Winnipeg, 27 November 2012 — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support to assist Syrians who have fled their homes due to ongoing violence in their home country.
Funds will go to provide warm clothing for 10,000 children, winterized shelters, and heaters for refugees living in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, located about 70 km from the Syrian border. There is an immediate need for these items. Winter has begun, which brings driving rain and temperatures that fall to nearly zero at night. Many refugees left their homes in the summer with only the clothes on their backs, travelling under cover of darkness to avoid being shot. Many are now living in shelters with little protection from the cold. It costs $200 to provide a family with warm clothing, a winterized tent, and heaters.
Funds will also help provide mental health care and social support, with a focus on children. Many refugees have witnessed intensifying violence and are enduring the loss of homes, jobs, and loved ones. In the coming months, The Lutheran World Federation will help refugees organize community-based groups that will take roles in co-managing the camp.
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and CLWR Executive Director Robert Granke visited the Zaatari camp earlier this week. They witnessed firsthand the need for relief. They met with people who lost all they owned due to rocket fire destroying their homes and livelihoods.
Winter is coming quickly. It will mean sub-zero temperatures and rain, said Bishop Johnson. Warm clothing for children and winterized shelters are critical to people in Zaatari so they can endure the coming winter.
The extent of this humanitarian crisis is deepening with every passing day. The stories I heard of the danger and hardship faced by these people broke my heart, said Granke.
ELCIC members are encouraged to support the appeal through financial donations.
Donations may be made in the following ways:
- By making a designated offering donation at any ELCIC congregation.
- Online at clwr.org/donate. Click on Emergencies, and select Syrian Refugee Relief 2012.
- By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597 or locally at 204.694.5602.
- By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to Syrian Refugee Relief.
A video from Bishop Johnson sharing her reflections on her experience at the Za’atari refugee camp can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLP9qOiPR0&feature=share&list=PLF19F6C2B235F6877