GCHope’s 21st Year of Service
We had just finished unloading boxes of food at a makeshift refugee camp in Lebanon, filled with refugees who had fled Syria, when a little boy stuck out his hand to ask for the empty roll of shipping tape in my hand. I handed it over to him and instantly this circle of trash became a make-believe steering wheel as the young boy drove off on an adventure. It’s these moments of unplanned joy that remind me of what a pleasure it is to be on the frontlines of bringing hope to families in crisis. In 2013-2014, we delivered over $60 million in nutritional food, medical resources and basic need items to those in need both across the street and around the world. Our desire is that each container, pallet, and box of temporary relief supplies become a stepping stone to sustainable hope.
This past year we sent supplies to over a dozen countries. Following Typhoon Haiyan, we immediately responded with shipments of food and air freight deliveries of water purification systems to our network of partners in the Philippines. Since the typhoon struck in November 2013, we have sent a total of 16 containers of supplies. I was able to visit the Philippines and see the impact in these people’s lives while overseeing distributions of the supplies we sent.
Another emergency response that has evolved into a long-term commitment has been the plight of Syrian refugees. Over the last three years we’ve sent 18 40–foot shipping containers of relief supplies to the Middle East for Syrian refugees! I’ve seen first-hand the impact these containers filled with food, clothes, blankets, medical resources and hygiene products has on the families. Their struggle is survival, and these items bring practical hope to their dire situation. Sadly, the Syrian refugee crisis has no end in sight and we remain committed to serving these families.
While the scope of our service is large, our prayer as a staff is that with every project we do and every item we send, we would be aware of the fact that there is a real person in need, like the boy I met in Lebanon, receiving our support. As we begin our 22nd year of service, we thank you for being part of the continuing journey of providing wellness to vulnerable children and families.
Since August, GCHope has prayerfully and strategically worked to support those treating Ebola patients in Liberia. The World Health Organization reports that the virus has tragically taken over 8,000 lives, with 10% of those deaths being health care providers who contracted the virus while treating those with Ebola.
Thus far GCHope’s response team has partnered with four incredible nonprofit partners – Kids Around the World, Africa Mercy Partners, Containers of Hope and Global Med Farm – to get six 40-foot containers with sanitation and other medical supplies to those in need. One container went to a clinic in Paynesville, Monrovia where Dr. Martha Zarway runs a clinic. Zarway described one major difference between living through the Liberian civil war and the Ebola outbreak. “During the war, we could hug each other and give some comfort,” she says. “But now, with Ebola, you have to be careful. You have to stay distance apart.” Two containers were sent with our valued partner, Containers of Hope. The food, clothing, and medical and school supplies in the containers are being distributed by Containers of Hope throughout the county of Bonga and to multiple orphanages in Monrovia, Liberia.
Website Hacked by Cyber Terrorists
One Monday morning in early January, our staff came to work and found the GCHope website had been hacked. No personal or donor information was compromised; all personal information is stored elsewhere for security measures. The hacker group, self-identifying as Syrian rebel sympathizers in Algeria, took over the homepage, turning it into a black screen with the words, “I love ISIS” in red text. GCHope staff immediately took down the site but was able to get it back up and running within a few hours. The FBI says there is no way to know for sure if our website was targeted because of our Syrian refugee relief work or if it was just by chance. GCHope is accepting donations to help us update our website and security to prevent this from happening again.
To donate go to gchope.org/website or mail a check to Giving Children Hope, 8332 Commonwealth Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621.