In 1959, The Primate’s World Relief Fund was established by the Anglican General Synod. In 1969, the name of the organization was officially changed to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. This Fund came into existence as a result of a terrible human tragedy in Canadian history. In 1958, in Springhill, Nova Scotia, there was an underground explosion in a coal mine, 174 men were in the mine when it collapsed, and 75 died as a result of the disaster. The tragedy moved Anglicans and other Canadians to respond with assistance for the stricken families. As a result of this experience, the church recognized the need for an efficient process to channel assistance quickly in situations of emergency. PWRDF’s vision of a truly just, healthy, and peaceful world is one that can only be accomplished by bringing about change in the lives of everyone involved in its work.
Every year PWRDF responds to emergencies in Canada and around the world. Primarily, we allocate grants to appeals issued by the ACT Alliance, of which we are a member. ACT Alliance is an organization of 140 international Christian organizations working in areas of high need. When disaster happens, ACT is able to contact one of its members already in place and quickly get them funds for immediate necessities of life, such as water, sanitation, food and shelter. PWRDF also works with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in this same capacity.
St. Thomas is an active contributor to PWRDF with congregation members donating monthly. These donations have at times been specified for emergencies such as the Fort McMurray Wildfires, the South Sudan Famine and Drought Emergency, Dorian Hurricane Relief Fund and Covid 19 Response. In many instances these donations qualify for matching Government of Canada funds.
PWRDF has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting our partners in Canada and around the world. Thanks to our generous donors, PWRDF is allocating an additional $111,000 to support partners’ initiatives. A gift of $70,000 from Calgarian Richard Bird, through the Ptarmigan Foundation, will fund PWRDF partner the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) as it supports people living in the Kakuma refugee camp. NCCK is using this grant to purchase much needed equipment such as pulse oximeters, digital blood pressure machines, electric suction machines, non-contact thermometer guns, oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen gauges and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, reusable face shields and disposable gowns. In Bangladesh, a grant of $11,000 was used to support 965 families who received soap, masks, food items and seeds that will be given to Nayakrishi farmers who have expressed the need.
We thank all of those from St. Thomas who gave to the Covid 19 Response in April.