The CWS Blog

Zero Hunger: It is Possible...

Lesvi Roselim  |  October 17, 2014

Yance Banunaek

World Food Day 2014 lifts up family farming – the way of life for most people in West Timor. People like Yance Banunaek, a mother of three from EnoNabuasa village in Timor Tengah Selatan District. However, water is scarce on this small island in eastern Indonesia, and Yance and her fellow villagers struggled to access water for agriculture.

“Most of the time, there was only enough water for our community’s consumption. In the dry season, the situation was worse, as the water from the spring was barely enough for all in the community, let alone for agriculture. Therefore we used to go to the District capital to buy food, including vegetables, as we could not produce enough food for our families,” said Yance.

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World Food Day: You Too Walk On, Because ZERO is the Hero

Maurice Bloem  |  October 16, 2014

“Home... hard to know what it is if you've never had one
Home... I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is.”

Lisa Rothenberger, a former CWS board member, sent me U2’s “Walk On” to listen to during my first 100 Mile Hunger Walk three years ago. She said, “if you feel tired and need a push, just listen to that song and you will be fine.”

She was right.

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Family Farming in the Bolivian Chaco on the eve of World Food Day

Fionuala Cregan  |  October 15, 2014

“When my grandfather was a child he did not go hungry. There were fish in the river and honey and fruits in the forest all year round. The land was for everyone. It pains me today to see our children go hungry, to see a river with so few fish, the forest without fruit,” says Nestor Nacub, a Weenhayek indigenous leader in the Chaco region of Bolivia.

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Two months ago, Nestor and his family took matters into their own hands and moved to a piece of vacant land 30 miles from urban indigenous settlement Caipirendita. “The town has become overcrowded. People are becoming dependant on outside help and every day we are losing more and more of our ancestral knowledge. Instead of cultivating the land, people buy food. When they have no money, they go hungry,” he says. “Meanwhile cattle ranchers and oil and gas companies cut down the forest and mining companies pollute the river.”

Students Growing in Greensboro Refugee Garden

Margaret Evans  |  October 14, 2014

The CWS Refugee Community Garden project in Greensboro, North Carolina, provides spaces which offer serenity and foster opportunity for refugees.

Shortly following the conclusion of the summer season in the United States, CWS’s community garden project shifted towards a new approach, involving collaboration with the 4-H Youth Development section of CWS partner, the NC State University and NC Agricultural and Technical State University Guilford County Cooperative Extension.

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Columbus Day: For Indigenous People, a Time to Mourn

Chris Herlinger  |  October 13, 2014

Griselda Arias and her husband David Palacios

A few days back, Fionuala Cregan, one of our colleagues based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, wrote this on Facebook:

“October 12 will be a national holiday in Argentina. Once called ‘Columbus Day’ it is now denominated ‘Day of Cultural Diversity.’ For indigenous people this day represents the death of 60 million of their ancestors across Latin America and the pillaging of their lands. Today the majority live in conditions of poverty and social exclusion. They will not be celebrating cultural diversity nor taking a long weekend tourist break.”

Her remarks were particularly poignant for me because Fionuala, photographer Paul Jeffrey and I spent two weeks recently in the Gran Chaco region of Argentina and Bolivia, talking to members of indigenous communities about their lives and seeing the impact CWS-supported programs have had on the communities.

It was one of the best experiences I have had traveling on assignment for CWS. Why? CWS work and support are really doing right by people. It is in Chaco that a visitor gets a real sense that CWS truly is “accompanying” communities in their struggles against hunger, poverty and marginalization.

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Vermont Congregation's "Special Drive" Nets 116 CWS School Kits

Lynn Thomas  |  October 10, 2014

Lynn Thomas and Estelle Holmquist

For more than 30 years, the Federated Church of Rochester, Vt., has made Church World Service one of its major missions. Estelle Holmquist has led this drive since she joined the church. 
Every spring we have a drive to make as many CWS Kits as we can. Then Estelle loads them up in her husband’s truck and drives to one of the state’s drop-off points for pickup by the CWS truck.

Many people in Central Vermont know firsthand about the great work that Church World Service does.  It was, after all, only three years ago that Hurricane Irene devastated the area. CWS sent kits of all kinds up here to help out.

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Mourning the Death, Celebrating the Life of Joann Hale

Barry Shade  |  October 7, 2014

On Saturday, Sept. 20, family, friends and colleagues of Joann Hale from near and far gathered in Grand Island, N.Y., to mourn her untimely death from a heart attack Aug. 18 and to celebrate her life and legacy as a loving wife and mother, friend, and advocate for the vulnerable, especially those coming through disaster situations.

Joann and I worked together at Church World Service for the past 3-1/2 years.  She was a U.S. Disaster Response Specialist, and I am the CWS Associate Director for U.S. Disaster Response, so officially I was her supervisor. But I never liked to think of myself as her boss but rather as her partner.

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