The eleventh day of Lent

Monday after 2 Lent

As we begin Lent 2010, the global economy continues to be on shaky ground and this puts the poorest populations at even greater risk than usual. Not only are the needy themselves constantly looking for their next meal or for the next meal to feed their families, but the agencies that provide relief are finding that their resources are running low both because of increasing demands placed upon them and also because many of the contributors upon whom they rely are unable to maintain past standards of giving. Major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile have increased the strain on aid agencies. Last week, we suggested a form of active almsgiving close to home. This week we turn to the global community with our suggestion.

One of our favorite causes is an organization called the Heifer Project. Founded by a Church of the Brethren relief worker named Dan West, the basic principle of the Heifer Project is summarized in West's realization that "these children don't need a cup, they need a cow." There will always be a need for short-term relief efforts in the wake of catastrophe, but the most effective long-term solution to world hunger is to enable people to produce their own food. Thus, in 1944, the first shipment of 17 heifers left Pennsylvania for Puerto Rico. Today, Heifer International provides all kinds of livestock to people around the world, along with training for their care and, in return, a commitment from the recipients that the gift will be passed on. Read more here about how Heifer International works. And here are videos about some current projects.

There are many ways to give to Heifer. You can give a heifer for $500 or a flock of chicks for $20. You can make a personal gift or you can organize your church, your fellow workers, or your neighborhood to give a whole "Ark."


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