Roman Catholic Bishops, Volunteers Come Together to Feed Hungry

November 12, 2012 by

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, of Tucson, helps prepare food packets that will be sent to Burkina Faso. Together, lay volunteers and more than 30 bishops prepared 30,246 meals. Photo by Jim Burger for CRS

From the Baltimore Sun:

Roman Catholic Bishops, Volunteers Come Together to Feed Hungry
Religious Leaders, Others Prepare More than 30,000 Meals to Send to Burkina Faso

By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Roman Catholic bishops convening in Baltimore joined students and volunteers Sunday to transform a Harbor East hotel corridor into a food-packing operation to benefit West African orphans and battered women.

Measuring out thousands of plastic bags of dry soy protein, rice, vitamins and dried vegetables, enough to feed six people, the volunteers worked alongside the humanitarian effort’s sponsors, Catholic Relief Services and Stop Hunger Now, as well as the bishops.

“This is so much more fun than sitting in meetings,” said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., who is also Catholic Relief Services board chairman. “And it’s probably more meaningful, too. And, by the way, it’s great to see so many young people come out for an event like this.”

The bishops, meeting in Baltimore for an annual Fall General Assembly, relinquished their traditional miters and wore protective shower-cap-like headgear as they scooped out the rice into the smaller containers.

By the end of Sunday, thousands of meals stacked in the corridor of the Marriott Waterfront Hotel were in boxes ready for shipment to West Africa’s Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation of 15 million people.

Organizers of the event identified the country as one in need of additional food supplies.

Joshua Poole, a Catholic Relief Services employee who lives in Glen Burnie but spends most of his time in Africa, lifted 50-pound rice bags throughout the day to volunteers who portioned them into more manageable meals.

“There’s an incredible need in the Sahel, a desert-type region of West Africa,” Poole said. “The food will go schools offering feeding and to social protection agencies that care for orphans, battered women and women who escaped forced marriages, often at a very young age.”

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