For the folks at St. Andrew’s-Chalmers Presbyterian Church in Uxbridge, Ontario, the COVID-19 pandemic was a call to action.
Several years ago, the congregation received a bequest to use “to do good in the world,” as one member shared. Year after year, the church has faithfully dispensed the interest to meet needs in their local community, support Canada-wide initiatives and make a difference to people living in tough circumstances around the world.
This year, they decided to do even more. “We saw the size of the problem,” remarks John Beattie, one of the session members involved in the suggestion to put a large portion of the bequest toward COVID-19 relief, “so we decided to go big or go home.”
After a unanimous vote to make a gift of $100,000, John tells of how the church researched ways to effectively put the money to work where it was needed most: “We liked the way ACT Alliance goes about it, using in-country religious organizations and vigorously tracking where the money goes—and how it’s doing good.”
Around the world, the effects of COVID-19 are being felt in unique ways. In many developing countries, safe, clean hand-washing facilities and personal protective equipment are not readily available. Further, without robust social support programs from the government, people cannot stay home from work to slow the spread of the virus.
Supported by the generosity of St. Andrew’s-Chalmers and other Canadian Presbyterians, PWS&D is responding through the ACT Alliance to improve access to water and sanitation facilities, help ensure food security and provide psychosocial support for vulnerable people living in Bangladesh, Somalia, South Sudan, and Palestine. “We knew people living in these countries have problems much different than the ones we face here. Those doing the work [through the ACT Alliance] understand the needs of local people, because they are local people.”
Beyond their support of COVID-19 relief, St. Andrew’s-Chalmers also plans to continue helping their local community through Uxbridge Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, which has been providing assistance to community members for over thirty years.
Reflecting on the new connection the church has made to express their care for people around the world through PWS&D and the ACT Alliance, John remarks “we hope that it’s the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.”
To learn more about and support PWS&D’s COVID-19 response, please visit WeRespond.ca/covid-19.