Grow Hope Hutterites
MCC Photo/Ed Barkman

Jerry and Linda Waldner are members of Crystal Spring Hutterite Colony, and are offering 30 acres of land to MCC's Grow Hope Campaign. Jerry is the colony's farm manager.

A group of Hutterites are inviting Manitobans to join them as they work to raise money for MCC's Grow Hope campaign.

Crystal Spring colony near Ste. Agathe, Manitoba recently offered 30 acres of land to this fundraising campaign.

The colony of about 180 people farm wheat, canola, soybeans and spelt. The members share the profits, but also collectively donate time and money to charity.
This summer the colony has committed to farming a section of their land in support of MCC.

Jerry Waldner inspects wheat on the colony's property.MCC photo/Rachel Bergen

In support of Grow Hope, donors can sponsor partial or full acres of land on the colony’s farm. Throughout the growing season, the colony members will farm the land and donate the proceeds after harvest to MCC’s account at Canadian Foodgrains Bank. From there, the proceeds will be matched by the Canadian government. 

One acre costs $300, but that can translate to more than $2,500 for food projects around the world. If all the acres the colony is donating are sponsored by donors, it could translate to $75,000—money that will provide emergency food assistance and support long-term food security in places like Ethiopia and Syria.

Jerry Waldner is the farm manager for Crystal Spring Hutterite Colony.MCC photo/Rachel Bergen

According to Jerry Waldner, the farm manager at Crystal Spring, the colony members feel called to contribute to the campaign.

“It’s what we believe and that’s one of the commandments of God to help the poor,” he says.

“We have it so good compared to most people. The good Lord blesses us, and we have to share it,” colony member Linda Waldner adds.

Ian Kleinsasser is a kindergarten to grade three teacher at the Crystal Spring Colony School.MCC photo/Rachel Bergen

Ian Kleinsasser is a member of the colony and teaches kindergarten to grade three at the colony school. He says giving in this way honours their ancestors who immigrated from Germany, Hungary and Russia because of persecution, war, poverty and hunger.

“Our history is full of times where our people were starving. There’s a historic memory of hunger, homelessness, and being an immigrant. It’s important for us to remember there are still people out there who are poor, who are starving, who are homeless, and to be compassionate.”

Kleinsasser acknowledges some Hutterite colonies have historically been focused internally. 

“For many years there was a reality that Hutterites were inward looking. That has its roots in the process the Hutterites went through when they migrated from the U.S. to Canada. They felt a lot of public pressure, which caused them to huddle and look inward,” he explains.

“But we don’t only care about our communities.”

He says many communities have been reaching out more and making an impact in their communities.  

Crystal Spring members have contributed food to local homeless shelters, run for charity and taken part in missions work in a number of countries. Kleinsasser also cited the Baker colony near MacGregor and Green Acres colony near Wawanesa; both of which worked with the local community to sponsor Syrian refugee families. 

“One of our basic tenets is that we believe in community of goods and in living together, to help each other. Jesus’ command was not only to help the people around you but also to be compassionate to the poor who are not part of your group,” he says.

Hansel Kleinsasser, a member of Crystal Spring, plays in a wheat field. MCC photo/Rachel Bergen

The colony members are excited about connecting with non-Hutterites living in rural and urban settings and working together for a common goal.

“We’re leveraging the larger community – the city people, the rural people and bringing all that together for a good cause to make a difference in the world,” Kleinsasser says. 

“Together we can make a difference,” Jerry adds.

Join the Crystal Spring colony by sponsoring land through Grow Hope today!

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