Editor’s note: I’m happy to share that I will be participating in one of the CRS Helping Hands Meal Packaging Events at World Meeting of Families. I’ll be serving with them at 11:45 on Wednesday and would love to meet you if you plan to participate in this event. Learn more at http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/get-involved/helping-hands/. Lisa Hendey
Mission of Helping Families Thrive Comes to Life in CRS’ Booth, CRS Helping Hands Meal Packing Event, and in Talk by Carolyn Woo, President & CEO
Baltimore, MD, September 15, 2015 – When the doors open for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Philadelphia onSept. 22, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will be there to show the world how the humanitarian agency’s work to help families thrive in 100 countries directly answers Pope Francis’s call to serve those “on the margins”.
“We want people to know that CRS brings the highest level of skill, compassion and expertise to the challenges of global poverty, serving people in ways that honor their dignity and strengthen their resilience,” said Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer for CRS. “We work with the local Church and local communities on many fronts to help establish pathways for communities to become healthier, more educated, and better equipped to create a life that sustains families.” Sean Callahan will be at WMOF on Thursday September 24.
WMOF participants will be able to meet and hear from CRS president Carolyn Woo, help feed the hungry in the West Africa, and learn about the CRS story by connecting with families around the world.
“Just as Pope Francis does a remarkable job of building bridges among individuals, faith communities, governments and the issues we all face, we want to be a bridge between families here in the United States and families overseas,” said Joan Rosenhauer, executive vice president of U.S. Operations for CRS.
The result is in the CRS booth in Philadelphia where visitors will see pictures of families CRS serves overseas with their answers to the question, “What does family mean to you?” The visitors will have their photo taken holding up their answers to the same question.
“It’s going to be so interesting to compare the answers,” Rosenhauer said. Joan Rosenhauer will be at WMOF on Thursday September 24.
After two days as an interactive photo display, the CRS booth — 525 in Exhibit Hall C — will convert to an international Fair Trade bazaar with items created by artisans around the world for sale.
CRS, in partnership with Stop Hunger Now, is also allowing people to take action against world hunger with a Helping Hands Meal Packing Event.
“We’ll pack 200,000 nutritious meals to feed orphans, young women and widows in social service programs supported by CRS in the West African nation of Burkina Faso,” said Rachael Holmes, CRS Helping Hands program manager.
In Burkina Faso, a land-locked country in the Sahel region of Africa that the United Nations ranks as the world’s third-poorest nation, most farmers operate at a subsistence level. Recurring droughts and severe floods lead to widespread, chronic food shortages.
“The social service programs CRS supports are the safety net for some of Burkina Faso’s most vulnerable people,” said Holmes.
Some 3,500 people of all ages will work over seven shifts to measure, fill, pack and box meals for shipping. Combined with meals packed at the youth congress event, they will fill a 40-foot container bound for Burkina Faso.
“The food should arrive by Christmas,” said Holmes. “That’s quite a present for the people at World Meeting of Families to send to our brothers and sisters in need.”
At the beginning of each of the seven shifts, participants will meet and hear from Thomas Awiapo of Ghana. Thomas’destiny was altered when — as a young and hungry orphan who lost two brothers to starvation — he was lured to school by the free lunches funded by CRS. Today Thomas holds a master’s degree in public administration and works for CRS.
“You can call me the poster child for CRS but we’d be closer to the truth if you called my children your poster children,” he said. “They have never experienced hunger or poverty in their lifetime, and today they attend university, high school and secondary schools without missing a beat.”
Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo from Bukina Faso will also attend the Helping Hands event.
“Burkina Faso is a poor country and most people in the U.S. can’t even find it on a map. But even though you don’t know the face of the children you are sending this food to, you are helping. I can tell you how we feel. We feel thankful, so thankful for what you are doing,” said Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo during a recent visit to CRS’ world headquarters in Baltimore, MD.
The CRS Helping Hands event takes place in Exhibit Hall B. The seven one—hour shifts begin Wednesday and go through Friday morning.
There will be three opportunities to meet and hear CRS President and CEO Carolyn Woo who has dedicated her life to working for a better world. Before coming to CRS in 2012, she led the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business to its current standing as one of the top business schools in the U.S. Not only a great teacher, thinker and speaker, Woo serves as a model of the Gospel’s call to bring the best of ourselves to those who need our help.
Carolyn Woo’s schedule at WMOF:
- Session Chair: “The Holy Family and the Holiness of Family”, Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM.
- Breakout Session Speaker: “Life Is Good: Proclaiming the Love of Christ to the World”, Friday September 25, 2015 from 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM.
- Book signing: “Working for a Better World”, Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 1:30 – 2:30 PM, OSV Booth #712- 724