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Fighting Hunger With Knowledge

By Patrick Carney

It's easy to say we feed the hungry, but what does that really mean?

Ending hunger means much more than handing out food. Except in emergencies and cases of dire need, supporting Catholic Relief Services means helping people feed themselves. It means families and whole communities prosper. It means they always know where their next meal will come from: their own fields.

Josefa Lambi checks on plants

CRS helps people like Josefa Lambi in Nicaragua grow their own food. Here, Josefa checks on plants in a vegetable seedling greenhouse. Photo by Silverlight for CRS

If you demand careful and lasting approaches to ending hunger, let CRS be your hands at work around the world. When you support CRS, you are teaching farmers innovative methods to improve their harvests, connecting poor farmers to worldwide markets, distributing food to the most vulnerable people around the world and preventing the spread of crippling crop disease.

You respond to the poorest of the poor with compassion, and with your help, CRS responds with decades of expertise.

You Help Farmers Innovate

When you help farmers eliminate middlemen, they earn more for their crops.

By using CRS-built bean processing plants, farmers are able to increase the value of their product and sell their beans for 67 percent more than before the plant was constructed. By installing drip irrigation systems, farmers have been able to use 50 percent less water and 34 percent less fuel. By teaching farmers better agricultural techniques, they can produce a greater harvest at a lower cost.

Meet Jefferson Shriver. See how his team is making these innovations a reality for farmers across Latin America.

You Connect Farmers With Worldwide Markets

CRS is connecting farmers with suppliers and vendors with agricultural cooperatives to help the poorest farmers thrive. Now, using improved business techniques, farmers are able to increase their profits.

By improving their networks, farmers in Nicaragua and Ecuador have been able to sell cocoa for $1.75 per pound rather than the 75 cents that local vendors had been paying them.

You Give Food to the Poorest People Around the World

Your support allows CRS to be the largest private distributor of U.S. food aid in the world.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food…. Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."

—Matthew 25:35–40

Experience has taught us how to ensure food distributions are safe, well managed, and reach the right people. See how CRS teamed with the U.S. Army and held one of the most successful food distributions shortly after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. By using a voucher system, after carefully evaluating the situation, CRS was able to get lifesaving food into the hands of the neediest Haitians affected by the quake.

You Prevent the Spread of Devastating Crop Diseases

With your support, CRS works in countries throughout Africa to ensure that crops are healthy. By planting disease-resistant cassava plants, a staple in many countries, we are creating a barrier between the disease and other crops. Together, you and CRS are working to stop the spread of crop diseases to ensure that people will have enough food to eat.

CRS leads the Great Lakes Cassava Initiative, funded by the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation, to prevent the spread of diseased plants.

It's easy to think that feeding our poor brothers and sisters overseas is as simple as giving handouts to the hungry. But, it really isn't that simple. By increasing innovation and opportunity, CRS is helping the poorest communities around the world become more self-sustainable.

How You Can Help

You can continue to help our hungry brothers and sisters around the world.

Light a candle in our virtual chapel and pray for those who go hungry each day.

Join Catholics Confront Global Poverty to advocate on behalf of those who are hungry.

Donate now to help CRS continue to feed hungry families around the world.

Patrick Carney is a CRS writer, editor and web producer. He is based in Baltimore, Maryland.

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