Ontario Baling Days 2017

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Photo: CLWR/J.Ardon

From April 24-25, 2017, the Lutheran churches of Ontario are invited to gather in Wallenstein to rally in support of children and families in need. Ontario Baling Days is a highlight on the We Care calendar, and we are pleased to extend an invitation to everyone in Ontario who would like to become involved.

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We Care shipment departs for Angola

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Angolan refugees like Antonio are preparing to return to their homeland after decades living abroad. Photo: UNHCR/B.Sokol.

On July 29, the third We Care shipment of the year was dispatched from CLWR’s Winnipeg warehouse to the Republic of Angola, our first shipment to the southern African nation in over a decade.

Beginning with the Angolan War of Independence, and the subsequent civil war, an estimated 550,000 Angolans fled the country to escape widespread violence. After a decade of peace, many are now returning. It is an exciting time, but also a struggle for communities with limited resources that can be quickly overwhelmed.

Thanks to your hard work and generosity, 6,174 quilts and 6,344 We Care kits are now on their way to support thousands of families returning to their homeland, some after 50 years in exile.  It is a tremendous expression of Canadian compassion and generosity to help communities moving towards a brighter future.

Supporting people affected by Ebola

On April 16, we sent a We Care aid shipment to Liberia to help survivors, healthcare workers and other people affected by the Ebola outbreak.

This is thanks to your support. Lutherans from across Canada donated all the items in the shipment, which included handmade quilts and blankets, clothing, school supplies, hygiene kits and baby supplies like diapers.

There is a great need for basic living items following the outbreak. Children have been orphaned and families have been left without breadwinners. Many survivors have been left with very little, and many are dealing with complications from the virus, including paralysis and vision and hearing loss, that have affected their ability to work. Many have been shunned by their communities and had their homes and belongings burned in attempts to prevent the spread of Ebola.

“The challenges Ebola survivors face are beyond what many of us can imagine. We knew we had to help,” says Patrick Stewart, CLWR’s We Care program coordinator. “Although there is a long road of recovery ahead, we hope that these items can meet some basic needs now as survivors work to rebuild their lives.”

The aid shipment will be received and distributed to those who need it by one of our partners: the Lutheran Development Service in Liberia. Through your financial donations, we’ve also supported the delivery of medicines and medical supplies to treat Ebola patients, and information sessions that educate affected communities about Ebola, proper treatment of the virus and how to prevent it from spreading.

The shipment got some coverage in the Winnipeg Free Press as well. Read it here: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Local-volunteers-send-care-package-to-Liberia-in-wake-of-Ebola-outbreak-300203161.html?hc_location=ufi

Photo: Women show how they are educating people on preventing the spread of Ebola: a song with gestures that demonstrate good hand-washing technique. Photo by ACT Alliance/FinnChurchAid/Leena Lindqvist

Photo: Women show how they are educating people on preventing the spread of Ebola: a song with gestures that demonstrate good hand-washing technique. Photo by ACT Alliance/FinnChurchAid/Leena Lindqvist

Sending essential supplies to South Sudanese refugees

A child arrives at Kakuma. Photo courtesy of Lutheran World Federation.

A child arrives at Kakuma. Photo courtesy of Lutheran World Federation.

Our Road to Kakuma shipment will soon be on its way, thanks to the support of Canadian Lutherans across the country. See below for a media release about the shipment’s departure:

Volunteers and staff members from Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) are sending supplies to refugees in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.

The shipping container will be loaded Wednesday, July 16, from 8 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. at 549 King Edward Street (CLWR’s Winnipeg warehouse).

The supplies are urgently needed. South Sudan’s crisis is swelling refugee camps like Kakuma beyond their normal capacity, and humanitarian agencies are struggling to provide services to everyone. The crisis has put nearly five million people in desperate need of aid.

“The people I met in Kakuma have gone through so much, and they continue to struggle,” says Heather Pryse, project officer for CLWR, who visited Kakuma in May. “But they are strong and resourceful and they are working hard to make the best of this tragic situation.”

The shipment contains essential items like blankets, diapers and clothing. About 2500 kits containing school supplies, toys, soap and toothpaste will support the education and well-being of children. Over 65 per cent of the new arrivals are under the age of 18, and a shocking number of these kids – about one quarter – come without any adult guardians and are in need of care.

Lutherans from across Canada have donated all supplies and part of the transportation costs. A “Road to Kakuma” fundraising campaign allowed donors to sponsor the shipment’s overland route, from the port at Mombasa, Kenya, to the camp about 1,300 kilometres away.

“We are so grateful for our supporters,” says Patrick Stewart, We Care program coordinator for CLWR. “They step up when there is need in the world and the aid we provide wouldn’t be possible without them.”

BC baling days: mission accomplished!

Volunteers from BC Lutheran congregations gathered at the warehouse to help get the CLWR aid shipment to Tanzania ready.

Volunteers from BC Lutheran congregations gathered at the warehouse to help get the CLWR aid shipment to Tanzania ready.

On behalf of Canadian Lutheran World Relief I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the many people and churches that made BC Baling Days 2013 a profound success. Thank you to the quilters, the kit assemblers, the drivers, the warehouse volunteers, those that generously made a financial contribution towards shipping costs, and the Mennonite Central Committee for once again being excellent hosts and partners at their facility.

In all, 13,017 lbs of humanitarian aid was loaded into our container, which will reach Tanzania later this summer. Included were:

2,007   Quilts & Blankets

696    Baby Bundles

712    Assorted Kits

A special thanks to our new friends at the Compassionate Resource Warehouse (Victoria) for donating an amazing assortment of tools, clothes, toys and other supplies. We hope that they will be a big part of the We Care program’s future.

Patrick Stewart

CLWR We Care Program Coordinator