“Have you eaten today?” With that question, Laura Marie Piotrowicz introduced the food security campaign of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) to members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), which met here Nov. 14 to 17. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will lead the campaign.
“Have you eaten today?” will be one of “Fredisms” in the food security campaign, Fred Says, which now has a dedicated website, fredsays.ca.
The three-year campaign is aimed at raising awareness about food security, which refers to the availability of food and people’s access to it, says PWRDF in a statement.
In a video about the campaign that was shown to CoGS members, Hiltz says: “In Canada, we tend to greet one another with, ‘How are you?’ But in other parts of the world where food is scarce, a more common greeting is, ‘Have you eaten today?’ ” He then talks about PWRDF’s work with partners in Mozambique, which supports people living with HIV-AIDS by ensuring they have access to healthy food. Among them is Sifa Naru, a widow in Mozambique who was unable to take the anti-retroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV infection because she didn’t have food that must be taken with them. Inspired by her story, PWRDF is now providing food packets to Naru and hundreds of other patients like her.
Fredsays.ca will host resources, videos, stories and other information about the campaign and associated projects. Every two months, Hiltz will offer a new “Fredism,” explain the meaning behind it and spur Anglicans to action.
In “Have you eaten today?” for example, Hiltz urges Anglicans to meet a goal of providing 600 AIDS patients in Mozambique with food baskets, each containing two-months’ supply of beans, corn flour and other healthy options. A $40 donation will provide half a basket containing a month’s food supply for one AIDS patient; an $80 donation will buy one basket, containing two-months’ food supply for one AIDS patient; and a $160 donation will provide two baskets with two-months’ food supply for two AIDS patients.
In response, General Synod Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner told CoGS she had a toonie in her pocket that she hoped others would add to toward a food basket. By the end of the meeting, enough money had been raised to buy two food baskets.
Hiltz informed CoGS that he intends to focus a lot of time on the work of PWRDF, the national church’s relief and development arm, where he sits as president of the board of directors.
Meanwhile, PWRDF Executive Director Adele Finney also made a presentation to CoGS about PWRDF’s other areas of priority: preventive health, micro-finance, and maternal, newborn and child health programs.
These projects are being funded with donations from Anglicans and a $10 million grant over five years from the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, said Finney.
Piotrowicz also provided CoGS with an update on PWRDF’s response to the typhoon disaster in the Philippines. PWRDF has released an initial grant of $20,000 through Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a global ecumenical relief and development agency, of which it is a member. ACT Alliance has been working directly with PWRDF partners in the Philippines, and part of the grant has been used to send 5,000 food packages to victims in the affected areas.
CoGS also heard from Piotrowicz about her visit to the Philippines last February, where she and Elsa Tesfay, PWRDF partnership program manager, visited partners.