A question we sometimes get around Relief Kits is why does MCC send material resources?
MCC places a priority on purchasing materials in the country they are working in or from the region if surpluses of appropriate commodities are available at prices comparable to world prices plus shipping expenses. Nearly all MCC responses will contain both locally purchased materials and resources sent from Canada, the United States, and Europe. Material resources will be shipped from Canada and the United States where MCC works in the following situations:
- Available materials in MCC material resource centres are culturally appropriate.
- Quality and quantity of materials given do not significantly disrupt the local market.
- Local partners requested materials and are part of the planning for distribution and use.
- Assistance is granted for a specific purpose and for a defined period of time.
Check out some more FAQs below.
1. What is Peacemakers? Are we still participating in AIDS CARE?
Peacemakers is the name of our new fundraising campaign we began in February 2017 which is held annually in support of our partner, Mennonite Central Committee. Peacemakers has replaced our previous AIDS CARE campaign.
2. Why did we change from AIDS CARE to Peacemakers?
In June 2016, we came to the end of the previous iteration of our partnership agreement with MCC. When we asked MCC how we could more effectively support them in the upcoming years they proposed that we focus our support on their peacebuilding and relief efforts. We believe in actively listening and responding to the needs of our partners and respecting their insight into the realities of the needs of their work around the world. Trusting MCC, their experience, and in an effort to be responsive to the highest priorities identified, we decided to redirect our time and energy toward peacebuilding and humanitarian relief.
Peace is at the core of our identity as a church, as Jesus followers, and as Anabaptists. Our belief in Jesus’ radical demonstration of peace is central to our theology and we are excited to come alongside programs that support peace in such a tangible way.
3. What happened to the projects we were supporting under AIDS CARE?We have fulfilled all our financial commitments to partnering with the HIV/AIDS healthcare projects we were supporting under the AIDS CARE campaign. Many projects we were funding under AIDS CARE align with peacebuilding, such as the Peace Clubs, and we will continue to partner with them.
4. What are Peace Cards and Relief Kits?Peace Cards are $100 donations that will be going to MCC’s peacebuilding work in Sub-Saharan Africa and here in Ontario. Relief Kits are a collection of specific in-kind donations that MCC uses to respond to humanitarian relief situations around the world. For a list of items follow the link here.
5. What are our Peace Card and Relief Kit goals for 2019?Our goal this year is to collect 2,600 Peace Cards and 1,000 Relief Kits.
6. Do Relief Kits include $100 donations like the AIDS CARE kits had?No, we heard our community’s cry that including $100 in the kits while also having $100 Care Cards was confusing. For this reason the Relief Kits will not include any financial component. We encourage you, however, to contribute more Peace Cards!
7. What items are Kidmax and The Underground collecting this year?Kidmax: This year, kids are collecting bars of bath soap (in wrapper) that are needed for each Relief Kit. It is recommended that the soap is biodegradable but all soap will be accepted. This year's Kidmax goal is to collectively raise 4500 bars of bath soap.
The Underground: This year, the Underground will be collecting full Relief Kits within their mid-week small groups. Junior high youth that only attend Sunday mornings will be collecting bars of bath soap (in wrapper) along with Kidmax to work toward the goal of collecting 4500 bars.
8. Who do I make the cheque out to?Make all cheques out to ‘The Meeting House’ and not MCC Ontario. Processing all the cheques is a lot of work so please make sure you use the Peace Card envelope available at our Information Tables. Please ensure there is only one donor per Peace Card envelope and include all requested contact information for tax receipting purposes. Tax receipts are given for amounts of $20 or greater.
9. When do I bring my Relief Kits and Peace Cards for the collection?The collection date for all sites in Sunday, March 3, 2019. Bring your Relief Kits and Peace Cards to your site before the service begins. Make sure that your cheques and envelopes are properly filled in, including your full address. Please DO NOT pack any cheques or envelopes into your Relief Kits.
10. Who will receive the Relief Kits and how are recipients selected?Each year, MCC will determine where the Relief Kits will be going based on where the greatest need is for humanitarian relief. This year, the Relief Kits will be distributed in Syria to persons affected by current violence in the country. For more information about MCC’s response to the crisis in Syria please click here.
11. Why are these specific items needed?Bath Soap
Soap helps to maintain a basic level of hygiene but for many people who have been displaced, gaining access to ‘luxuries’ beyond adequate food and shelter is a challenge.
Fingernail Clipper (Remove from packaging)
Small but mighty, nail clippers are one of the most valuable items in a Relief Kit. This item keeps fingernails short, and less likely to hold dirt and bacteria. In over-crowded places where refugees or displayed people are living, there is often inadequate water, sanitation and medical facilities. Nail clippers keep the spread of disease at bay in places where adequate sanitation is difficult, and people are often eating with their hands.
Laundry Soap (Sunlight ® brand preferred)
Bars of laundry soap are stronger than powdered laundry soap, and can last longer. In places where there are no machines for washing and limited water supply, bars of laundry soap are a valuable item for families who have fled hardship and are trying to rebuild their lives.
Many families on the move have no toothbrushes depending on the condition in which they fled or may have to share one toothbrush among many family members. Dental care, if offered at all, is too expensive in the many places where there are large populations of displaced people. Oral hygiene products are additional expenses that families often must forego in the place of food and shelter.
