One of our head pastors in the Indian state of Bihar, Suraj*, summarizes the physical and spiritual impact COVID-19 food relief has had:
“The year of 2020 was very hard on most of the people in the world because of COVID-19, lockdowns, forced migration and financial crisis. Some of the pastors and believers I know got infected with COVID-19, and even died because of lack of proper treatment and vaccines. The churches and even house churches were closed down. In such a year of suffering, with the support of Harvest Bridge, we were able to conduct COVID-19 and flood relief programs. We distributed dry food ration packets and sanitizing items among hundreds of poor, migrant and needy families in Bihar, and were able to alleviate some of their sorrows and bring some relieved smiles to their faces.
The distributions took place in different communities instead of in just one big community, which helped us specifically reach the neediest people. The beneficiaries were migrant workers, the elderly, widows, farmers, and the unemployed. People from all faiths, like Hindus, Muslims, and Christians were helped. About 1,800 people at six different locations received help from these relief projects. About 300 people made a decision to follow Jesus, after receiving the love of Christ shared with them in the form of relief packets and words of encouragement. Because of COVID-19 the churches have been locked down, and so it was difficult to give baptism. Still, around 25 people took baptism, and many others are waiting for the vaccine. Meanwhile, six house churches and some online churches were started.”
This reflects what we’ve seen in all of the countries where we come alongside local ministries. You can read more examples here. And you can read up-to-date prayer requests here. The situation Suraj describes is also what India and our other countries (except Bhutan) are still facing in the Spring and Summer of 2021, with the worst COVID-19 wave yet and re-imposed lockdowns – so the needs are the same.
In 2020, in the face of both COVID-19 food shortages and severe flooding, over 4,280 families – about 21,400 men, women, and children – received between one week and one month’s worth of food and personal protective supplies through distributions led by our local leaders. With your help, they can serve thousands more.
In Myanmar, it costs about $100 to feed a family of five for one month. In Nepal, India and Bangladesh, it’s about $50 per family. So on average, it costs $10-$20 to provide nutritious food to an individual for a full month. This is with all costs included – transportation, storage, safe distribution methods, etc. A gift of $100 can provide life-saving food to between 5 and 10 people. A gift of $1,000 can help between 50-100 men, women, and children.
In Harvest Bridge’s work we have always specifically supported those who have done much with little, who understand and respond to the needs of their communities, and who are committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus in the hardest of circumstances. As with everything we do, we support what the local church is already doing to most effectively reach their own people with the Gospel. In this season, it’s COVID-19 relief. Pastor Suraj’s report bears this out.
The men and women you support didn’t wait for additional funding to spring into action. Even while they struggle themselves, since March 2020 they’ve organized programs to safely get food into the hands of those who most need it. They’ve been quick to identify who is being overlooked in receiving government aid because of racial, caste, or religious biases. They’ve conveyed accurate information from the WHO to their communities, working to educate people as superstition and misinformation run rampant. In a time when travel is vastly restricted and local expertise is essential in addressing urgent needs, Harvest Bridge is optimally positioned to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Your support of any amount makes a major physical and eternal impact in the hands of local leaders who are experienced in disaster relief, who understand their local needs and resources, and who are committed to helping the most vulnerable.
We exist to be a bridge between you – believers in the US – and believers in South Asia. We will continue to share updates directly from our leaders on our website and in our regular emails and social media. In addition, in the case of gifts from churches or individual donations over $5,000, we will send you a more specific update on the use of your funds, which will come directly from our country and regional leaders. We pray that as you choose to give financially, the work of these believers is an example and encouragement for you. See this PDF for an example of a report given after a $20,000 donation.
You can choose to give generally to COVID-19 relief, so that it can be used where it is most needed across our network. Or you can choose a specific country by noting this on your online donation, or by writing it on the memo line of a check. For example, “COVID-19 – Bangladesh”.
You can give below, or send a check to:
P.O. Box 284
Grove City, PA 16127