Our Abundant Thanks

Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

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Plenty. Abundance. A cornucopia of opportunity.

When you first hear or read these words, they may seem out of place when talking about the countries we serve. After all, Catholic Relief Services works with the poorest of the poor. We go into areas devastated by disaster. We help farmers rebuild after drought or flood. How can there be plenty where there’s seemingly nothing left?

Because no matter the disaster, the roots are still left behind: the people. When we work with communities and our partners, we are shown a world of limitless opportunity. The people we serve are resilient, strong, brimming with hope and possibility.

Leonidas Cantarero and his wife, Carmen, are benefiting from a CRS program that helps coffee farmers in Honduras improve their crops. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

CRS is currently responding to emergencies in more than 18 countries on 4 continents. That response includes helping those affected by Typhoon Koppu in the Philippines, Hurricane Patricia in Mexico and the Afghanistan/Pakistan earthquake. Every disaster is different, but there’s one constant—being there for our neighbors.

Conflicts in the Middle East have forced millions of people to flee their homes, communities and even countries. Many walk for days or weeks with just a few possessions in a bag. But their hearts are full of hope. Their hope inspires us to do our work; work that ensures everyone we serve is treated with dignity.

With Thanksgiving coming, we naturally think of family and feasts. But in many of the countries we serve, far too many children, women and men go hungry. We’re currently stepping up our emergency response in Ethiopia, where the current El Niño drought is putting more than 8.2 million people at risk of hunger.

With support from the U.S. government, CRS and our partners are distributing food to more than 2.2 million people. And our work goes beyond immediate need. In the coming months, CRS will hold seed and voucher fairs so farm families who’ve lost their crops—and seeds—will be able to plant next year. These fairs help farmers choose the varieties and quantities they need, and strengthen the local economy.

You help us serve people you will probably never meet face-to-face, people from countries like Burkina Faso. A landlocked country in the Sahel region of Africa, Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest nations. Recurring droughts and severe floods cause widespread, chronic food shortages. At the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, more than 3,000 people packed meals for hungry families in Burkina Faso as part of the CRS Helping Hands program. Thanks to these faith-filled volunteers, Burkina Faso will receive more than 200,000 meals by the end of the year.

At CRS, we are very thankful for our donors—you keep us strong and accountable every day of the year. As we begin the holiday season, we thank you for the harvest of riches we receive and share in 101 countries every day.