On August 4, 2020 a massive explosion tore through Beirut, Lebanon. In addition to the devastating casualties, injuries, and widespread destruction, Lutheran World Relief learned that three 40-foot shipping containers filled with thousands of handmade mission quilts and school, personal, and baby care kits—amounting to more than 47,000 items—were destroyed. The total value of the lost shipments was approximately $624,000. These items were bound for families throughout Lebanon struggling with the current economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, including refugee families from Syria and the Palestinian territories. The containers were part of a shipment to be distributed by Anera, an NGO and longtime Lutheran World Relief partner that serves refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East.
The loss of more than 22,000 quilts, sewn by individuals and members of Lutheran congregations across the U.S., could mean a more bitter winter for thousands of refugees. “Our quilts are made with love by those who painstakingly craft them, and they’re deeply appreciated by the people in distress who receive them, both for the warmth and the message of care they provide,” said Melanie Gibbons, deputy director, outreach and engagement at Lutheran World Relief.
LWR is in discussions with staff and partners to determine the most urgent needs and potential response options, with a particular emphasis on shelter, food security, and basic needs. For more information or to donate, click here.