Middle East (MNN) — The Syrian refugee crisis is now nearing the 5-year mark, and more than 13 million men, women and children are still displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance.
Food for the Hungry has been engaged in work with the refugees, coming alongside the local Church in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria to provide food, water, and more. Peter Howard, Senior Director for Emergency Response, says partnership’s purpose is to serve all in need. “We’re working with the local church, the local churches, to ensure that those refugees, whether Muslim or Christian or of no belief, are in the name of the compassion of Jesus.”
Additional care is provided through the Food for the Hungry partnership during the harsh months of winter, explains Howard. “In Washington, DC we’ve had a lot of snow this year, and my mind immediately goes to those people in Lebanon who are living in tents, who have to keep pushing the snow off their tents so their tents don’t collapse. They’re doing everything they can to huddle around what little stoves they might have to stay warm and to keep themselves fed. So we’ve been trying to get blankets, mattresses, warm clothing. Then a big thing is fuel for the stoves, little cook stoves that can be used safely inside of the shelters.”
Howard shares that the priority of Food for the Hungry is to take a behind-the-scenes service role in its care of refugees. Their goal is to empower the local churches to be the hands and feet of Jesus to their neighbors. “Then we can stand behind them both in prayer and financial support, and even capacity or technical support as they reach out and serve, bringing much-needed food and other items. We serve people, and the local church serves people because that’s what Jesus asked us to do–particularly the most vulnerable who need it now.”
Howard offers a practical way to remember to pray for those in the Middle East. “I think anytime we ourselves confront an inconvenience or frustration or challenge, like if it snows and the electricity goes out, I think we can use those opportunities to think of our Syrian brothers and sisters and pray for them.”