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Diocesan News

Empower women to end poverty

By Amanda Thorsteinsson


BAINSVILLE, Ont. — On World Food Day, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank welcomed Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau to a meet-and-greet with members of the CharLan growing project near Bainsville, Ont.

The minister ate lunch with the group, made up both of growing project members and people from local supporting churches, in the farm shed of CharLan project co-ordinator Mackie Robertson and his wife, Susan.

“I’ve heard about you a lot,” said Bibeau to the group of about 70 people during a short program. But “coming to meet with you is always much more interesting than reading about it.”

In response, Foodgrains Bank supporters thanked the Minister for the Canadian government’s longstanding and continued partnership with the Winnipeg-based Foodgrains Bank.

“We have one of the most unique societies in the world right here in Canada,” said Robertson. “Even though we may complain about taxes, we have a tremendous capacity to share with the world.”

Margo Aubert, who co-ordinates a growing project in nearby Renfrew, echoed Robertson’ words: “We in Canada have a great deal to give,” she said. “It makes it all the better when we can share what we have.”

After the program, the minister spent time visiting, climbed on a combine, and took photos with supporters.

During her remarks, Bibeau also highlighted the importance of focusing on women and girls in emergency situations around the world, particularly women and girls who are heading up households.

“We strongly believe that we have to empower women if we want to end poverty,” she said, noting that no country can afford to leave behind half the population.

Part of the event included the announcement that the Government of Canada is responding to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh through the Foodgrains Bank with two emergency food relief projects totaling $1 million. The aid will be delivered by Foodgrains Bank members World Renew and Emergency Relief and Development Overseas.

Executive director Jim Cornelius is grateful the minister had an opportunity to connect with supporters who are at the centre of the Foodgrains Bank’s vision of ending global hunger.

“We deeply value the partnership between Canadian farmers and rural supporters, the Foodgrains Bank, and the Government of Canada. Working together, we are making a difference in the lives of many thousands of people,” he said.

Members of the CharLan project have been coming together for over 20 years to plant, tend and harvest a crop. Local United, Anglican, and Presbyterian churches come together to pay for things like seed and fertilizer, and local farmers donate their time and equipment. Since the project started, it has raised over $600,000 for the work of ending global hunger.

The Government of Canada matches donations to the Foodgrains Bank on a 4:1 basis up to $25 million a year for the work of humanitarian assistance. Donations to the Scaling-Up Conservation Agriculture program of the Foodgrains Bank are matched on a 3:1 basis.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank, based in Winnipeg, is a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working to end global hunger. In the 2016 - 17 budget year, the Foodgrains Bank provided over $41 million of assistance for over 900,000 people in 35 countries. Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects are undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Assistance from the Foodgrains Bank is provided through its member agencies, who work with local partners in the developing world.


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