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Right now SNAP is an entitlement program, which means that qualified people can access the program at all times. Additionally, under a block grant, Governor Perry could decide to shift funds away from food assistance and use it for other things, like say, that gaping hole in the Texas budget.
2.Will SNAP be unavailable then to families that would have qualified before, or will SNAP eligible people get less benefits? We looked at the most recent data available at the HHSC website, March 2011 SNAP enrollment data for our 21 county service territory.
When benefits are reduced, meals go missing, or will need to be replaced by an alternate source such as the Food Bank. Feeding America recently developed estimates for the average cost of a meal for different states as part of their Map the Meal Gap calculator. Under any scenario, these cuts could devastate families’ abilities to properly feed and nourish themselves, create a new surge at food pantries and soup kitchens already struggling to provide nourishment to their existing clientele, and tax an ill-equipped and under funded state agency to respond to the need. How will these parents financially support unplanned child care and keep their children well nourished for two weeks?
Disasters, from hurricanes to pandemics, interrupt employment and sever access to human service programs. The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) provides replacement benefits for SNAP recipients during disaster. While D-SNAP has a proven track record of effective relief after hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters, the program needs improved flexibility so it can respond appropriately during a pandemic.
When disaster strikes, we are prepared to respond with food assistance and emergency supplies. We put an Influenza A H1N1 (Swine Flu) disaster plan in place in order to respond to the needs of our Partner Agencies, clients, volunteers and employees. An internal action plan for CAFB to function at a disaster response level with fewer staff and minimal access to volunteers. Additional food, water and supplies have been ordered to supplement the disaster relief supplies in our warehouse.
In the event that one-third of our Partner Agencies (food pantries, soup kitchens across Central Texas) is closed because of illness, CAFB will begin direct distribution from its warehouse at 8201 South Congress Avenue. Internal personal care protocols are upgraded to ensure a safe workspace and inhibit the spread of flu virus at our location. CAFB senior staff are prepared to instruct employees to work from home to maintain operations, if needed.
CAFB will maintain open lines of communication with Central Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), Texas Food Bank Network and Feeding America to coordinate needs and response.
The Capital Area Food Bank not only provides food, we also provide manpower to our sister food banks. Trees were snapped like twigs, on top of homes, and there was water damage and debris everywhere. During my stay, I helped the New Orleans Food Bank organize food and supplies and worked to distribute emergency packages as needed. THANK YOU – We graciously thank all of the community members who donated their time and money to our Hurricane Ike relief efforts.
Dozens who volunteered for the first time at CAFB last week, including Dorothy Galloway who is living in Austin with her son until her home in Houston has electricity again.
We would not be able to serve thousands of evacuees without the help of our volunteers, and equally as important are those who gave monetary contributions. This week, we will send up to seven (7) tractor-trailers of food and supplies to the Houston Food Bank and Montgomery County Food Bank.  Each truck holds about 42,000 pounds.
CAFB Warehouse Lead, Ryan Toups, is at the Houston Food Bank this week, assisting with shipping and receiving.
MOST NEEDED: Canned meats and soups with pop-top lids, and diapers (adult and baby), Granola bars, Peanut butter, Personal care items (shampoo, toothbrushes, soap, feminine hygiene). EXTENDED: Emergency food packages are available at the Food Bank for evacuees staying in Central Texas. After Saturday, evacuees can receive emergency food packages from CAFB Partner Agencies throughout Central Texas. MOST NEEDED: Canned meats with pop-top lids, diapers (adult and baby), granola bars, peanut butter, personal care items including shampoo, toothbrushes, soap and feminine hygiene products. They wanted to assist the local area evacuees and researched online, came across our blog and contacted us. They donated almost 20,000 pounds of emergency items, including items we needed that weren’t on the list. With your help, we raised approximately 138,000 pounds of food and supplies and $65,000 in financial contributions. In addition to the donations, we met David Zurovetz, a resident of Austin for 39 years who supports the community with enthusiasm and flare. This benefit will allow you to purchase groceries for your family, as well as hot, ready-to-eat food. Thanks to the many donations on our website and at the Food Bank, about 2,500 food packages have been distributed so far, and we were able to quickly purchase additional food with the money donated over the past few days for our upcoming distributions.
Special thanks to Whole Foods Southwest Distribution for donating a tractor trailer load of water (40,920 lbs).
