Why we need your help
THANK YOU to all of our supporters for their generosity which has meant we can declare that we have met our match funded goal for Pentecost Challenge in good time. Thank you for your help in spreading awareness of our campaign widely to generate the many new supporters who contributed to this amazing fundraising effort since April 3rd, particularly as we had already raised £48,000 in the preceding month for our Bethlehem Lockdown Appeal – monies which are already in Bethlehem being distributed by our team supporting the most vulnerable now!
We do not yet have the final figure for the amount actually raised as we are still processing our post, however we know we have reached the match funded target which means you have raised more than £200,000 to continue our work and support those of our Brothers and Sisters in the most need. We are in communication with several Christian partners and communities in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan and expect to get these monies to the coal face swiftly to provide relief over the months ahead. Be assured, this swift and most generous response will have an immediate impact in the lives of Christians throughout the Holy Land.
As the medical crisis eases, however, there remains great uncertainty as to how long it will take to see any significant improvement in the employment prospects of our Brothers and Sisters. We know tourism is effectively dead at the moment. As the typical pilgrim is in the older more vulnerable category and travel logistics are yet to recover around the world, many pilgrimage sector specialists fear that volumes will not return to anywhere near the 2019 level until Autumn 2021 at the earliest. This will leave many Christians with great uncertainty for the employment prospects and financial survival for many months. Hence, our response is just begun for this issue in addition to the projects where we already provide key support.
We need your support to continue to pray in your local community as our churches re-open, to raise awareness of our mission as widely as possible and to encourage your network of Christian friends to visit the Holy Land in pilgrimage as soon as possible and so fuel the recovery of the tourism industry on which so many depend. Please follow our messages on our website and social media pages which we update weekly with the progress and benefits you have facilitated through this amazing and most generous fundraising effort. Thank You.
The coronavirus is tightening its grip as it spreads throughout the Holy Land so we have taken the decision to widen the scope of our appeal to all of the West Bank (including Bethlehem), Gaza, Israel and Jordan. Therefore, we have re-launched our Bethlehem Coronavirus Shutdown Appeal as the “Pentecost Challenge” thus enabling Friends of the Holy Land to continue its activities and support those most affected by this crisis in the entire area of our operation. At the same time three generous supporters have committed to match any donations to our appeal received from April 3rd 2020 until Pentecost, 31st May 2020 up to £100,000. Your donations will be doubled, whilst match funds last. Naturally we have carried forward the gift aided balance of £48,000 that had been donated up until April 2nd to make our target.
Every £1 you donate will have the impact of £2!
Tourism is a key industry for Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other holy sites in Israel and Jordan especially in the lead up to Easter. Indications are that from a record year of 4.5 million visitors in 2019, tourism will be wiped out in 2020 along with the income to the millions dependent on the sector, over 50% of whom are employed on a casual basis.
Close to 200,000 migrant workers with or without permits rely on incomes from Israel or the settlements and they each support (on average) a family of five. That's almost one million Palestinian individuals having food on their table from the income generated from Israel. With the closure of the crossing points, these incomes no longer flow and there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how long these conditions will prevail.
The impact of this shutdown is already having a devastating impact on the lives of Christians in the Holy Land. They need our support urgently.
This same crisis has also enforced conditions in the UK which have already severely curtailed our ability to fundraise and so meet these increased calls for help from our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. As a Charity, we rely on the generosity and support of our wonderful Christian communities in the UK, yet, sadly, in light of the restrictions on worship and gatherings imposed in the current situation, many of our planned church appeals, fundraising events and activities cannot go ahead over the coming months. We hope this match funding opportunity will inspire you to replace these many missed fundraising opportunities.
The shutdown of Bethlehem continues at 4 weeks, Our team in Bethlehem advise that concerns are rising for those most vulnerable as the banks continue to be closed to the public and only open to business by appointment, ATMs are empty and the few stores that sell essential supplies are demanding cash payments. Our team have so far managed to distribute cash to cover three months basic needs to 84 families in Bethlehem despite the difficult conditions as movement is severely restricted by police and army patrols. Employment conditions for most in the city are fragile, people live hand to mouth with no safety net provided by the government through social support.
For current information on the situation in the region please visit our dedicated web page: www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/pentecost-challenge
Please help us by donating what you can BEFORE 31 May so that every £1 you give will be matched and worth £2.
raised towards £148,000.00 target
Spread the word
Aug 21, 2020
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Total raised so far
Total plus Gift Aid £155,413.70
Raised offline £108,252.00