CNEWA rushes aid to those most impacted by COVID-19

 Ottawa, June 9, 2020 – CNEWA is rushing emergency aid to its partners in India and Africa to support those in immediate danger of starvation and dehydration and to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in vulnerable areas served by the Eastern Catholic churches, particularly in India’s central and northern states and in Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

“We have sent funds — thanks be to God for our generous and loyal donors — to address the extreme hunger that is now devastating some of the most marginalized populations in the countries we serve,” said CNEWA president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, highlighting as one example in India the work of Syro-Malankara Catholic Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas of Gurgaon, New Delhi.

“From their community kitchen, Mar Barnabas, together with priests, sisters, seminarians and volunteers of his eparchy, are preparing hot meals for up to 1,500 people a day,” he said, adding that the bishop and his team are also preparing food kits for jobless day laborers and their families. “Most of those cared for by the bishop are homeless or migrants and most do not qualify for any benefits from the state.”

CNEWA has also deployed emergency funds to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as face masks, gowns and gloves, as well as soaps, sanitizers and disinfectant supplies.

“Our partners in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Egypt know exactly where these supplies are needed now,” Msgr. Kozar said. “The health care activities of the churches in these countries are broad, ranging from humble medical kits slung over the shoulders of sisters on bikes in Eritrea, to parish dispensaries in Egypt and clinics and modest hospitals in Ethiopia.”

These emergency funds are part of a first phase of CNEWA’s COVID-19 campaign, launched in late April in solidarity with Pope Francis, who has called for Christians not to abandon those most susceptible to the coronavirus — those living on the peripheries, the poorest of the poor.

As part of this historic initiative, CNEWA has partnered with the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches, delegates and nuncios of the Holy See, local church superiors, and religious sisters who serve throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. All funds raised through this effort are directed to COVID-19 relief — helping, in a particular way, families living in poverty, children and the elderly, as well as people with special needs, refugees and the displaced.

“Eastern churches throughout these regions provide essential aid and services, often well beyond one single community or village,” said Carl Hétu, national director of CNEWA Canada. “We’re especially happy to support them during these unstable times and we cannot thank our generous Canadian supporters enough. Each time communities in these regions face hardship, Canadians rise to the occasion to help, regardless of where they might live.”

To make a donation to this campaign, please visit cnewa.ca.

As a registered charity with well established and rigorous donation policies and programs in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Ethiopia, Ukraine and India, CNEWA Canada is able to send money right to the ground – fast. Donations can be made online at cnewa.ca; by phone 1-866-322-4441 or by mail with cheques made payable to CNEWA Canada at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9.  Donations should be marked “COVID-19 fund”. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.

About CNEWA Canada

An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA provides pastoral and humanitarian support to the churches and people of the East.

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For more information, interviews or photos:

Tia Giannone
Torchia Communications
514-999-1732
tia@torchiacom.com

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