UCC seeks gifts for partners where ‘pandemic is far from over’
In the United States, COVID-19 cases are going down as vaccination numbers go up. People are planning summer activities.
But elsewhere, “the pandemic is far from over,” said the Rev. Josh Baird. He leads the United Church of Christ’s Global H.O.P.E. team, which wants to raise $150,000 to help partners respond to the ongoing crisis.
To that end, the UCC issued a special “COVID-specific relief” appeal May 26. Details are here.
Baird said the funds will help meet specific requests from longtime church partners who are working hard to react to a stubborn and changing pandemic.
Supplies and support
In Southern Asia, for example, countries struggle with:
- Vaccine supplies
- Mutating strains of the coronavirus
- Shortages of hospital space and protective equipment
- Lockdowns and losses of jobs
Globally, Baird said, “vaccine distribution is highly unequal.” In many places, health infrastructure adds to the challenge. “Those who are already vulnerable, including older adults, people living in rural areas and in impoverished communities, are increasingly at risk. This was made clear in India where an alarming surge has strained healthcare infrastructure and professionals beyond capacity.
“As the virus continues to spread, gifts to this appeal will enable the church to be immediately responsive, offering help and extending hope with affected communities. Through long-standing relationships with mission partners, the Church is able to support the purchase of necessary medical supplies, furnish protective gear and provide counseling and support services, among other services.”
‘We want to journey with partners’
“While we here in the United States are making choices about whether or not we want to take the vaccine, many of our partners are working in communities where COVID-19 is spreading rapidly,” said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson. As a UCC associate general minister, she heads Wider Church Ministries, which includes Global H.O.P.E.
“The UCC responded to COVID-19 in a variety of ways last year, providing resources to assist with hygiene, food and funds to communities and individuals struggling through the pandemic,” Thompson said. “Last year, we knew we needed to do something without knowing the full extent of what the world was dealing with. Now that we know more and have a greater awareness, we believe there will be longer-term issues to address, even as we deal with current needs. We want to be able to journey with partners through these troubling times.”
“We will continue to stand with the hardest-hit and often most-overlooked communities around the world while pressing for a just vaccine distribution,” Baird said.
People can give online by using the special form at this page. Gifts made there will be directed to the COVID Relief Fund. Instructions in how to give by check also appear there.
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