Combines harvest corn for FRB on Larry Winger's farm in Indiana.
By Michelle Scott Okabayashi*
October 11, 2012—Living in a land of plenty, it’s sometimes hard to imagine what it would be like to live through famine and drought, to simply not have enough food to eat or any way to get it.
World Food Day, October 16, was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1980 as a day dedicated to renewing efforts to end hunger around the world. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) works to find sustainable ways to create food security for those who are hungry.
One UMCOR partner, Foods Resource Bank (FRB), is finding creative solutions to end hunger by connecting farmers in the United States with farmers overseas.
Through FRB, farmers in the United States dedicate a field of crops to support farmers in other countries. In many cases an organization will donate funds to pay for US farmer’s overhead costs to grow the crop, and then neighbor farmers will donate the equipment, such as combines, needed to harvest it. When the harvested crop is sold, the profit goes to help the overseas farmers learn how to improve food security in their communities.
Oxford, Indiana, farmer, Larry Winger, a United Methodist, has been involved with FRB since 2004. This year, he dedicated a 20-acre field of corn to the program. The First Christian Church of Lafayette helped offset Winger’s overhead costs, and neighbor farmers donated combines to help in the harvest.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of the crops in Winger’s dedicated field will go to a project supported by First Christian, and the other 50 percent will go to projects in Bolivia and Jordan that were selected by his church, Oxford United Methodist.
“With the traveling that we’ve done, we’ve seen hungry children; we’ve seen parents who want to make more money to send their children to school,” says Winger of the reasons he keeps doing growing projects for FRB. “It’s the ability for me to farm and to make a difference.”
And make a difference, it does. FRB supports UMCOR projects in Armenia and the Democratic Republic of Congo that help people who are especially vulnerable by providing them with agricultural education, goods, and livestock so that they can attain food security.
Remember those who are hungry on this World Food Day with a gift to UMCOR Sustainable Agriculture and Development, UMCOR Advance #982188.
*Okabayashi is a writer and a frequent contributor to www.umcor.org.