The Salvation Army Responds to Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II

The Salvation Army Responds to Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War IIStaff and volunteers on the ground serving physical, emotional and spiritual needs in Europe
ALEXANDRIA, VA (September 16, 2015) – The Salvation Army is providing food, shelter, medical aid, legal assistance, and emotional and spiritual care to refugees and migrants in 13 European countries. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 360,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the first eight months of 2015, representing more than a 63 percent increase over the yearly total in 2014.

“It’s our ethical and humanitarian responsibility to provide support to individuals and families fleeing their homelands in crisis,” said Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bowers, National Secretary of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO). “In partnership with our International Headquarters and the help of staff and volunteers in local communities, we have been able to meet refugees with compassion and hope.”
With a significant presence throughout Europe, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to provide support to refugees and local residents. Active relief efforts are taking place in Greece, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany and Finland. The Salvation Army also is working to provide support to refugees and migrants in Romania, Russia and the United Kingdom.
In the United States, President Barack Obama has asked his administration to receive additional Syrian refugees. The Salvation Army in the United States is preparing to meet the increased demand on social services. “Our number one priority is to meet human need wherever it exists,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army.
To learn more about our humanitarian effort to support refugees and migrants, or to make a contribution to support our services, please visit sawso.org.
Monetary donations are the most critical need to help refugees and migrants. The Salvation Army has set up a designated fund for relief efforts in Europe. During times of disaster, 100 percent of every dollar donated supports response and relief efforts. To give, visit salar.my/RefugeeGive or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Check donations to Salvation Army World Service Office (designate “Refugees in Europe”) can be sent to:

International Relief Fund 

P.O. Box 418558

Boston, MA 02241-8558
In-kind donations are not being accepted for the refugee crises, however; your local Salvation Army is always in need of gently used items for resale in our Thrift & Family Stores. For the nearest location, please go to satruck.org .

Occasionally, conditions in the field may alter relief activities. If this occurs, The Salvation Army will direct funds to our International relief efforts in the region

Churches – “We’re outsourcing our benevolence funds”…Really?

Is the need that great?
Are churches having trouble “keeping up”?
Why are some churches outsourcing the care of the poor to agencies?
Isn’t there some sort of responsibility that churches ought to have in regards to helping those in need?

It is mind boggling to me when I come across community churches that have outsourced one of its primary functions in as Christians to a created agency to facilitate.   They are happy to funnel their “charity” funds into a created social service office somewhere off of their church buildings.  It almost says to the outside world – we’re interested only in those who can support themselves but we don’t want the riffraff of society  in our beautiful buildings.

The Benefit of the doubt: church1
Granted, there are always new legalities and policies within cities taking place which makes it difficult for some churches to serve the needy.

Secondly, some churches do not have the budgets for staffing full time social service employees to facilitate this need.

Thirdly, storage and distribution space.

changeBut…
(and it’s a big one) does this mean ONLY parishioners/members of that church can have access to services?
The danger in this kind of model of social distribution of services (and it really does exist) is that support for individuals in need is managed in a discriminatory fashion.  If you do not belong to the “club” you cannot receive help…”but here are a list of food pantries in the area that we can direct you to.”  That’s all well and good but don’t you think the message it is sending is “you don’t belong here, please go somewhere else…Members only!”?

Outsourcing:
The only kind of outsourcing Jesus did was delegating responsibilities to his disciples.
It was for their education as disciples.
It was to help them and to grow as future leaders.
Jesus didn’t send people on their way to the temple administrators.
He didn’t tell some “I can’t heal you because you aren’t a member”

Why do some churches take this path?
Does it deviate from the true purpose of “Church”?
Does it seem to send a message of “We care, but not in our backyard“?

I ponder these things today with open questions because honestly I don’t have the answers.
I just see that certain churches have become pretentious in appearances and treat benevolence like a blight or an annoyance that they deal with once or twice a year with a collection.

Is this not important?
Are we not to care for the orphans, widows and poor?
Has it become beneath the modern American church?
If that person isn’t a member is there any help that we can give them?

Something more to ponder today.

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