In addition to supporting evacuees in Austin, the Food Bank answered the Brazos Valley Food Bank’s call for assistance.
Miguel Barthe, a Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, and Food Bank driver, volunteered to support the New Orleans Food Bank for the upcoming week. On Wednesday September 17, H-E-B on Parmer Lane at IH-35 will host a food drive from 7 a.m. More than 1,600 Hurricane Ike evacuees not staying at local shelters made their way to the Capital Area Food Bank on Monday to pick up emergency food boxes.
Buxton’s boss already told him to file for unemployment, since there is no way to know when the flower store will have regular business again. Many Hurricane Ike evacuees are fortunate to have loved ones house them and offer moral support.
Jeannette Britnell, a retiree from Orange, found out about CAFB’s emergency food boxes when she and her family went looking for help at an Austin area Goodwill.
Kim Denney and her thirteen year old daughter, Tera, evacuated from Lumberton to stay at a motel in the small town of Giddings, Texas.
Everyday survival may still be a struggle for evacuees for some time, even after they can return home.
Resuming Tuesday at noon, emergency food boxes are available at the Food Bank for evacuees not staying at shelters (staying with family, friends, or otherwise). When checked, Shutterstock's safe search screens restricted content and excludes it from your search results. Category: Disaster ReliefStories from fieldworkers providing disaster relief and the individuals effected.
A World Concern staff member measures Baby Adey's tiny arm to determine her level of malnourishment. Baby Adey’s mother must have felt desperate as she lay sick and bedridden in her home in Garissa—an area of Northeastern Kenya badly affected by the Horn of Africa drought. Our health workers in Garissa—where one in three infants is underweight—discovered Adey and her mother during a visit to their home.
World Concern staff transported Adey and her mother to the hospital, where the baby received antibiotics, fluids and emergency nutrition. Little Adey gained almost four pounds in three weeks after receiving medical care and emergency feeding at a local hospital.
Three weeks later, a much happier, healthier baby Adey was discharged from the hospital weighing 8 lbs.
Receiving Baby Adey’s story in my inbox reminded me that the crisis in the Horn of Africa is not over.
At the time of the UN declaration, there were still 9 million people in need of aid in the Horn of Africa. World Concern helps protect children and empower people living in poverty to improve their lives, and protect themselves from becoming victims of injustice.
Help transform a village in South Sudan by providing education, job skills, food security, clean water and better health to the families living there. Join Women of Purpose, a group that equips you to advocate for child protection and supports programs through monthly giving that provide vulnerable women and children opportunities to overcome the factors that put them at risk. World Concern is expanding its drought response in the Horn of Africa into several new communities near the Kenya-Somalia border, reaching a larger number of displaced, hungry families and refugees who often travel through or settle in these towns.
Habon Farah and her 9-month-old twins fled their hometown in southern Somalia because of drought and famine.
Among those we’ve helped is 23-year-old Habon Farah, a mother of 9-month-old twins who fled her hometown of Jilib, Somalia, and traveled on foot 155 miles to Dhobley. With support from donors, we’re able to expand our response in the Horn of Africa and reach more families like Habon’s. We at World Concern feel a special calling to help those in the poorest, least developed and often hardest to reach places in the world. The desolate road to the Somalia border -- one of the places we go to reach people in need.
We saw an unmet need and made the decision to support these communities – with food, access to water, medical care and emergency supplies. Muddy roads, like this one in Laos, make some of the villages we serve inaccessible by vehicle. Some of the villages where we serve in Laos are cut off from society because of rain, mud, rivers and damaged roads.
Loueze Berlien proudly shows visitors around her one-room 12-by-12-foot transitional shelter she received from World Concern.
The initial recovery that takes place in the months following a disaster is often dramatic. 1.5 million people were left homeless in a country with an already strained infrastructure.
Immediately following the earthquake, people needed tools to survive – water, food, first aid, shelter. World Concern hired local workers to repair more than 2,500 damaged homes so families could move back in.
We put people to work, clearing rubble, and paid them cash so they could feed their families.
And we built and repaired homes – more than 3,000 of them – like the one Loueze is living in now.
Good sleep protects our health, boosts our immune system, and helps our bodies and brains restore themselves. They have no doors to lock, and a plastic tarp offers no protection from potential intruders.
