PHILADELPHIA (May 11, 2020) The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – an international Quaker organization devoted to peace and justice – has launched a major fundraising effort to support community-led pandemic relief. The organization works in more than 30 U.S. communities, 16 countries, and has staff at the United Nations and in the U.S. Capitol.
“Now, more than ever, it is clear that we are all interconnected and that our health and safety depend on each other,” said Mark Graham, Chief Communications Officer for AFSC. “This fundraising effort will go towards stopping evictions, freeing people from jails and detention centers, providing medical supplies and food access, and advocating for policies that support and protect those who are most vulnerable.”
The AFSC Pandemic Relief Fund will support initiatives both in the U.S. and internationally, including:
In New Mexico, AFSC is supporting local farmers in buying seed and other supplies–and in return, they are donating a share of their crop to food banks. The work is quickly expanding, since it is filling a real need for the food supply.
In Mexico and Guatemala, AFSC is providing food, water, and other basic supplies to migrants, including the elderly, people with health conditions, and pregnant women, as well as advocating for the release of those in detention and working to improve conditions in migrant shelters.
In West Virginia, AFSC formed Rapid Response WV, a network of organizations and community members who are working together to purchase and deliver food and hygienic supplies to people in need.
In Georgia, AFSC partnered with over a dozen other organizations to launch a statewide COVID-19 Housing Emergency hotline to directly assist those suffering a housing emergency.
In Gaza, AFSC is distributing kits to elders that include basic health and sanitation supplies, as well as information on how to help slow the spread of the virus.
In New Jersey, AFSC is helping immigrant clients and community members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to pursue their immigration cases due to inability to pay the required fees.
In California, Florida, and North Carolina, AFSC is working with local partners and coalitions to help undocumented people meet basic needs through grants for cash assistance.
In each of these locations, AFSC has worked for years to support peace and justice at the community level. “Because we already have staff on the ground and long-standing trusted relationships with communities, we are uniquely positioned to support pandemic relief efforts that are based on their unique needs,” said Joyce Ajlouny, the General Secretary of AFSC. “We have been deeply humbled by the creative work our staff and partners are doing to keep our communities safe during this crisis, and to the thousands of donors who have already answered our call and contributed to sustain this vital work.
For more on AFSC’s COVID-19 relief efforts: https://www.afsc.org/content/caring-each-other-during-covid-19
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.