In these extraordinary times, MCC continues its worldwide work of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.
MCC is well-positioned through its ongoing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and food programs to address the threats of COVID-19 for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Below are a few key areas that remain our international and local priorities during this time of crisis:
Water, sanitation and hygiene
- Locally purchased hygiene supplies will be distributed to displaced people in Lebanon, Syria and Malawi along with food packages that were already scheduled. Hygiene kit shipments are on their way to Jordan, Ukraine and Mozambique.
- To decrease the health risks to partner staff and volunteers who distribute supplies, MCC is providing locally purchased masks and gloves, adding extra handwashing stations at some distribution points and adapting distributions to ensure physical distancing.
- MCC continues to care for the health concerns of the people we serve, for example, for the people of Mubimbi refugee camp and neighbouring Poste Camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). Many people have come to these camps to escape violence from armed groups in their rural home communities. The nurses in an MCC-supported mobile clinic are equipped to help people recover from malaria and other common illnesses. Now they will need to be alert to any signs of coronavirus, so they can refer them for a higher level of care.
- MCC also supports clinics and hospitals in other countries whose primary focus is on primary care, emergency medicine, maternal and child health, and HIV and mental health treatment.
- Health providers like these are on the front line as their communities are also impacted by COVID-19 – not only helping in some cases with prevention and treatment, but also dealing with the rippling health impacts of the pandemic for vulnerable groups.
- Our food security and malnutrition partners around the world are still prioritizing the most vulnerable families so they can access the basic nutrition their bodies need to fight off a new pathogen.
- For example, 250 families living at Mubimbi Camp in DR Congo will continue to need food distributions to supplement the crops they can grow in fields rented for them by MCC’s partner Église du Christ au Congo
- Initial responses in Canada include providing comforters and some emergency food support for Indigenous communities, providing resources for faith communities and individuals about intimate partner abuse and advocating for the release of low-risk offenders from prisons where COVID-19 is likely to spread quickly.
- MCC is also providing information about the pandemic to Low German communities in Canada and internationally through the Mennonitische Post.
Impact on MCC operations
The spread of the coronavirus is forcing MCC to carry out its ministry with less funding, travel and staff in some places. In some countries, such as India and South Africa, where governments have issued nationwide lockdowns, MCC’s work is limited.
MCC is not suspending or ending international staff assignments at this time, but some participants in MCC’s young adult programs – Seed, Serving and Learning Together (SALT), International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) and Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) – have chosen to end their assignments and return home early. MCC is actively helping all personnel who make this decision, as well as those who remain.
Thrift shops and relief sales
MCC Thrift shops in Canada and the U.S. are temporarily shuttered, drying up funding that averaged more than $1.2 million a month in 2019. Ten relief sales have cancelled or postponed sales this spring, events that last year brought in more than $1.7 million.
Read updates about MCC Thrift shops.
Learn more about relief sale and other event cancellations.
Material resources centers
Material resources centers across Canada and the U.S. are closed to the thousands of volunteers who come each week to sew and prepare hygiene kits and other items for shipping overseas. Nevertheless, MCC has a three-month reserve of kits and comforters ready to be sent.
The 2019-2020 meat canning season ended in March instead of April, but with 500,000 cans of meat, enough to meet the requests from MCC’s partners for the next 12 months.