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COVID Relief Fund provides help around the world

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The Congregation’s COVID Relief Fund and a foundation grant helped Holy Cross sisters buy and distribute staples, such as rice and beans, for Ugandan families in Bugembe and Jinja. The families expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the help given them, says Sister Nancy Rose Njeri Njoroge, CSC, pictured second from left. 

Compassion comes in many packages

While people may not be able to traverse borders during the coronavirus pandemic, compassion and generosity have no such boundaries: They freely flow around the world to comfort and care for those in most need.  

“The generous spirit of our donors is an answer to prayer for many people living in countries where our sisters serve,” says Sister M. Rose Edward (Goodrow), CSC, the Congregation’s director of Development. “People who have been out of work for months continue to struggle to buy necessities like food and medicine, and once again, our benefactors have come alongside our sisters to respond to peoples’ needs. It is a joy to help alleviate suffering, foster hope and stand together during these difficult days as we pray for an end to COVID-19.”  

The Congregation initiated a COVID Relief Fund in April 2020 to help those severely impacted by the pandemic in places where sisters live and minister. “Sisters began sharing stories about how local people were desperate for food due to required lockdowns and inability to get to markets. People were knocking on the convent doors for help,” explains Sister Rose. “The sisters did what they could with their own limited resources but knew this was not sustainable and needed the support of many.”  

Here’s how funds from our compassionate donors are assisting those most in need.   

Sister Cecilia Karuna Corraya, CSC, prepares to distribute food to people in Pirgacha, Tangail, Bangladesh. Funds from a grant have enabled the sisters to provide food and continue their outreach ministry.
Sister Cecilia Karuna Corraya, CSC, prepares to distribute food to people in Pirgacha, Tangail, Bangladesh. Funds from a grant have enabled the sisters to provide food and continue their outreach ministry.

COVID relief for people in Asia and Africa 

On May 20–21, Super Cyclone Amphan struck coastal Bangladesh, uprooting trees, destroying homes and flooding villages — wreaking havoc on the lives of many who already were facing hardship from lockdowns during the pandemic. Holy Cross sisters sent funds for food relief to the Diocese of Khulna.  

In another area of Bangladesh, Sisters of the Holy Cross purchased and distributed groceries and essential supplies to about 33 families in Kalachandpur. Family members had lost jobs due to the shutdown, especially women working in beauty parlors, garment factories and domestic service. “The people were so happy and warmly welcomed us,” says Sister Violet Rodrigues, CSC, Area of Asia coordinator. “They were praying for us and others who were providing food and supplies in different places. We prayed together and shared our feelings. They expressed their heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the generosity of our donors and their sacrifices.”  

In Africa, COVID relief funds enabled the sisters to buy staples like rice and beans, as well as fruits and vegetables, and distribute them to about 35 Ghanaian families. Funds helped several families in the Bugembe-Jinja area of Uganda who were hungry and in need of medical assistance. Sister Nancy Rose Njeri Njoroge, CSC, reports, “The families expressed their heart-felt gratitude, and they were really happy for all the help extended to them.” 

Additionally, a gift from an anonymous donor to Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre in Kirinda, Uganda, provided emergency COVID-19 supplies, including isolation tents, oxygen equipment, surgical masks, gloves, sanitizers, soaps, thermometers, as well as food for patients with HIV or AIDS who are struggling to maintain treatment regimens.   

A woman receives hand sanitizer from a young woman in training at the sisters’ sewing ministry in Kulaura, Bangladesh, before picking up food staples from the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Pictured from left are Sister Shiuli Gomes, CSC, Father Valentine Talang, OMI, a parish priest, and Sister Promila Gomes, CSC, who is partially hidden. 

Grants help sisters provide COVID relief  

Sister Promila Gomes, CSC, was awarded an emergency grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters for outreach to the people of Kulaura, Bangladesh. The funds provided food for more than 400 families. Emergency medicines were provided through the Holy Cross Health Education Center (HCHEC) and personal protective equipment was given to those in need, including HCHEC staff.  

In Bangladesh, Sister Cecilia Karuna Corraya, CSC, provided sustenance to the local Pirgacha community, thanks to a grant awarded by Aid to the Church in Need International. The funds enabled sisters to provide food and continue their outreach ministry.  

More than 2,000 families in Fort Portal and Jinja, Uganda, received food, medicines, soap and hygiene products, and masks with monies from an Indiana foundation. Under the leadership of Holy Cross Sisters Semerita Mbambu and Nancy Rose Njeri Njoroge, sisters coordinated food distribution over multiple days and locations, including home visits to rural villages, with attention given to the elderly, widows, orphans, and people with disabilities. In Jinja, medicines were provided to those urgently in need of care.   

The Ugandan Kyarusozi community, too, received a grant that will provide much-needed food, masks and medical support for 300 families. The grant also allows Moreau Nursery and Primary School in Kirinda to purchase sanitation supplies and equipment, such as hand sanitizer stations, soap and other cleaning supplies. Staff will continue to reach students at their homes and provide regular meals. 

Next door at the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre, medical supplies to respond to COVID (such as masks, gloves and sanitizers) will be purchased as well as urgently needed medicines. Additional outreach for HIV and AIDS treatments and vaccinations are now possible. Women in the maternity ward at the clinic will receive food relief, soaps and other sanitation supports upon their return home.

In India, the communities of Jatah, Laitlawsnai and Shillong received needed COVID relief items, such as food and hygiene supplies, thanks to a grant from the Donald D. Lynch Family Foundation.   

A mother receives a bucket of soap from Sister Jacinta Mueni Munyao, CSC, at Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre, Kirinda, Uganda, thanks to a donation for coronavirus relief. 

Gratitude for generosity  

“These foundations and our individual donors have been so generous. They would be happy to know the critical and life-saving work that their generosity makes possible,” says Sister M. Veronique (Wiedower), CSC, Congregation president. “We are grateful for the support of so many in this time of great need.” 

As of October 2020, $157,823 had been donated for COVID relief in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, Uganda and the United States. Further funding of projects is expected as the pandemic continues. To donate, select Congregation’s COVID Relief from the drop-down options. Thank you.