Orthodox Initiative and MECC: Food Distribution among Refugees in Jordan
Written by Wafa Goussous*
For the past few weeks, we have been busy at the Orthodox Initiative and the Middle East Council of Churches in Amman, Jordan. As the weather begins to warm, ushering in the spring, and the Season of Lent moves towards Easter, we have been busy working on distributions of food parcels to help ease the suffering of the most vulnerable members of our community- the Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
As the wars in the region expand, more people are faced with the challenges of meeting their daily needs. Many of these people are facing these challenges in their homelands, but many have also fled to neighboring countries, such as Jordan, looking for safety, security, and a chance to find peace.
In the past week, our team has distributed around 350 food parcels to families in need; the majority are Christians fleeing violence in Iraq who have been able to find refuge and support in the Churches around Amman. Our distributions have been partnered with two prominent churches in the capital, The Syrian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Armenian Church. The food parcels meet basic food needs, providing staples to nourish through daily life, such as rice, lentils, oil, sugar, etc. As we are in the heart of the Lent season, these parcels are tailored to meet the fasting needs of the Christians. Every time we have been able to provide a distribution, we are continually amazed to see the amount of need in our communities, and seek ways to provide more.
During our visit to distribute food parcels to the Catholic Armenian Church, we had an opportunity to meet with an elderly woman wearing black who had fled from ISIS in Iraq. She used to live in Mosul, and her husband was killed so she came to Jordan. At this age to be uprooted, however, we were surprised that she made the rosary for the priest to offer as a gift, the rosary was made of candy sewing. During our conversation with her we noticed how positive and full of faith she was and she offered to do any handmade work so she can be financially independent, our office will include her in its very soon projects.
We are moving into a new year, and the violence in the region is expanding. We are working to shift our focus towards long-term development projects, seeking to build capacity and interactions between communities, all while making sure that we can provide for the needs of the most vulnerable members of Jordan, both guests and hosts. We can see gratefulness when we are able to provide food and basic necessities, yet it is always apparent that more is needed. And although we can provide what little we can to make the lives of our guests manageable, there is little that we can do to help them find what they truly seek, an opportunity to return home.
*Wafa Goussous serves as Director of the Orthodox Initiative of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and is liaison staff of the Middle East Council of Churches in Amman, Jordan.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ continue to offer support for the work of many partners in the region to provide humanitarian response to the needs of Syrian refugees. Please consider supporting the work of Global Ministries’ partners’ relief efforts in and around Syria. You can do that through the Week of Compassion (Disciples), One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC), or through Global Ministries directly.