RICHMOND – The coronavirus has left virtually no country unaffected. Unrelenting and indiscriminate, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the welfare of millions and has wreaked havoc on economic infrastructures worldwide. Countless families have lost work and income, making it next to impossible to acquire adequate food and daily supplies. Even in the world’s hardest-hit corners, the donations, prayers, and support of Southern Baptists have delivered life-saving resources.
Since February the International Mission Board (IMB) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) have been working together to combine compassion ministry efforts in North America and abroad under the umbrella of Send Relief. A report from Send Relief details the actions taken by the ministry partnership in response to the pandemic.
The report showed that as of June, Send Relief and its supporters had completed 56 projects in 16 countries, impacting nearly 90,000 people. These projects reached 848 communities and delivered food assistance to more than 65,000 people. Another 15,900 benefited from clean water provision or hygiene and sanitation training. This includes establishing handwashing stations, providing soap, and teaching how to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
In addition, 4,000 people received health care. This includes the distribution of medication, personal protective equipment, soap, and other hygiene items, as well as instructions on how to use them.
According to the report, these numbers were culled from completed projects and represent just the beginning of the impact Send Relief, through Southern Baptists, will make amid the global crisis.
“We currently have over 300 projects in total that have either been completed or are in process,” the report said. “These projects span 78 countries and will potentially impact 900,000 individuals. While many of the countries in which we work are feeling the impact of this pandemic’s economic fallout, several of our projects focus on food relief. We project the distribution of over 39,000 food boxes or food packages.”
While the spread of the virus has slowed in a few countries, many regions worldwide are suffering from a lack of adequate masks, gowns and other protective equipment. Send Relief is projected to distribute more than 53,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, mostly masks, to different countries around the world. Additionally, the compassion ministry expects to establish 737 hand washing stations in various regions. These will include clean water, soap and instructions for maintaining personal hygiene.
“We plan to distribute over 39,000 items of sanitation supplies to healthcare facilities and communities in need, including soap, disinfectants, and hand sanitizer, among other items. Along with these items, we plan to include educational materials. Currently, we project to distribute and present 2471 hand washing or hygiene educational materials in local languages,” the report said.
“Of course, as necessary as the food and medical care is, there is nothing more eternally significant than sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with all those to whom we come into contact. Every one of our projects is first and foremost one of relationship building, establishing authentic trust and rapport with local villagers and leaders. Through these relationships, we can provide the assistance so desperately needed, and do so reflecting the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
“Every day, the prayers and support of Southern Baptists change lives and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all corners of the earth.”
In North America, Send Relief has worked through its ministry centers and Southern Baptist church partners to distribute tens of thousands of N-95 face masks and protective clothing to medical workers and first responders.
Send Relief has also provided sanitation supplies and more than 250,000 meals across North America during the pandemic. Those COVID relief efforts have extended from the streets of New York City to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, where there are areas with no electricity or running water.