The Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief fund has donated $2.2 million to help displaced Iraqi and Syrian Christians and other religious minorities who continue to face violent persecution and the very real prospect of extinction.
Intended to help families living in very difficult situations as refugees, the funds will help provide permanent housing for the increasing number of displaced families in Iraq. Specifically, the Knights’ donation of $2 million will pay for the construction of new homes on property owned by the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, in the Kurdish-controlled region of Northern Iraq. Work on the homes may begin as early as next month.
The K of C Christian Refugee Relief Fund has also made a separate donation of $200,000 in general aid to the Greek Melkite Catholic Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria.
The Knights’ Supreme Council in New Haven, Connecticut, began the fund in August with $1 million and has since raised an additional $1.7 million in donations from individual Knights, local Knights councils and others, for a total of $2.7 million. Public donations are still being accepted to continue to address the urgently needed situation.
“This is a concrete response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Iraq and to the urgent appeals from the region as well as Pope Francis’ request for material assistance for those affected by this persecution,” said CEO and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
In reference to the long standing of the Christian communities of the Middle East, Anderson said the donations were “accompanied by fervent prayers for all those suffering in the land of the Holy Apostles.”
The houses will be built for Iraqi Christians who were driven from their homes in Mosul and the surrounding area. They left with little more than the cloths they were wearing in order to escape forced conversion and martyrdom, and have since lived as refugees in emergency shelters and random locations far from home.
“With winter setting in, already grave conditions are expected to only worsen as these families are going without proper shelter, which is so fundamental to living their lives,” said Anderson. “These new homes are signs of hope that will allow this community to begin to blossom once again.”
Those wishing to assist with Knights’ relief efforts can donate to K of C Christian Refugee Relief by visiting www.kofc.org/donate, or by sending checks or money orders to: K of C Christian Refugee Relief, Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966.
Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100 percent of all donations collected by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., will be used for humanitarian assistance for Christians and other religious minorities being persecuted or displaced around the world.