Gold medal speed skater signs up to be farmer for fundraising campaign

A new initiative invites groups and individuals to sponsor an acre

Olympic gold medal-winning speed skater Cindy Klassen has signed up to be a farmer this summer as part of a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) fundraising campaign.

“This year, I’m helping provide food for hungry people around the world by trading in my skates and becoming a farmer,” she says in a release. “And I invite others to join me!”

Klassen isn’t actually going to drive a tractor, plant seeds and then harvest a crop.

Instead, she’s providing $300 to pay for the costs of growing one acre on a farm in southern Manitoba through Grow Hope, a new joint project of Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba and Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

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After harvest, the crop will be sold for as much as $500 per acre, which will then be deposited into the MCC account in the CFGB.

When MCC withdraws the funds for its programs in the developing world, it can be matched up to 4:1 by the Canadian government — the $300 sponsorship can grow into as much as $2,500 when used for humanitarian aid.

“In other words, these gifts will grow, both literally as a crop rises from the ground, and financially as the crop is sold and matched by the Canadian government,” says Brad Reimer, who directs communications and donor relations for MCC Manitoba.

The goal of Grow Hope is to invite churches, families and individuals to help people who are hungry in the developing world by joining Klassen in sponsoring an acre.

“Sponsors will get updates about the crop through the growing season and have access to educational, worship and devotional resources about farming, food and hunger,” Reimer says.

“We think this is an excellent and powerful way for a Sunday school class, small group, or for the whole church to help people who don’t have enough to eat.”

Sponsors who live in southern Manitoba will also be invited to come to the farm to see the crops harvested at the end of the growing season.

Funds raised by Grow Hope will be used by MCC to respond to food emergencies, to help people in the developing world achieve food security, or to provide nutritious food for mothers and children.

People who want to be part of Grow Hope can learn more and sign up at the Mennonite Central Committee Grow Hope website or call MCC at 1-888-622-6337.

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