I’m writing to you from Wendali, Ethiopia. As I arrived, my mind immediately flashed back to 1984. It was a pivotal moment in history. For the first time, news agencies were issuing daily dispatches and images to our homes of a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale. Canadians witnessed nightly the devastating results of the Ethiopian famine, with its stark images of emaciated children and adults. Nearly one million people died.
Back then, I was a young Christian worker on a university campus in Quebec. That mounting catastrophe moved me and my generation to act. For all of us, our collective worldview was stretched beyond just local concerns. We were becoming global citizens who were shaken awake to the responsibility, and the ability to do something on behalf of people who were literally wasting away.
At the same time, Canadian Baptist farmers on the Prairies watching the nightly news broadcasts were also moved to compassion and action in a profound way. Those faithful farmers took action against hunger, and along with farmers from four other church denominations, we formed the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
We could not have known then the astonishing impact and reach of this ongoing partnership. The rich legacy of Canadian Baptists on mission who helped form the Foodgrains Bank continues to save lives. This year, the vibrant partnership of 15 church agencies will help to feed over 800,000 people around the world.
As one of the founding members of the Foodgrains Bank, this Christmas your donation to CBM’s food programs can be matched up to 4:1 by the Canadian Government, as together we help feed hungry people.
Our world is more connected now than we could have imagined in 1984. Daily news and social streams are in the palm of our hands. Yet so much has not changed. There are still many conflicts and disasters which continue to put millions of people at risk of hunger and malnutrition every day.
But there is hope. On this trip I’ve watched farmers growing maize and sorghum in the desert of Ethiopia. I have witnessed the reversal of the devastation caused by unprecedented and unusual rainfall patterns.
Small-scale farmers are learning conservation farming, which yield 7x what they previously saw. I met families whose livelihoods have increased, whose children are in school, and seen churches that are multiplying because of what we do collectively through the Foodgrains Bank.
I spoke with Butidi (pictured on the front of this letter), a farmer who survived the famines of 1973 and 1984. Although he lost his arm in the civil war, he told us his own story of resilience and courage. When I asked him what it was like to live through a famine, he said these words: “We did whatever we could to care for people around us.” I could imagine hearing the same words from those Canadian farmers.
CBM food and nutrition projects in India, South Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo receive matching grants from Global Affairs Canada because of our membership in the Foodgrains Bank.
Last month, Charity Intelligence championed the Canadian Foodgrains Bank as one of the 10 most effective, high-impact Canadian charities. This is why they highlight that: “high-impact charities are likely to produce an average of over $600 in value from a $100 gift!”
You can continue to respond to the needs of a hungry world, trusting in the results of CBM and the Foodgrains Bank to create a significant return on investment. Your gift today will make an impact on food programs in Africa and India. Hunger is being beaten in local communities. Hope is being restored to families. The love of God for the hungry is being shared and demonstrated.
This Christmas season, as we look after those close to us, and consider helping those further away, support CBM and our Foodgrains Bank programs with an extra gift, and maximize the impact of your tax-deductable, charitable giving for 2018. Along with Butidi, you can say, “we did whatever we could to care for people around us.”
May your Christmas season be filled by the love of God, who, out of His abundance gave us his son Jesus, our Immanuel.