Five Things That Mattered to You in 2016

No matter how you look at it, 2016 was an eventful year.
There were challenges (such as Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis), but there was also tremendous progress, made possible by our faithful network of supporters, staff and partners! For example, thanks to the support of Lutherans around the US, LWR is working in Honduras to promote gender equity, combat child malnutrition in the Philippines, and much, much more.

As we take on the work of 2017, let's take a look back - at the things that mattered to you in 2016. Here are our top 5 blog posts from last year, highlighting much of the work you made possible. Click on the titles to go to the blog posts.

Thank you for all you've done - and continue to do - for people living in poverty around the world.

9 Facts About Refugees

A mother and her children in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, August 25, 2011. (Photo for LWR by Jonathan Ernst)

What does it mean to be a refugee? How does a person become a refugee? And what can you do to help?

As conflict, poverty, and other factors drive more and more people from their homelands, these are things you might wonder. In 2016, many of you took the time to learn more about refugees by reading our "9 Facts About Refugees" post.

Lutherans have been a source of help for refugees and through your support and gifts, LWR helps Sudanese and Somali refugees in Kenya, Karen refugees on the border of Burma and Thailand, and many of the current Syrian refugees.

The Latest on Hurricane Matthew

Tropical Storm Matthew organizing over the eastern Caribbean on September 29, 2016

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti and had devastating effects. As of December 2016, 175,000 people are still without housing, 806,000 people are food insecure and 1.4 million people are in need of assistance.

With your support, LWR worked with Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) to distribute hygiene kits that include water purification tablets. LWR also shipped 7,260 Quilts, 8,740 Personal Care Kits, 6,500 School Kits, 1,200 Baby Care Kits and 3,000 pounds of soap. LWR continues to work with partners on the ground in Haiti for immediate and longer-term responses.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making School Kit Backpacks

Students in grade 3 hold up the school kits they received from LWR. (Jay Rose is second from the right, front row. Jamicha is first from the right, front row.)

School Kits are very important to LWR's mission and to the children around the world who receive them. School Kits not only give children an opportunity to go to school, but also reduce the cost of education for their families. Girls can have the opportunity to have an education, whereas they might not have been able to with the financial burden of school supplies.

Our Quilters and Kit-makers are finding innovative ways to contribute to the education of children in the Philippines, Nicaragua and many other places. This blog post highlights another Lutheran blogger, Green Eyed Lady, who put together some helpful tips, tricks and instructions on making School Kit backpacks.

How do LWR Quilts & Kits get from the U.S. to the places they're needed?

School children in Damascus, Syria show off their new School Kits

Whether you are a supplier of Quilts & Kits, a shipper or a recipient, everyone plays a vital role in the Quilt & Kit pipeline. The new pipeline video and this blog post show exactly how you, LWR, our partners and our beneficiaries are increasingly connected. Take the story of Elsie Stromberg who was a child refugee during World War II and received a School Kit that allowed her to attend school. These days, she makes Quilts & Kits for those who are in a similar position to the one she was in.

From your hands to the Minnesota and Maryland warehouses and beyond, Quilt & Kits represent your faith in action and the dedication of all our partners to promote the dignity and empowerment of those in need. Thank you for all your support.

What We're Doing to Help Syrian Refugees

A migrant from Syria walks along rail tracks with his son as they arrive to a collection point in the village of Roszke in Hungary after crossing the border from Serbia. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

As the civil war in Syria raged on in 2016, many of you asked, "how can I help?"

With your support, LWR has reached out to displaced people within Syria as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Serbia with Quilts & Kits, skills training, psychosocial support and more.

As we pray together for peace and reconciliation, THANK YOU for supporting our brothers and sisters in Syria through LWR!