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“God is Our Refuge and Strength”: Gratitude for the Psalm 46 Student Emergency Fund

May 05, 2020
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1)

The Psalm 46 Student Emergency Fund was created to help students experiencing extraordinary financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Read on to hear how this grassroots effort grew, and meet recipients Raphael and Josh.

It all started with one student. On March 27, a current Regent student (who prefers to remain anonymous) made a gift of $3,000 to the College, requesting that it be distributed to students experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. Students were invited to submit applications sharing their needs, to be reviewed by a staff committee from the Dean of Students and Advancement offices.

“The first time we met as a committee, we were so delighted to be able to help people. At the same time, there was just so much need that I left feeling pretty disheartened,” said Nicole Den Haan. “Students were asking for help so they could pay tuition after losing jobs. They were asking for help so they could pay rent. Some needed help to buy food for themselves and their children. It was heartbreaking.”

But that was just the beginning of the Psalm 46 Student Emergency Fund.

Deeply moved by the generosity of this student toward classmates in need, Regent’s staff and faculty agreed to at least double the $3,000 gift. More gifts came in—far more than the goal of $6,000.

A few select friends of the College were asked to consider contributing. Many did, and a few of them started telling their friends. And some of those friends told their friends! Still more gifts came in, including a $10,000 donation from a pastor who heard about the fund from one of his parishioners.

As of May 1, the Psalm 46 fund has received over $33,000 to be distributed in bursaries to students in financial need.

“When we met again, it was totally different,” Nicole remembers. “We were able to go back to some of the students who had applied for assistance to let them know we could give them more help. We were able to tell some people we feared disappointing they would be getting money after all.

“All of this means that we get to tell students that people in their community—even people they’ve never met—care about them enough to make these incredibly generous and sacrificial gifts. It’s an amazing feeling. And the students are just blown away by it.”

Two of these students are Raphael Donkor and Josh Song. Raphael and Josh (joined by his wife Sophia) took the time to record home videos, sharing a bit about their experience in recent weeks, and especially their gratitude for the help they’ve received.

Nicole and the Psalm 46 committee aren’t taking a break. “We definitely don’t want to assume we’re out of the woods,” Nicole says. “The need is still so great, and I’m sure it will continue to grow as this situation continues. Students sacrifice so much to be here, even in the best of times. I hope we can continue to support those who are giving up so much to study at Regent.”

If you’d like to make a gift to students in need through the Psalm 46 Student Emergency Fund, you can do so here.

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