Cindy Klassen and Grow Hope farmers
CFGB

At the Grow Hope harvest celebration, sponsors like the ones pictured got to visit the Grow Hope farm and meet Grow Hope spokesperson Cindy Klassen (left).

Over $92,000 raised for Mennonite Central Committee account in Canadian Foodgrains Bank

What do you get when you bring together 105 individuals and families, six churches and one company with a farmer?

You have the Grow Hope community growing project in Manitoba, a unique effort to raise funds for the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) account in Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Grow Hope was a great example of urban and rural people coming together to help people who don’t have enough to eat"

The project, which invited people in the province to sponsor an acre on the farm of Grant and Colleen Dyck in Niverville, south of Winnipeg, raised $59,278—enough to provide for the planting, tending and harvesting of 197 acres of wheat.

After the harvest on August 19, a total of $92,400 was provided for MCC’s account in the Foodgrains Bank through the sale of the wheat.

When matched by funding from the Canadian government, as much as $462,000 will be available for MCC’s food assistance work in the developing world.

“Grow Hope was a great example of urban and rural people coming together to help people who don’t have enough to eat,” says John Longhurst, Director of Resources & Public Engagement for the Foodgrains Bank.

“It shows what can be accomplished when people come together for a good cause.”

An “Amazing Campaign”

A few days earlier, about 60 people who had sponsored acres gathered on a Sunday afternoon at the Dyck’s farm for a celebration and to see the crop before it was harvested.

 “The best thing about this project is how it excites others,” Grant told the gathering about the way the project had brought together urban and rural people.

 “There is something beautiful about getting together as a community to do good.”

Added Harold Penner, who represents the Foodgrains Bank in Manitoba: “There is something beautiful about getting together as a community to do good.”

“This is a wonderful idea,” said Ed Barkman, who helped to organize the project on behalf of MCC and the Foodgrains Bank.

“I hope we can see it spread to other provinces so others can join in through projects like this of their own.”

Vurayayi Pugeni, MCC’s Humanitarian Relief & Disaster Recovery Coordinator, shared about how funds raised through the project would be used by MCC in the developing world.

“What you are doing is going to touch a lot of people,” he said of how the assistance provided through the Grow Hope project would help people who sometimes have to decide between eating and providing medical attention for their children.

“You are giving these people opportunity, and the dignity of being able to feed themselves and their families.”

Also speaking at the event was Cindy Klassen, who offered to be the spokesperson for the project.

“This is such an amazing campaign, a way of giving back,” she said, adding that as a child she had often dreamed about becoming a farmer.

For David Turner, MCC Manitoba Communications Coordinator, the Grow Hope project was a resounding success.

"We thought that this was something that people would be enthusiastic about, but the response we got was even better than we expected," he says.

"We're excited about the idea of doing this again next year, and involving even more Manitobans as we work together to end hunger."