During an interview last summer, a South Sudanese widow named Rebecca told us she is haunted by memories of hiding in the bush at night with her children when their village was attacked.
A little boy sleeps on his mother's lap as she rests on the long walk from Somalia to refugee camps in Kenya. In Somalia, families fleeing violence and famine travel by foot for weeks in search of food and water. Those who have survived a sudden disaster, like the earthquake in Haiti, often sleep lightly with one eye on the door and are jolted awake by the slightest sensation of shaking. Tonight, when you crawl into bed, take a moment to thank God for the gift of a good night’s sleep and say a prayer for those who don’t have this. This set of photos and stories, sent by our staff in Somaliland (northern Somalia), really affected me. While talking with Khadra, our staff learned her husband is mentally ill, suffering from psychosis. Arale (below, right) is a disabled father of four who migrated to Garadag after losing his herds to drought. World Concern is helping these families, and thousands of others, initially by trucking water into drought-affected communities in this region and distributing emergency food.
Long-term, we’re building berkads (semi-underground water reservoirs) and digging new wells – 36 of them in the coming months!
Somaliland is slightly more politically stable and has experienced more peace than the rest of Somalia, having declared its independence in 1991.

A foul smell emanates from dark, stagnant floodwaters in many parts of Thailand as evacuation orders continue in Bangkok. By supporting Christian Volunteers Serving in Thailand (CVSI), World Concern has been able to respond quickly, evacuating families and distributing food, medical supplies and survival kits to remote areas – some of which have received no help from government or aid organizations. Volunteers discovered families who had been unable to leave their homes because those offering boats for evacuation were charging inflated, illegal rates just to take families to the main road. True to our commitment to serve the unreached and those in greatest need, we helped evacuate and feed isolated families from these areas, including an apartment complex of immigrants who had recently moved to Bangkok to work. Our Disaster Lifeline fund enables us to be able to respond to disasters in areas where we work, quickly and efficiently, reaching people with life-saving assistance. Unfortunately, there’s less and less coverage of the ongoing famine crisis in the Horn of Africa. But amidst the news articles about the dangers and challenges faced by aid organizations trying to reach these people, we’ve been blessed with some excellent exposure in the New York Times today and last week.
Of all the ways to have our work recognized, we’re most appreciative when the focus is on the solution. Muddy roads are just one of many hindrances to delivering humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa right now. This is not to say our staff isn’t facing the same challenges many aid organizations are facing in the Horn of Africa, including insecurity and conflict, limited access and resources, and even … mud (pictured here). Within a week of a recent attack on the town of Dhobley, Somalia, we were back, distributing vouchers so the neediest families could purchase food and emergency supplies. We know it is only because of God’s grace that we’ve been able to help in areas with limited access. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. According to United Nations, more than $22 million has been pledged across the globe to aid Nepal a€” a far cry from the estimated $415 million needed to help the country recover.
Nepalese villagers wait to receive food being distributed on the outskirts of Kathmandu Wednesday. Millions of dollars are flowing into Nepal to help with the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake, but in the digital age, international aid organizations must compete with crowdfunders for your donations.
According to United Nations, more than $22 million has been pledged across the globe to aid Nepal — a far cry from the estimated $415 million needed to help the country recover. More than a quarter of the estimated need is earmarked for food security, as the earthquake has damaged not only crops, but the roads and runways used to transport food. Large aid organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF and the Humanitarian Coalition have traditionally been the collectors and distributors of aid when a natural disaster strikes. But at a time when anything from an album release to a funeral can be crowdfunded, it’s easy for small groups or even individuals to become players in the foreign aid game. On GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website for charities, 244 online campaigns have helped raise more than $1 million for Nepal.
But on its website, GoFundMe said that it cannot keep track of every campaign’s claims and verify their authenticity. When a natural disaster strikes, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) tracks contributions from governments and international aid organizations like the Red Cross so that it can organize the flow of money into the region. Small organizations and individuals don’t go through OCHA, which means that money may be going to a project that is overfunded while another area is desperately in need. New drone video offers a unique bird's eye perspective of the devastation left by Saturday's earthquake in Nepal. Aid can be blocked when there aren’t enough people on the ground to deliver the supplies, or when a natural disaster has damaged airports or bridges, making it difficult to actually deliver the goods. During the Haiti earthquake, a small organization based out of the United States sent in yoga mats. When the Philippines typhoon hit, Dagher said, a Canadian organization sent high heels to boost women’s confidence following the disaster.
