When 50 or more people aren’t allowed to work together in a single room, some programs hit a wall. To package dehydrated meals for chronically malnourished people you normally need lots of intergenerational labor. If churches can’t gather their energetic workers in-person, our actions to end hunger needs to adapt.
After COVID-19 mitigation strategies took effect in March 2020, FastPrayGive.org switched its grant disbursement program from funding food-aid assembly, to ensuring meals are getting delivered. Normally, FastPrayGive.org provides matching grants to help fund introductory meal packaging events with Rise Against Hunger. Rise Against Hunger has packaged over 115 million meals with United Methodist churches, boards, and agencies, yet, they can’t facilitate dozens of events per week when large groups of people are not allowed to assemble.
There is never been a more critical time to redouble efforts on ending hunger caused by poverty. The World Food Programme (WFP) believes that the number of people facing acute food insecurity stands to rise an additional 130 million people as a result of the economic impact of COVID-191. This estimate was shared in the WFP’s Global Report on Food Crises in late April 2020.
While Rise Against Hunger is going to need to adapt their meal packaging experience for groups of 10 or less to accommodate physical distancing, FastPrayGive has turned its attention to helping Rise Against Hunger international partners receive life-saving aid.
The North Carolina Conference has mobilized a shipment to a partner hospital in Ganta, Liberia (Ganta United Methodist Hosptial, a project of the United Methodist Committee on Relief)2which was founded by two Methodist missionaries in 1926. The hospital regularly receives shipping containers of Rise Against Hunger food and medical supplies and goods. The hospital is one you might have heard of before. News organizations have reported in the past about the important work the hospital does in Libera which is still recovering from two civil wars and Ebola outbreaks.
FastPrayGive.org administrative team set up a matching grant to cover half of the shipping cost for a container of over $20 million in food and medical aid. In two weeks, FastPrayGive raised $4,500 through generous donations of its program participants.
“Most people may not realize it,” say Rise Against Hunger’s Director of Global Acquisitions, Paul Renaud, “but patients in hospitals in the developing world are often fed one meal a day. A lot of times their families come along with them, camp outside the hospital, and cook food for the patient. Shipments of food aid and medical supplies, like the shipment FastPrayGive.org helped to ship to Liberia, not only come alongside the feeding of patients but is impactful because it combines both the medical and nutritional needs. It seems obvious, but it is often not a reality.”
FastPrayGive.org is a movement of individuals which provides a matching grant to groups or congregations that encourage their members explore spiritual disciplines like Fasting one meal per week, Praying during that time for hunger to end, and Giving what they saved during the fast as a monthly micro-donation so that others may eat.
“We appreciate the partnership of FastPrayGive and Rise Against Hunger with our conference’s mission team.” Say Rev. Bill Haddock, the Mission Interpreter of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, “The prayers and the sacrificial giving of those involved with FastPrayGive are greatly appreciated. Those prayers, put into action, are making a difference for Christ’s Kingdom in Liberia.”
You can join the FastPrayGive.org movement at our get started page.