I’m not done reflecting on the time in Croatia – I could write for days about it! But in the meantime I wanted to go ahead and give you some ways you can respond to the refugee crisis – and specifically how you can support what’s going on in Croatia.
The best things our U.S. partners can do right now, in my opinion, are to PRAY and to GIVE.
PRAY for the refugees and immigrants. Pray for peace among these many types of people as they travel together in close quarters – often with conflicting religious views and cultural biases against one another. Pray for their safe travels, and for their security in the homes they’ll eventually find. Pray for the police, soldiers and volunteers who are working to help them in so many ways. Pray for an end to the violence, destruction and poverty that are causing so many to leave their homes and families.
GIVE money – but give carefully and wisely. Don’t try to send clothing or other items – it’s expensive to send them, and there are people right next door to you who need them! Plus, the local economies benefit when workers here buy things that are needed. So send money, praying for the ones who receive it to have the wisdom to put those funds to the best use possible.
Here are my recommendations, in order:
Croatian Baptists – I was amazed to meet so many Baptists who are doing great work at this center. They are striving to fill in gaps and to meet needs that others are not thinking of. They need donations for transporting and feeding their workers, buying supplies for the refugees, and so many more things. I believe they’ll make good use of the money you send.
Send donations through the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), who are passing donations along for refugee work in both Croatia and Austria. You can give online by clicking here or on the image at right (designate to the Syrian Refugee Crisis) or send a check payable to “BGAV” to 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Henrico, VA. 23294. On the memo line write “Syrian Refugee Crisis.”
Samaritan’s Purse – You probably already know about Samaritan’s Purse, maybe through their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. They do a lot of relief work around the world, and they’re working to provide basic hygiene products for the refugees coming through Croatia. When you see footage of refugees in Europe, watch for red and blue backpacks – these are from Samaritan’s Purse. They’re also looking for gaps in services, and doing their best to meet needs as they come up.
You can give online by clicking here or the logo to the right. This takes you straight to the giving page for their work in Europe among refugees. I am not recommending this organization as a whole, I know there is some controversy about their different projects. But I can tell you that they are doing top-notch work in this camp, and this page allows you to give to that project.
Croatian Red Cross – These folks do good work all over the world, and they are responding to this crisis in many ways. If you’re not comfortable with giving to the options above, I’d recommend the Red Cross of Croatia. Give online by clicking this link (be sure to select “Help the migrants in Croatia”) or by clicking the image to the right.