Even when everything is done right, Dagher said some aid money often goes unspent, because by the time supplies can be delivered to the scene, the region’s needs have shifted. Dagher said Canadians should look for organizations that have people already on the ground in Nepal, have disaster relief experience and are co-ordinated by OCHA, like the Red Cross, UNICEF, Humanitarian Coalition, World Vision and others. Stephane Michaud, the chief operations officer for the Canadian Red Cross, said most of the money donated to the Canadian organization goes directly to the Nepal Red Cross.
Born in a remote coastal village in southern India, Amma first began to embrace the people in her village as a way to ease their suffering.
Best known for her embrace, Amma also oversees an award-winning network of international charities. Amma has completed programs in San Ramon, CA and Detroit, MI which were held from Nov 14th, 2015 thru Nov 24th, 2015. Everyone is always welcome: one-day visiting tourists, longer term visitors or serious spiritual seekers. Details of satsang programs conducted by Amma's monastic disciples in various cities in the Americas.
Amritapuri is located in the picturesque village of Vallikavu, in the southern Indian State of Kerala. Embracing the World was the leading provider of relief for tsunami survivors in India, providing more than $46 million worth of relief. In 2011, we provided on-the-ground support for refugees in Japan, as well as $1 million to sponsor the education of orphaned children there. In 2010, in response to the Haiti earthquake, we sent several shipments of emergency supplies, and provided food and scholarships for children. Due to the incessant heavy rains, many low lying areas of Chennai city got inundated on the late night of 1st December. In the wake of the colossal loss and damages due to the unprecedented rains in Chennai and parts of Tamil Nadu, ETW donated INR 50 Million ($749,000 USD) towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for relief and rehabilitation activities.
As directed by Amma, ETW volunteers have been actively participating in the relief work from the last week of November. A Telemedicine van, two fully equipped ambulances which includes a cardiac unit, an emergency unit, a testing unit to detect epidemic diseases in two minutes, colour ultra sonography, X-ray radiography, mini operation theater, small delivery room, electro-cardiography and light microscopy  along with a 25-member team of doctors and paramedics from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences reached Chennai today and plunged into service of providing medical help. Related Links - Chennai Relief Efforts, Update on Relief Efforts, ETW donates INR 50M towards Chennai Flood Relief Efforts. A powerful earthquake shook Nepal on Saturday, April 25, 2015, near its capital, Katmandu, killing more than 1,900 people, flattening sections of the city’s historic center, and trapping dozens of sightseers in a 200-foot watchtower that came crashing down into a pile of bricks. In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Nepal the ETW (Mata Amritanandamayi Mat in India) was also there and came forward with an offer to help. Additionally Amma also arranged for 1,00,000 Toxicoid Tetanus Vaccines and 1,00,000 ATT Vaccines to prevent and treat post-disaster infections.Apart from the vaccine, the ETW has donated two tons of essential medicines and surgical items to the Bir Hospital, the biggest Govt. After devastating floods swept through the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Embracing the World responded immediately, sending volunteers to the affected area to provide essential aid and to assess with local government officials the best way our efforts can support survivors of the floods. Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, was one of strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastating Philippines in early November 2013. Amma on behalf of Embracing the World, pledged a million dollar USD relief and rehabilitation package for the people of Philippines. Embracing the World launched an eight million dollar relief-and-rehabilitation program to help victims of the Kedarnath flash-flooding and landslides in June.
More doctors, nurses, techs and other volunteers soon joined the team, and an ambulance and telemedicine van were sent from AIMS ( ETW's super-specialty hospital in Kochi, Kerala.) ETW volunteers provided free medical consultations and medicine to approximately 8,000 people in the disaster-stuck area from July 1 – 20.
Aside from this basecamp, the ETW volunteers also travelled to a number of other villages to provide medical care, including Siddha Saur, Rudraprayag, Devli, Lambgondi, Andrewadi, Triyuginarayan, Toshi, Basukedar, Chandrapuri and Laksar. Through this relief-and-rehabilitation package, ETW will build approximately 500 houses, the sum total of all the homes destroyed by the flooding.
Related Links - ETW pledges $8M towards Flood Relief Efforts, Japanese students help with rehabilitation, Japanese volunteers continue to help.
