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Canadian Lutherans Partner in World’s Leading Foodgrains Bank

Working Together to Fight Hunger and Poverty

WINNIPEG, Canada, 25 July 2003 – Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) teams up with 12 other Canadian agencies to make the Canadian Foodgrains Bank one of the largest private food aid providers in the world with more than 800,000 metric tons of grains annually. The goal of this initiative is to enable Canadians, working through the agencies and their respective overseas partners, to fight hunger and poverty, according to Jim Cornelius, the bank’s executive director.

CLWR officials told visitors from the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) that church members, including farmers and school children, participate enthusiastically in this program.

Farmers donate up to 20,000 tons of grains every year through their community growing efforts, according to Richard Philips, CLWR communications director. A farmer may donate land, others may pitch in with machinery and other inputs, while urban people raise money toward shipping, he said.

Other farmers, church members and the public send grain to major collection centers and deposit cash donations into designated accounts of Canadian church agencies or into a general account, which can be used by all members. For every dollar they raise, the Canadian International Development Agency gives four dollars, Philips said.

School children learn and show what it means to be displaced in a civil war, to live in constant fear of being abducted or killed, or to be a victim of drought or floods. This way the spirit of helping the less advantaged will be kept alive from generation to generation, according to Philips.

Church agencies working with CLRW in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank include the Adventist Relief and Development Agency, Canadian Baptist Ministries, Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Presbyterian World Service and Development, the Salvation Army, United Church of Canada and World Relief Canada.

Participating agencies work with their overseas partners to develop projects and then draw out resources or equity from their "accounts" to support the projects, which include food aid, seed distribution, food security and complementary nutrition activities.

According to guidelines, the bank favors aid that "appropriately addresses immediate needs and contributes towards long-term food security."

When distributed appropriately, with actions to avoid negative outcomes such as dependency, "food aid helps to protect productive assets and reduce further impoverishment – a first step toward investment to overcome poverty."

Food security funds are used to support activities other than food aid and seed distribution. The bank’s approach to food security includes the promotion of agricultural research and extension built on indigenous knowledge and the recognition of the central role of women in most food systems.

The CLWR is the service delivery arm for overseas development programming and relief for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and Lutheran Church-Canada. CLWR works with community-based organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East through partnership with local non-governmental organizations, churches and the LWF.

The Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place 21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth Assembly including 380 delegates from the 133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years. Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets annually, and by its Executive Committee.

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