By Kevin Magee
Progress is built on partnership. As is said in the old African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is the spirit of the relationship between Catholic Relief Services and Rise Against Hunger’s collaborative program, CRS Helping Hands.
This month, CRS Helping Hands celebrates 10 million meals packaged with Rise Against Hunger since the partnership began in 2011. Since then, over 90,000 Catholic volunteers have participated in 450 events to package 10,308,192 meals; a true testimony to the power of partnership.
This home run of a milestone was celebrated in October 2019 with a Rise Against Hunger Experience meal packaging event at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Bordick and CRS CEO & President Sean Callahan kicked off the event with excitement and celebration. The Orioles organization is no stranger to meal packaging, having packaged over 220,000 meals since 2016.
But the real heart of this team effort is with those these meals benefit; the people of Burkina Faso.
This land-locked Western African country is home to about 18 million people. Almost half (40 percent) of its population lives below the poverty line. The majority of the population depends on one season of rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods, leaving the country vulnerable to climate shocks. Women, boys and girls under five and the elderly continue to be most affected by persistent food and nutrition insecurity, especially in rural areas.
As of 2015, Global acute malnutrition is 10.4 percent and chronic malnutrition is 30.2 percent. In 2016, a total of 2.5 million people are at risk for food insecurity.
It is because of the generosity of Catholic communities around the U.S. that CRS Helping Hands has been able to fund and support vocational training programs (sewing, cooking, knitting, baking and soap-making), agriculture projects (onions, corn and tomatoes; family gardens), and community health initiatives (school feeding, WASH, nutrition) in multiple locations throughout Burkina Faso. This sustainable approach to ending hunger reinforces the commitment both organizations have to working with communities to help create smart solutions to food insecurity around the world.
We want to thank Catholic Relief Services, our Catholic packaging partners, and communities of faith all over the world who are united in the vision to see a world without hunger. Let’s go together!
But the work is not over! Every day, 820 million of our brothers and sisters do not know where their next meal will come from. We need you to get your community of faith in the game. Visit our Communities of Faith page or email Rev. Kevin Magee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your gifts change the world!