Within three days, our volunteers were on the ground distributing food and water for the refugees. After the catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, we shipped 11 palettes of medical supplies to Haiti, where they were received by Partners In Health. In 2009, the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were ravaged by unprecedented floods, destroying millions of acres of crops and displacing 2.5 million people. In 2008, one million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi River over- flowed its banks.
Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, more than 100 Embracing the World service groups throughout North America responded by delivering food, clothing, school supplies and other essential items to the refugees. The relief and rehabilitation work conducted by Embracing the World in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami stands today as one of the most multi-faceted, comprehensive and sustained disaster-relief projects ever undertaken by a nongovernmental organization. Amma personally helped hundreds of children who survived the 2004 tsunami to overcome their fear of water.
The unit is the size of a city bus, and brings sophisticated medical care to disaster-affected areas. We built an evacuation bridge allowing 15,000 people to evacuate in 30 minutes, in the event of a tsunami. We donated $1 million for the education of children orphaned by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
We provided scholarships for 30 children who had dropped out of school after the Haiti Earthquake. Doctors from AIMS, our tertiary hospital in Kochi, Kerala, rush to respond to natural disasters across India. In 2005, as part of our Katrina Relief effort, we donated $1 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Just prior to that recess, the House passed HCR 34, Chairman Ryan’s budget bill, which makes an 18 percent cut to the SNAP program (previously known as food stamps). Pandemic flu preparation and response methods, such as stockpiling food and water, pose a significant hardship for those struggling to have the basic necessities each day.  While pandemic flu does not discriminate, low-income people are particularly vulnerable in the event of an outbreak.
Eligibility criteria are broadened, and a streamlined application and issuance process extends benefits to households that would not ordinarily be eligible for SNAP. Government and nonprofits will also need to work collaboratively and creatively to ensure we can meet the need.  The Capital Area Food Bank has been in contact with legislative representatives to address those concerns and offer suggestions to ensure food security in the case of a pandemic flu outbreak. As humbling of an experience it is to participate in disaster response here in Austin, I could not help but think of the many poor who were forgotten and disregarded.  Our shared responsibility to nourish the hungry is even greater in moments of crisis.
Miguel Barthe, CAFB driver, helped The New Orleans Food Bank serve western parishes of Louisiana affected by Hurricane Ike. As I got into Houston I couldn’t help but notice the forces of nature and the devastation from Houston and all the way to New Orleans. On Friday, Galloway filed papers, folded newsletters and helped the Food Bank staff with various projects. Cliff Wilkes has sorted food donations once a week in the CAFB warehouse since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
CAFB driver, Miguel Barthe is helping the New Orleans Food Bank serve western parishes of Louisiana, which were impacted by both Gustav and Ike. We are working closely with our Partner Agencies to make sure they are stocked to meet the demand.
In response to disaster relief they have also donated truck loads of emergency food to affected Texas Food Banks including an additional truck to us. Whole Foods volunteered to continue collecting food at their downtown store since last week’s HAM-up Grill up. Miguel, who has not been back to New Orleans since the Katrina evacuation three years ago, looks forward to reuniting with his hometown.
Evacuees may not be able to return to their homes for another 4 to 6 weeks, and many have already run out of money to provide for themselves while they temporarily stay with relatives or friends. He learned about the emergency food boxes on News 8 and was grateful to receive the food that will provide for himself, his girlfriend and her two children in the days to come. But many of the evacuees expressed sentiments of not wanting to impose on their Austin relatives who may have limited resources. Britnell says she doesn’t know what condition her house is in, or even when she can return home. They drove an hour west to Austin this morning because they heard about the assistance CAFB was offering people. Her mom, who was also malnourished, was treated for her illness and given nutritionally fortified porridge.

If you’ve been feeling led to help the poor and oppressed, here are some simple ways you can take action.
This event supports programs that teach children and women to protect themselves and offer opportunities to be educated and earn income safely. We’re providing vouchers for emergency food, supplies and access to water through repaired wells, rehabilitated water pans and construction of rainwater catchment systems in these unreached communities.
3, 2012 that official famine conditions have ended in Somalia, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says there are still 9.5 million people in need throughout the Horn of Africa.
