Global Ministries joins in urging Congress to release $75 Million for refugee food assistance through UNRWA

Global Ministries joins in urging Congress to release $75 Million for refugee food assistance through UNRWA

25 major civil society organizations, led by the UNRWA USA National Committee (UNRWA USA) and including Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, have sent a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member James Risch, urging their immediate release of $75 million in food assistance provided in the FY2023 State, Foreign Operations appropriations bill for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, distributed through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). 

Absent these funds, more than 1.2 million people will be left without food assistance as early as mid-September 2023, including hundreds of thousands of innocent children who will be left hungry.

“We are delighted by the strong show of support for UNRWA from across the entire spectrum of civil society actors,” stated Mara Kronenfeld, Executive Director of UNRWA USA. “It is inconceivable the American people, known for their global generosity, would want to see people starve, especially given the fact Congress has already provided the funds to prevent that very thing from happening.” 

Kronenfeld continued, “The situation in the Gaza Strip is already dire following the announcement by the World Food Programme (WFP) of its suspension of food assistance to over 200,000 Palestinians due to a severe lack of funds. A discontinuation of food assistance to Gaza obviously has enormous humanitarian consequences, but we must also consider the regional stability implications that potentially impact both Palestinians and Israelis alike.“

UNRWA food assistance is a critical lifeline for refugees, accounting for 60% of the food staples imported into Gaza every month. The plight of the people of Gaza is well-documented, with the per capita GDP now reaching levels comparable to sub-Saharan Africa and approximately three out of four people in Gaza rely on UNRWA and WFP for more than half of their nutritional needs. 

“Denying food assistance will strip away the last vestiges of hope for people in Gaza who, like all of us, simply yearn for a dignified existence,” concluded Kronenfeld.

Organizations that signed the letter include: UNRWA USA National Committee (UNRWA USA), Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches USA, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Americans for Peace Now, Arab American Institute, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, Islamic Relief USA, J Street, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Mercy Corps, Migrant Roots Media, National Council of Churches, Oxfam America, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness, Reformed Church in America, Refugees International, The Episcopal Church, Virginia Coalition for Human Rights