Tamsul Nisha, 50, and her grandchildren wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 at their home in West Champaran District, Bihar State, India. (Jake Lyell for Lutheran World Relief)

When COVID-19 shutters work, poor families suffer

COVID-19 causes suffering well beyond the walls of a hospital or the labored breathing of those who may be infected but not know it. It pushes those on the borderline for suffering extreme hunger deeper into poverty, with little chance families will ever escape.

Tamsul Nisha and her family are looking down at that steep slope from which they may never return. Tamsul, her husband and their five young grandchildren are suffering greatly during India's surging COVID-19 outbreak.

Surviving on meager rations, they will continue to suffer without your love and urgently needed support.

Lockdowns mean lost income, where hunger grows

The Nisha family's main source of income was the money Tamsul's son sent home from his work in a factory in Mumbai. But that disappeared overnight when the factory closed after a country-wide lockdown due to COVID-19. Her husband did some tailoring, but that business quickly dwindled, too.

And the small plot of land Tamsul farms is not enough to feed her beloved grandchildren. She places meals in front of them every day that grow smaller and smaller in portion.

Tamsul and her family are among India’s poorest caste, those who are pushed out of sight. But that does not mean they are not in danger. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Can you imagine what it must be like to face danger at every turn?

They cannot leave the home, for fear of contracting COVID-19 in India's staggering pandemic.

They cannot get medical care for their 2-year-old's urgent needs.

And in this part of India,contracting COVID-19 is an additional terrifying threat for families who already face risks from other deadly diseases — like cholera, typhoid and yellow fever — due to seasonal floods.

It's also peak monsoon season right now. And living along the banks of the Gandak River, Tamsul knows what little they have could also be washed away by a raging flood at any moment.

They cannot move, they cannot work, and they stare hunger in the face every day.

No family should have to live in fear and suffer like this because they are poor. Around the world, far too many hard-working families suffer hunger in silence, and face dangers that mean poverty can take root for generous.

Yet, you stand in the way.

When you love your neighbor like Tamsul, her family and scores of others around the world, you affirm the dignity every human life, created in God’s image.

Your love provides emergency food assistance to keep families who cannot work, fed.

Your love provides supplies and information to keep families safe from COVID-19, and other dangers they face in poverty.

Your love provides emergency medical care so loving grandparents don’t have to look into the eyes of their grandchildren and encourage them while they endure suffering.

Your loving gift is what stands in the way of poverty that could last for generations. Your love keeps families fed. Your love keeps families safe.

Please give today so hard-working families can stay fed and safe regardless of the dangers they face.