Many volunteers are asking: How is Stop Hunger Now responding to the refugee crisis in Europe?
We have a team of specialists on staff who work with partners around the world to determine how, where, when, and if we are able to deliver food and medical supplies to refugees across the globe.
“While the US news media is primarily reporting on refugees who have arrived in Europe, the majority of people fleeing Syria are currently living in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey,” explains Julie Savane, Food Aid Monitoring and Evaluation Partner Engagement Coordinator for Stop Hunger Now. “Due to the great need, this is the region where we plan to focus our response.”
Savane explains that because we have not traditionally supported aid distribution partners in this area, it will take time to build new partnerships. “Once those relationships are established, we can build on what we do best as an organization–provide food and other life-changing aid to distribution partners who can reach the refugees,” says Savane.
Can we respond by providing meals? It depends. Because of EU food regulation, Stop Hunger Now meals from US packaging locations are not eligible for distribution in Europe. However, because of our strong partnership with Feed the Hungry UK and other partners, we may be able to support the distribution of locally purchased food and aid such as clothing and medical supplies to migrants traveling through Europe. As we explore partnerships with organizations working in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, the countries hosting the largest numbers of Syrian refugees, we hope to be able to distribute Stop Hunger Now meals from the US in these locations.
Supporting Refugees with Gifts-in-Kind in Armenia
Meanwhile, Project AGAPE, an established partner through the United Methodist Church, is providing assistance to about 100 Syrian refugee families in Armenia. Although the Armenian government has recently passed strict regulations on food imports, making our meals inadmissible, we continue to provide containers of other gift-in-kind items, including warm clothing for children and adults.
Stop Hunger Now is also working to collaborate with partners like Project AGAPE to implement sustainable community development projects that will improve agricultural productivity, increase food security and provide additional vocational training and capacity building. “These projects would be available to both the Syrian refugee families and low-income Armenian families,” says Savane.