Members of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Holden are working toward their 13th Ark Award, given by Heifer International to congregations that raise $5,000 or more in a year. Much of this year’s contribution will come from a Living Gift Market scheduled at the church Dec. 6-7, 2014.
“We like to focus on things that help with hunger, homelessness and children,” said Richard Welch, co-coordinator of the St. Francis Missions Committee. “Heifer International fits right into our focus.”
St. Francis is located just 15 minutes from the Heifer Farm in Rutland, Mass. Generations of church members have visited the farm to see the animals and learn about Heifer projects. Because of that close connection, the annual Living Gift Market continues to be a success.
“I would say that more than half of our church members participate in the Living Gift Market annually,” said Welch. “We’ve seen first-hand how the projects are organized and how they help people.”
Founded in 1944, Heifer International is a global nonprofit leader of sustainable agricultural development for smallholder farmers. Family-oriented, community-based development models remain at the core of Heifer’s programs, along with the “Passing on the Gift®” process where families agree to give the first offspring of their donated animal to another family in need.
“Many organizations work to meet the needs related to hunger and poverty, but Heifer does it in a way that brings sustainability as well,” said Welch.
Heifer International’s stated mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
“Research tells us that an estimated 805 million people in the world don’t have enough to eat,” said Pat Keay, national community engagement director for Heifer International. “We know that with the right tools, training and livestock, small farms in impoverished nations can be transformed. We believe small farms are key to feeding the entire world. Support from churches like St. Francis is critical in helping us reach our goal of helping two million families annually.”
“When people hear how Heifer is helping people on a global scale and addressing hunger and poverty, they really respond to it in a positive way,” said Welch.
For information about Heifer’s Living Gift Market and other programs, or to order resources, visit www.heifer.org. In addition to the online resources, printed resources may be requested by calling (800) 422-0474.
About Heifer International:
Heifer International’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or call 1-800-696-1918.