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“For my eyes have seen your salvation.”

—Luke 2:30

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Joseph and Mary take the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to present their firstborn for sanctification before God. In the temple that day were Simeon, a faithful worshiper, and Anna, a devout prophetess. Even though Jesus was only a newborn, both immediately recognized him as the fulfillment of God’s promise. The Messiah had finally arrived!

We too are called to recognize Jesus as our Lord in our daily lives. One way we can find him is by helping others. Sometimes it can be giving a kind word or acknowledgment; other times it may be food, or clothing. Every day God presents us with opportunities to be there for others. And we always get more than what we give. When we contribute to someone’s wellbeing, it gives us a sense of joy and fulfillment.

At CMMB, every woman, child, and community we serve renews our sense of hope about what’s possible and connects us to other caring people around the world. One of the ways we serve is by distributing medicines and supplies donated by our partners in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors to patients in the developing world, at no charge to them. Our Medical Donations Program has a large network of partners that receive donations—health facilities, NGOs, healthcare providers, and medical mission teams. Through them, we are able to provide care to hard-to-reach, vulnerable communities when they need it most, especially in emergencies.

For the past year, we have been sending donations of medicine and medical supplies to Syria, where civil war has been raging for almost nine years. The focus of the conflict has shifted to the northwest, where one million people have been displaced since April 2019. Violence there has intensified, but news coverage has died down.

Internally displaced people living in tents under olive trees, with little to protect them from the elements

Displaced families living in tents under olive trees, with little to protect them from the elements

In 2019 alone, CMMB sent over $10 million worth of donations to northwestern Syria.

Our staff recently had the opportunity, through the coordination of our partner the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, to speak with Orient for Human Relief Organization, an organization that distributes medical donations in the region.

Orient and their 18 partner NGOs send staff and medical products to support mobile clinics every day in 25 different sites throughout the camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the surrounding towns. In addition to dispensing medicines for chronic disease, these mobile clinics provide nutritional supplements to children and mothers, as well as prenatal vitamins to pregnant women.

pharmacy in Syria

A pharmacy in Syria distributing donated medicine and medical supplies free of charge

Orient also supports the Aya Charitable Pharmacy in Idlib, the only stand-alone facility distributing free medicines and medical supplies in the city. Access to medicine is incredibly difficult for displaced people. The Aya Charitable Pharmacy is their only option to acquire the medicine and over-the-counter products they need. They told us about one patient that had come to a camp near the Turkish border. He suffers from cancer and needed to find two medications, one costing $100, the other $250. When he was given these medicines for free, he began to cry. Ahmed Mustafa, the Director of the Aya Charitable Pharmacy, was unequivocal when he told us, “without the donations coming in, these people would pass away and die in silence.”

Syrian Refugees

Aerial shot of one of the camps for internally displaced people in Syria

Many of the medical NGOs who had previously been operating in the area have fled southern Idlib due to increased bombing. The staff at Orient is working tirelessly to respond to the crisis, but they tell us that support for them and their partners continues to decrease, down 90% from a year ago. However, CMMB and the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees are still onboard, steadfast in our commitment to provide continuous support and save lives.

Let us pray that, like Simeon and Anna, we too can recognize Jesus in our lives so that we see the goodness in all the people we meet and have the courage to help where it’s needed.

In grace and peace,

CMMB/Healthier Lives Worldwide

*Parts of this article were inspired by Loyola Press Sunday Connection.


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