Bath towels (medium weight, dark or bright colours)
Often heavy and bulky items such as towels are left behind in situations where families and individuals must leave most of their belongings behind. As refugees and internally displaced persons rebuild their lives, items such as towels are invaluable. Items like this are expensive to purchase when funds are low, yet are needed on a day-to-day basis.
Wide-tooth combs (15 cm–20 cm)
A staple for personal hygiene, combs not only help when bathing is less possible in conditions where water is scarce, they also help preserve personal dignity as displaced persons try to rebuild their lives.
Plastic bottle shampoo (1-2 bottles, combined total of 600 ml; place in re-sealable plastic bag)
Shampoo is a heavy and rare commodity that is often too expensive for families who have to choose between personal hygiene and food and heat for survival. Providing a family with this offers a seemingly small yet highly valued item for those looking for work, and living day-to-day in a new place after traumatically leaving their homes behind.
Box of adhesive bandages (minimum 40 count, assorted)
In many places where there are densely populated refugees and internally displaced persons, adequate medical care is scarce. Bandages help keep small wounds clean in places where adequate sanitation is difficult to maintain, thereby assisting in keeping the spread of infection at bay.
Thin sanitary pads (1-2 packs, minimum 28 count)
Feminine hygiene products are massively important for women living in inadequate conditions. These products are often not prioritized over the need for food and other basic living expenses, yet have huge implications for women. For girls fortunate enough to go to school, they can miss up to a week of school each month if they do not have adequate sanitation products. For hygienic and health reasons, women need adequate products to stay healthy.
12. Why don’t we get all the items via corporate donations and/or bulk purchasing?Obtaining items via donations or bulk purchasing would be more efficient but less relational. The Relief Kits create a space for The Meeting House as a community to remember our sisters and brothers around the world and to respond in a tangible manner. It’s an opportunity for individuals, home churches, and families to rally together and achieve a common goal.
13. Is sending Relief Kits to areas affected by conflict an appropriate response that aligns with proper development practices?Relief Kits are important because they provide items that meet the basic needs for individuals and families affected by international conflict and disaster. MCC prioritizes purchasing items locally when possible, however, in severe conflict and disaster situations the local economy has often collapsed and the ability to purchase these items locally in bulk is difficult or impossible. Without Relief Kits these essential supplies that meet people's basic needs wouldn’t be available. When people's basic needs are met it reduces tension within conflict situations. Furthermore, Relief Kits are only one aspect of MCC's relief efforts which journeys to provide ongoing and wholistic relief with the goal of reestablishing lives. To learn more about MCC's work in the region you can read their latest update here.
14, Why does it say "one donor per envelope" on the Peace Cards?We ask that you only include one donor per envelope as it is much easier for our financial team to process and issue your tax receipt. If you have four individuals wanting to put $25 each toward a $100 Peace Card, they should use four separate envelopes. If they put all their money in one envelope, only one donor (the individual whose information is on the outside of the envelope) will receive the tax receipt. Please note that we issue tax receipts for amounts of $20 or more.
15. What are the Peace Card funds used for?
The funds raised through Peace Cards are how we financially partner with the peacebuilding work MCC is doing in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Ontario. In Sub-Saharan Africa, projects we partner with will address issues such as: interreligious conflict, interethnic conflict, police brutality, violent public demonstrations, corporal punishment, and gender-based violence. In Ontario, we partner with two areas of MCC's peacebuilding work locally: i. Restorative Justice ii. Reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours.For more information about some of the projects The Meeting House is partnering with please follow the links below:
Sub-Saharan Africa Peacebuilding
Local Peacebuilding: Indigenous Neighbours
Local Peacebuilding: Restorative Justice
16. Can I give online or by text?Yes! There are three ways you can give without writing a cheque or giving cash.
1. Bill Pay: You can donate through online banking as a bill payment. Just use your personalized giving number plus the code PCE (5 digits + 3 letters) ie. 0####PCE. If you do not currently give to The Meeting House through Bill Pay (online banking) you can learn how to set this up here and reading the section titled Web Banking.
2. Credit/Debit: You can donate online by visitng www.themeetinghouse.com/giving and selecting Peacemakers from the drop down menu.
3. Give by Text: You can donate by texting 'TMH' to 77977 and selecting Peacemakers from the drop down menu.
17. Why partner with MCC?We are proud to be partnering with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario as they come alongside locally directed projects around the globe and here in Canada. MCC Ontario has demonstrated a commitment to a high level of transparency, accountability, and integrity. They are a member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) and the Better Business Bureau, which have standards for fundraising as well as managing and reporting finances.
18. How much of the money we fundraise will go to peacebuilding work in Ontario?MCC has requested that we allocate up to 10% of the total funds collected through Peacemakers each year toward local peacebuilding efforts. This year we will be giving approximately $25,000 to support projects in Ontario. These funds will be dispersed by MCC based on the greatest financial needs.
19. Do I have to give $100 for the Peace Card?No, a $100 donation is the suggested amount to give for a Peace Card. You can donate more or less than $100 in one Peace Card.