“Generosity extended during such times of crisis and recovery is a testament of hope and God’s unfailing love for His people – through His people.”
These were the words of gratitude from a Christian leader to Barnabas Aid, international aid agency to the suffering Church.
They were in thanks for the relief supplies sent to Christians in Tonga from Barnabas supporters in Australia and New Zealand after the island nation suffered a devastating volcanic eruption, a tsunami and earthquake in January 2022.
Thousands of Tongan Christians were sustained by bottled water, rice and other non-perishable foodstuffs shipped by Barnabas Aid’s new food.gives initiative.
It is just one way in which Barnabas is responding to the growing needs of Christians around the world.
In the 12 months since food.gives was launched in June 2021, the programme has delivered more than 1,000 tonnes of food, blankets, clothing and medical supplies to Christians suffering from food insecurity, conflict and discrimination.
That’s a staggering one million households reached.
food.gives expanded Barnabas’ ministry from sending funds to support global aid projects to also shipping boxes of dry foodstuffs and other goods donated by supporters.
Barnabas’ rapid change of strategy to meet the needs of the suffering Church by sending aid directly has been acknowledged with a recent change of name from “Barnabas Fund” to the more descriptive “Barnabas Aid”.
Hendrik Storm, CEO of the charity, said that the case for direct aid had become increasingly urgent in the face of the global food crisis.
“We couldn’t ignore the food security and financial challenges the world was facing as a result of conflict, Covid and persecution. We had to scale up rapidly.”
Latest figures show that an unprecedented 2.3 billion people globally are facing severe food shortages.
This includes an estimated 335 million facing “acute food insecurity” with nearly 50 million on the brink of famine.
“Food system shocks brought on by extreme weather, pest and disease outbreaks, political and market instability, and conflict are becoming more frequent and severe, putting more people at risk of food insecurity,” explained the World Bank.
The conflict in Ukraine is the main short-term cause of the latest escalation in the global food crisis. This is because exports of other grains, seeds, vegetable oils and much needed fertilisers from both countries have been disrupted.
Barnabas Aid’s food.gives has sent almost 350 tonnes of aid, including food, clothes, medical supplies and even wheelchairs, to help Ukrainian Christians who have either been internally displaced because of the war, or fled to neighbouring countries. Gifts of money for shipping costs and practical aid have come from all around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.
Shipping containers full of food.gives boxes have reached Namibia, Pakistan and Jordan. We’ve also sent deliveries of nutrient-rich porridge ePap to tens of thousands of hungry and malnourished Christians in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mozambique and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), countries which have been ravaged by years of drought.
food.gives is moving into food production, dramatically increasing its ability to provide for suffering Christmas. A food dehydration machine – owned and operated in partnership with a US-based Christian charity – will allow food.gives to prepare surplus and unused food for delivery around the world.
The machine, scheduled to go into operation in December, can produce 525 tonnes of dried food each year.
How you can get involved
It is simple to become part of food.gives. You can order from us a free starter pack with instructions on how to make food.gives donations of dry foodstuff – rice, flour, dried lentils and chickpeas – that food.gives will then ship to those in need.
You can also volunteer to help at food.gives warehouses at East Bendigo, Victoria, and Osborne Park, Western Australia, helping to pack food boxes. Or you could set up a food collection hub at your church.
Visit www.food.gives or phone (08) 8117 8079 to find out more about how you or your church can donate food and other practical aid to support Christians around the world.