The most practical place to help would have probably been the refugee camps in eastern Kenya. Since August, we’ve fed thousands of people, many who had been walking for weeks in search of assistance. The self-help world tells us that taking care of our own needs first is as important as on our own oxygen mask on an airplane before assisting others. It’s simple, she admits, but it’s much safer and far more comfortable than the tent on her cousin’s property she’s been living in since the earthquake. She escaped with only minor injuries from falling debris, but her husband Patrick did not survive. She has hung curtains and decorations inside, and framed pictures of family are displayed on her night stand. Although the progress in Haiti since the devastating earthquake two years ago has been challenging, it is, nonetheless, remarkable. Having worked in Haiti for more than 30 years, and with a warehouse full of emergency supplies, World Concern was able to help save lives by meeting these immediate needs. Business owners received grants to buy equipment and inventory to restart their businesses.
Most of us live in places where we can lock our doors at night and sleep in relative peace without fear of harm.  It’s a blessing we often take for granted. Visitors are invited to step inside tents and shelters that serve as homes for people in places like Haiti and Uganda. I doubt I’ll ever get to the point where photos like these don’t disturb me, but I will say there are fewer that shake me up inside – mostly because I know we’re doing something to help. They were taken during an assessment of drought-affected communities to determine the needs of people there. It shows Khadra, a young mother of three from the Sanaag region outside her small hut fashioned from sticks, plastic and pieces of fabric. Khadra said that she feels she has no alternative other than to tie him to their hut so he won’t wander away. He and his children live in this makeshift home in a drought-affected region of Somaliland. You can see they’ve tried to use scraps of trash, or whatever they can find to create some sort of shelter, but it’s no match for the searing daytime sun or cold desert nights.
Their only source of income is to send their children to look for animals owned by other families, for which the children earn a small daily wage.
Families also receive plastic tarps for shelter, jerrycans, mosquito nets and cooking pots. Another way we’re helping is providing people with the tools and knowledge to grow vegetables and improve nutrition through kitchen gardens.
Flooding has affected 64 of Thailand’s 77 provinces, caused by 40 percent more rain than average. We provided 6,000 hot meals, as well as survival kits containing rice, sweet potatoes, infant formula, basic medicine and other necessities to more than 1,000 people.
Our innovative use of vouchers was highlighted in a column called “Fixes,” which looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.
Families are able to purchase specific food items (beans, rice, oil, salt and sugar) – enough to last them several weeks. In drought-affected communities, we’re using existing resources to bring clean water to people.
When looking for places to donate, Canadians should look for organizations that have people already on the ground in Nepal and have disaster relief expertise, experts say. The UN works with experienced organizations that have people already on the ground who can help deliver the aid, and have a track record of success. But instead of providing a bed for people sleeping outside, Dagher said, it took food out of people’s mouths. Water from the overflowing Adyar river submerged the houses in the adjacent areas, to the extent of about one kilometer on either side of the river. Starting December 1st, around 500 volunteers comprising of students & faculties have been involved in relief activities including rescuing the stranded to safer places, distribution of food, medicines, essential provisions, utensils, stove, clothes, blankets, toiletries and other essentials in badly affected areas. Amma immediately sent representatives to Nepal to assess the situation and help in whatever way possible. Within weeks of the initial assessment, Amma pledged a $4 million USD relief package that included construction of houses for those displaced by the flood, as well as monetary aid for widows, medical care and essential supplies. In collaboration with the Philippines Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), we have made children’s welfare, safety, and education our top priorities. By July 1 of 2013, a team of volunteers—including doctors, nurses and monastic disciples set up a base camp at Agastya Muni in the Rudraprayag District. After working near the disaster's epicenter, we soon focused on Rikuzentakata, a remote coastal town of 23,000 people where more than a third of the population had lost their lives. We also distributed staple foods to refugees on the ground, and identified 30 children who had lost parents or other close relatives in the disaster and been forced to drop out of school.
In response, we announced a $10.7 million relief package for the flood survivors in both states.
What made our work unique was its holistic nature—every aspect of the tsunami survivors’ lives was considered and improved. Monday, more than 375,000 pounds of food & supplies and $420,000 has been donated by Central Texas.
This week, Wilkes gave Hurricane Ike evacuees emergency food packages and saw the direct impact of volunteering at the Food Bank. Volunteers helped throughout the morning to prepare hundreds of emergency food packages for today’s distribution at the Food Bank and to send to Partner Agencies.
