Lutheran World Relief has been offering emergency aid to people around the world for more than 60 years. The group formed in the aftermath of World War II, which rendered an estimated 20% of Lutherans homeless. In response to this need, 20 Lutheran churches in the US organized themselves to send aid to their fellow church members.
Most of the aid in that initial period went to Germans and Scandinavians, but LWR founders soon came to believe that they should distribute aid to people regardless of their religious affiliation. In the decades immediately following World War II, the organization sent emergency aid to the Middle East, Hong Kong, Korea, and Bangladesh. Currently, they reach out to people needing emergency help on nearly every continent.
Since then the mission of LWR has evolved even further from providing aid for emergency food, shelter, and medicine, to implementing a comprehensive sustainable development program. The organization now works to address needs in a number of areas, including health, agriculture, and the environment. In pursuing that mission, LWR regularly:
- Helps farmers learn about new techniques and gain access to microcredit loans.
- Partners with local communities to dig wells to provide clean water.
- Educates people about malaria and other infectious diseases.
- Encourages civic participation by fostering grassroots community organizations to help marginalized groups communicate effectively with their governments.
In addition, the groups on the ground emergency programs are designed to continue recovery efforts long after disasters strike. LWR is committed to helping afflicted communities build resiliency and recover for the long-term.
Over the years, Lutheran World Relief has earned respect around the world for their efforts. The group has one of the highest ratings from the site CharityNavigator.org, which rates organizations for their transparency and efficient use of donations. To learn more about Lutheran World Relief, or to donate to the organization, visit www.lwr.org.
– Délice Williams