By Nick Carnill, ER Africa Staff
For three months during the COIVD-19 crisis in South Africa, ER staff members have distributed emergency food, books and supplies to families in great need in local communities. Nick Carnill shares a story that shows how one hungry family loves its neighbors, demonstrating how good deeds can inspire faith and sacrifice in others.
Recently, I went to the nearby settlement of Masiphumelele to visit one of our Fish Hoek Dream Center families. I had been invited by the family to surprise Mila* for her eleventh birthday. Mila is a fifth grader who has attended the Dream Center after-school program since we opened in 2016.
After we celebrated with the family, I spoke with her Dad, a mechanic, for a while. I have only ever spoken with him in passing. He shared how the food distributions – rice, oil, apples, porridge, sugar, bread – have impacted his family.
“I don’t know how we can ever thank you. We appreciate the help so much. We would have never guessed we would have gotten all the food from ER. We did not know how we were going to survive each week, but you made it possible.”
Both parents had not been able to work since our lockdown began and didn’t know how they were going to make it with no income and no savings.
After talking a bit more, he shared that on week 4, while his family was receiving that week’s emergency food, a woman asked him for help. He didn’t want to give her food without making sure her family truly needed help.
Life Lesson: Hungry Family Loves its Neighbors
The woman took them to her “house” (a small structure made of discarded materials). It became clear the family really needed help because they hadn’t had food in weeks.
He then sat and shared scripture, prayed for them and split everything we had given them in half. Half went to the lady and her kids and half to his family of six.
The Dad said he wanted to use this experience as a lesson to teach his family. “We all have to sacrifice in this time of need and help others. God always provides and looks after us.”
*Mila’s name changed for privacy.
ER continues to help families like Mila’s because they are unable to generate income. Unfortunately, the pandemic has produced ongoing economic hardship in South Africa, as well as Ecuador and the Philippines where ER also serves. If you can help, visit our donation page and designate your gift “COVID-19 Emergency Feeding & Response”.