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Church members attend Foods Resource Bank annual meeting

July 31, 2007

More than 250 farmers, hunger agency representatives, denominational reps, international guests and staff members of Foods Resource Bank gathered in Archbold, Ohio, July 17 and 18 at Historic Sauder Village. Five members of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren were in attendance.

The annual meeting is a time for those who receive the proceeds from Growing Projects in the United States to share the story of what these dollars accomplish.

Prior to the annual meeting, two Foods Resource Bank international guests, Hanna Mwachofi of Kenya and Conrad Muyaule of Zambia, visited Grossnickle Church for an information sharing meeting and fellowship luncheon. Both then visited the local project that is growing corn, hay and wheat this year.

Growing Projects in the United States start with the donation of farmland. Church or community groups raise the money to finance the growing of the crop, along with donated in-kind services and materials. Proceeds from the sale of the crops are then sent to international programs in 30 countries supervised by a host church group or cluster of churches.

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Through teaching improved farming techniques tailored to the conditions in the particular area, greater income is generated for local farmers. Support to farmers is for a limited number of years while the techniques are learned. Those trained commit to training other farmers in nearby communities. When the initial training process is complete, FRB moves to another area.

Foods Resource Bank, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., claims 193 Growing Projects in 19 states. Last year, proceeds from those projects topped $2 million, affecting the lives of 800,000 people in 30 countries. FRB estimates the cost of moving a person from food insecurity to food security at $4.50 a year. The average project duration is three years, thus $15 per person moves folks to a new quality of life.

The local Growing Project is sponsored by four Churches of the Brethren: Grossnickle, Hagerstown, Welty (Smithsburg) and Harmony. In 2006, just over $18,000 was contributed by the local project to the Bamba, Kenya, project. Zambia will receive proceeds from the 2007 effort.

For more information, call Grossnickle Church of the Brethren at 301-293-9516 or Patty Hurwitz at 301-293-1736.

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