NECC/DSPR), runs three clinics in the area. One sustained damage recently, but the other two are currently up and running. DSPR has also been distributing food and water in the area. Another partner, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), has also been distributing food and is making plans to provide shelter for people who have been displaced.
How you can help
You can make sure we continue to be able to support responses like this with a gift to LWR. Your cash donations will support the response of our partners in the ACT Alliance.
As I write this, Gaza is entering a second day of ceasefire as Palestinian and Israeli representatives prepare to go to Egypt for talks. Please join us in praying for the people of Gaza, for those participating in the talks and for a sustainable end to the violence in the region.