The assurance of receiving a food box, and the news that CAFB was also giving out dog food, allowed her to temporarily relax. Denney and her daughter were grateful to receive “substantial food” and “something other than Ramen noodles” which is what the two have been eating for the past few days. Even if you can’t attend the event, you can start a personal fundraiser and help spread the word.
Although she hopes for a better life for her children, right now, her biggest concern is survival. We seek out places to serve where climate and geography, societal instability and scarce infrastructure create incredible challenges – both to the people living there, and in terms of reaching them with help.
We secretly aim to make sure our own children have enough Christmas presents before giving to others in need. Imagining the discomfort of sleeping on the ground with six people in a tent was troubling, but what disturbed me the most was thinking about the insecurity these families must feel when darkness falls. Families who have received new homes from World Concern are grateful to have doors and windows, they tell us. One of World Concern’s priorities is to reach the most vulnerable first, so the families we help are often headed by females, have sick or disabled members, or are among the poorest of the poor; in this case, in the fifth poorest country in the world.
Most of the recent articles seem to focus on the hopelessness of Somalia, where the greatest number of people are suffering. The system supports the local economy and helps ensure aid ends up in the hands of those who need it most.
We’re enlisting the support and input of community members to find solutions, such as fixing broken wells, de-silting aging water pans and adding pumps to increase the capacity of wells.
There have been many long hours spent stuck in mud puddles, or coming up against water-covered roadways.
While most of the campaigns seem to be in earnest, there is no guarantee that money donated will go where it says it will go. Thus far, this is the single largest supply of ATT vaccine provided by any aid organization since the earthquake struck. By October 6, our tertiary care hospital in Kochi, Amrita Hospital, had sent two telemedicine units equipped with health and relief facilities to the disaster zone. Several initiatives are underway including creating sustainable development programs, rebuilding schools, renovating destroyed classrooms, building typhoon shelters for communities, and enhancing disaster preparedness and responsiveness in schools. Later that year, we donated $1 million to pay for the education of children orphaned by the disaster.
We’re now providing scholarships for those 30 children, and they’re all back in the classroom. Just 20 days after entering into an agreement with the Government of Karnataka to provide new homes for displaced flood survivors there, we had already completed 100 new houses. We also helped the displaced to locate one another via a dedicated website we built for the survivors. In the end, many survivors stated that in terms of their quality of life and economic independence, they were better off after the tragedy than they had been before.
As volunteers and staff prepared for the noon distribution, a line of cars formed through our parking lot all the way to William Cannon and I-35. Blue Whale Moving and Storage company is helping transport donated items to the Food Bank, saving us fuel and transportation costs.
They evacuated from Texas City with a week’s worth of clothes, some water and any dry goods they already had from their pantries. We met her in a crowded tent with about 30 other families and have assisted her with food, water and emergency supplies.
As we assessed the area and the situation, it became clear there was an added strain being put on communities surrounding the camps and near the Somalia border as tens of thousands of displaced people were arriving in these towns. Others have settled in these communities – a better place to start a new life than a refugee camp. But we see this as fulfilling our calling to reach people in desperate need in hard to reach places.
And five million cubic meters of debris have been cleared from narrow streets – most impassible by vehicles.
We’ve worked there for 30 years, enabling us to respond quickly when disasters like drought, war or famine strike. In one Kenyan community along the border that hosts refugees fleeing Somalia, the community paid for half the repairs.
Seeing that the devastation had made many in the villages homeless, Amma arranged for providing tin sheets for roofing – with an aim to serve as temporary shelter, which could later be used as part of their permanent housing too. In order to create the greatest impact, our outreach efforts are not limited to one area, but are occurring throughout 6 major provinces in the Philippines. We also distributed thousands of tents, blankets and tarpaulins along with cooking stoves and vessels, food, clothing and school supplies. Commander Calvin Smith of the SE Area Command sent an officer to assist with traffic as we begin serving evacuees. Although friends of their relatives gave Gutierrez’s family some food, twelve mouths is a lot to feed. They’re all small, but we had to bring them.” The only other items that Britnell was able to fit in the family car were some clothes and her oxygen machine, giving her no choice but to leave everything else behind. A government official there commented about our volunteers, "I wonder if they are even sleeping at night! But what would Jesus say about the idea of “helping our own” before reaching out to others?

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