Since April we have been engaged in emergency food distribution in Pakistan. Jobs are reopening and people are going back to work, so for now, we are concluding this aid. We are providing this summary report for those of you who have been following the story and who have contributed financially or supported the work in prayer. So much depended on you and we thank you, the recipients of food thank you, and our Pakistani teams thank you for your help. The report follows:
Late in March of 2020, the Pakistan government mandated a lockdown/quarantine in most of the country due to COVID-19. This resulted in many jobs being lost, especially for day laborers who were paid at the end of each day they worked. After a few weeks, many people in villages served by the Reach the Nations (RTN) team were desperate for food as they had no resources with which to purchase what was available in local markets. The issue was compounded by the fact that some organizations were distributing food, but only to Muslims. Christians and Hindus were not able to participate.
After reporting from the RTN teams in Pakistan and information gathered from two other organizations we knew who were also serving in Pakistan, the decision was made to provide food for families for a limited period of time, essentially until jobs opened again and they were able to return to work. The neediest families were identified by RTN’s Pakistan team as plans were made for food purchases.
RTN opened a GoFundMe page and, through the generosity of many individuals and churches, enough money was given to support this humanitarian effort.
Food distributions commenced in April in Christian villages in Punjab, Hindu villages in Sindh, and from a central Christian location in Islamabad. We continued those distributions in May and then discontinued them in Islamabad and Sindh as employment opportunities became available. We continued for the month of June (reaching into July) for villages in Punjab as the Coronavirus had spiked there and delayed the reopening of jobs.
Plans were written up covering the purchase, repackaging, and delivery of food to ensure that each family was provided with very basic food for a month with each delivery. Included in the packages were rice, flour, cooking oil, spices, beans, chickpeas, milk (in some cases), toothpaste, and soap. Each package was delivered in the name of Christ, expressing his care for them in providing these gifts through brothers and sisters in America.
In the second month of distribution, RTN included some Muslim families who also were experiencing great need. Again, the food was delivered with a message of God’s care for them.
In the Punjab area, the RTN team was led by Mehboob with his associates Irfan and Adnan. Each month they also recruited seven or eight volunteers to assist in the work of repackaging, loading, and distributing the food. Most of the food in Punjab was delivered directly to the neighborhoods or doorsteps of the various families.
In Sindh, the RTN team included Shakeel and Rustam who also found volunteers to assist their deliveries. Some of the distribution in Sindh was accomplished through the central location of the RTN church in Khairpur. Packages going to more remote areas were delivered directly to the villages by Shakeel and Rustam.
The Islamabad distribution was overseen by Manzoor along with Rashid and associates from United Christian Fellowship. They used a safe and central location at St. Thomas Church in Islamabad, and people who had been identified as in need were invited to come to pick up their packages.
In all cases, the distribution was done with care to protect from the spread of the Coronavirus and in compliance with all governmental requirements for such distributions.
Also, in every case, there were times of prayer, sometimes the sharing of a message from the Bible, and at other times simply expressing concern and care for the struggles many were having.
After each month of distribution, the team leader in each area submitted a detailed reporting of number of families served, costs with receipts, and stories of individual needs and responses. Much gratitude was expressed by the recipients of these basic groceries.
In total, 343 packages (most for an entire month of basic food supplies) were delivered to families ranging in size from 2 to 10. The Gospel was shared. Desperate needs were met. People expressed great thanks. And God's name was praised.
Thank you for being part of this. Please keep praying for the people of Pakistan, especially those who are hearing God's truth from the Reach the Nations' teams.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2