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Catholic Vancouver Oct 9, 2017

Langley-based group feeding children overseas

By Joseph Krentz

Joseph Krentz (in blue) and Matt Vaney with Avenue Machinery in Abbotsford, load a tractor into a  container Aug. 29. The container was shipped to Sierra Leone as part of the support given to the Diocese of Bo by the Langely-based NGO Canadian Food For Children. (Joseph Krentz / Special to The B.C. Catholic)

(Special To The B.C. Catholic)

LANGLEY—The mission of the Canadian Food For Children (CFFC) is to help the suffering and starving children of the world by raising funds to purchase food for the hungry in developing or disaster-stricken countries.

In Canada, we've been incredibly fortunate to never have experienced the difficulties we see in the world every day. We can’t imagine what it’s like to go hungry.

We’re all looking to make a difference in our world and I believe that by focusing on communities, we’re going to make the most substantial impact. The world is made up of these important social connections and, if fostered positively, they’ll pay huge dividends – in love, care, and a better world.

CFFC has a volunteer force of workers and was started in 1990 in White Rock. It began with one or two shipped containers a year to Latin American countries where food shortages were due to political unrest and or natural disasters. Dried non-perishable items were packed into pails, shipped to Toronto, and then exported from there.

By the mid-1990s CFFC had moved to Langley. I was a parishioner at Langley's St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and many of the parishioners volunteered for CFFC.

In 1997 I was selected to take over the daily operations of the CFFC. Twenty years later, and now 87, I am still at the helm.  I work with more than 40 volunteers (teachers, engineers, and retirees) throughout the Lower Mainland.

So far, 2017 has been a busy year. We have already shipped approximately 60,000 pounds of food to Haiti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya. We send 500,000 pounds of food to the Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone annually (for the past three years) at a cost of $100,000 per year. In July, Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free, allowing the public to travel and gather freely.

We were also recently informed the Diocese of Bo had 150 acres of farmland in a local parish there and the parish priest has expressed interest in the CFFC starting an agricultural program. They currently farm the land by hand.

CFFC agreed to supply farming equipment since it was more advantageous for the people to raise their own food rather than importing it with all the political red tape.

The cost of food, including shipping costs, is approximately $100,000 per year, but the cost of sending the equipment, including shipping, was only $125,000.

All the equipment that was sent was brand new. The equipment, two Massey Ferguson tractors, plows, discs, and harrows, was purchased from Avenue Machinery in Abbotsford. The machinery was loaded into a 45-foot container and shipped to Sierra Leone at the beginning of September.

CFFC currently has a similar request for farm machinery from the Diocese of Homor in Kenya. CFFC is currently researching this request and if approved we will ship what equipment we can within our budget.

With financial support from parishes, individuals, and businesses within the Archdiocese of Vancouver, we are hopeful that this worthwhile humanitarian effort can be continued.

If you'd like to donate to CFFC, please visit our website: candianfoodforchildrenbc.com.

Joseph Krentz is the CEO of Canadian Food For Children.

Michael Strong loads a plow into a shipping container Aug. 29. The container was shipped to Sierra Leone as part of the support given to the Diocese of Bo by the Langely-based NGO Canadian Food For Children. (Joseph Krentz / Special to The B.C. Catholic)