Our Family Support Programme was launched many years ago to be a helping hand in times of need to the most vulnerable families in the Bethlehem area. This programme grants a regular sum of NIS 1500 (around £330) to these most needy families to support their basic needs - food, medicine, rent or utilities. These families either come to our office in Bethlehem or are referred by local parishes, and other groups, then our office team in Bethlehem assess the needs of the family and provide this support to the most urgent cases. The same team keep in touch quarterly with each family and formally re-assess and review each case once a year on the anniversary of our original commitment; it is hoped that some families will have been able to turn their financial situation around within the year and no longer need such support.

Unfortunately, the pandemic and resulting loss of tourism has meant that few have been able to leave the programme over the last year. In fact, rising unemployment amongst the Christian community has seen the number of families struggling to make ends meet increase dramatically. Our office in Bethlehem has been inundated with requests for help from both individuals themselves and referrals from local clergy, and as a consequence, our waiting list is ever-growing.

The good news is that because of our donors’ consistency, we have already been able to expand this programme by 16 families. This means that we are now supporting 100 families, providing a total of £135,000 as grants in this programme over the year ahead. We hope that pilgrims will return in 2022 and some of these cases may be then able to get back on their feet so that we can help more from the waiting list. However, we know that we are just scratching the surface in terms of the need in Bethlehem and the wider West Bank communities; with the help of supporters, we hope to expand the programme further.

Here are some examples of the families your support is helping at the moment:

Bassam has been part of the Family Support Programme since it began. Despite his efforts to secure regular employment as a gardener or labourer, he struggles to find enough paid work to support his wife and three children, so the money he receives is a great help in meeting their general needs.

Seventy-year old widower Fesal has a large family, but sadly, his son with whom he was living passed away unexpectedly six months ago. This, combined with a shortage of work for his other son because of the pandemic, means his daughter is trying to support her wider family with just her salary. Fesal requested our help to ensure his grandsons receive the food that they need, and because of your generosity, we were able to add him to the programme.

As an unmarried woman of 54, Diana lives alone. Before they passed away, Diana was the primary caregiver for her parents meaning that she never had a career. Now she is unable to work due to ill health, which is exacerbated by the poor condition of her home. With few people to support her, our Family Support programme has been able to help Diana to try and improve the quality of her life.

It is thanks to our donors’ continued support that we are able to run this programme and touch the lives of people like Bassam, Fesal and Diana. Each of them are very grateful for our Family Support Programme.

Could you make a real difference and help improve a family’s life by committing to a regular gift?

A regular gift allows us to plan ahead and respond in a sustained way to the needs of Christian families through programmes such as Family Support. This can result in a permanent change in their circumstances – you can directly change a life!

Sponsor a family