The Salvation Army International Emergency Services’ response to the global pandemic is to be commended. Many Salvation Army territories, commands and regions were affected worldwide by the pandemic and needed financial support, so territories such as New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa (NZFTS) were asked if they could respond. While the call to support locally has had a significant and welcomed response, we must not forget about those who globally need our support during this time.
The NZFTS has had a long history with Greece, as participants on our study tours to Greece and Turkey have visited the programme in Athens and Thessaloniki. NZFTS also provides funding for the Refugee Day Centre and the Green Light Project (victims of prostitution and trafficking) projects in Athens.
It is from this existing relationship, that we were asked if we could provide funding for a rapid response project in Thessaloniki, Greece. Without hesitation, NZFTS was able to send US15,000.00 (NZ$23,000.00 approx.).
The Salvation Army in Greece is small, but not insignificant as it works tirelessly with the poor and vulnerable. While Greece responded quickly to the crisis and kept the effects of Covid-19 down, compared with other countries in their vicinity, it is the inequalities and vulnerability of those in poverty who are more at risk.
The Salvation Army Greece identified gaps in services and the shortage of resources for vulnerable people. In consultation with local officials, The Salvation Army was able to identify the need, then store and distribute 300 staple food boxes and 100 baby sanitary boxes (nappies and wipes), with any remaining funds going toward hospital hygiene boxes (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer) for family members of vulnerable patients who needed to visit the hospital.
While Covid-19 has closed New Zealand borders for now, we will keep our financial support for our international development work a priority. The Salvation Army serves in some of the world’s poorest countries, not only to share the gospel, but to be the gospel. The Salvation Army has the privilege to stand in the gaps to make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
If you would like to support our international development work and partner to make a difference then go to https://www.salvationarmy.org.nz/help-us/help-overseas or contact email@example.com. We need your support.
Article photo: on file