Food Relief Efforts
“I was hungry, and you fed me.” The words of Jesus in Matthew 25 echo in the minds and hearts of those who are touched by the need for food relief in Zambia.
Day after day the people who live in and around Namwianga Mission scan the skies looking for signs of rain. For two years they have seen empty skies as their crops failed. Last year some areas did receive rain, but at the wrong times. Farmers planted and replanted—some as many as three times—only to watch their crops shrivel and die. Now the region is entering its third consecutive year of drought. Authorities estimate that there has been a 60% crop failure this year. Subsistence farmers in rural villages depend on their crops to feed their families, and once again they face the prospect of hunger.
Besides crop production, the drought also affects the country’s unending need for clean drinking water. Communities without wells rely on streams, rivers, and ponds as their water sources, and as these dry up the residents must travel farther and farther to find water—water that is often contaminated. In the driest of times, people resort to digging holes in dry streambeds to collect the muddy water that seeps to the top. At Namwianga, the already limited supply of clean water from wells is often disrupted by power outages, pipeline breaks, and mechanical problems with pumps.
Last year we told our donors about the need to feed the hungry, and the response was immediate and generous. We have already sent $90,000 to purchase 6,500 50-pound sacks of cornmeal, the mainstay of the Zambian diet. Each bag will feed an average family for three weeks. We planted huge drip irrigation gardens at Namwianga and shared produce with those in need.
We also drilled wells at Namwianga and in nearby villages. We worked on a filtration system and a central storage structure to provide a consistent and reliable water supply for the students, orphans, and staff at Namwianga Mission and its surrounding communities. This project is still in progress and needs to be completed as soon as possible.
The news of Namwianga’s concern for the needy has spread far and wide. The poor of Southern Zambia will walk for days to come to Namwianga. They come by the thousands because they have heard that the hungry are being fed. Men and women bring empty pots and jugs with them in hope that there will be something to take home. They bring their own hunger as well as the fear of what hunger does to the old, the weak, and the young. They come for help because there is nowhere else to go.
When those who work at Namwianga provide food and water to the needy, it is always done in the name of Jesus. Those who receive help also hear that Jesus offers Bread and Water from an eternal source that will never dry up or run out. An invitation to follow Jesus accompanies our distribution of food and water.
Once again we are reaching out to you and asking for your financial support. We need to purchase cornmeal, and we need to distribute it in remote areas where roads are rugged. We need to train farmers how to use drip irrigation so that their crops can flourish even in times when rain is scarce. We need to plant and sustain acres and acres of gardens at Namwianga so that we can share produce with the hungry. We need to drill more wells and complete the water storage and distribution projects that are in progress.
Our goal is to raise $125,000 for food relief and water provision as soon as possible. We need your generous support in order to deliver these basics of life in the name of Jesus. As always, your donation is tax deductible, and you will receive the appropriate documentation.
May the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35 be an encouragement as you give generously: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.”