What do you get when you bring together 105 individuals and families, six churches and one company with a farmer?
You have the Grow Hope community growing project in Manitoba, an effort to raise funds for the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) account in Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
The project, which invited people in the province to sponsor an acre on the farm of Grant and Colleen Dyck in Niverville, south of Winnipeg, raised $59,278 — enough to provide for the planting, tending and harvesting of 197 acres of wheat.
After the harvest on August 19, a total of $92,400 was provided for MCC’s account in the CFGB through the sale of the wheat.
When matched by funding from the Canadian government, as much as $462,000 will be available for MCC’s food assistance work in the developing world.
“Grow Hope was a great example of urban and rural people coming together to help people who don’t have enough to eat,” says John Longhurst, director of resources and public engagement for the CFGB.
“It shows what can be accomplished when people come together for a good cause.”
An ‘amazing campaign’
A few days earlier, about 60 people who had sponsored acres gathered on a Sunday afternoon at the Dycks’ farm for a celebration and to see the crop before it was harvested.
“The best thing about this project is how it excites others,” Grant told the gathering about the way the project had brought together urban and rural people.
Added Harold Penner, who represents the CFGB in Manitoba: “There is something beautiful about getting together as a community to do good.”
“This is a wonderful idea,” said Ed Barkman, who helped to organize the project on behalf of MCC and the CFGB.
“I hope we can see it spread to other provinces so others can join in through projects like this of their own.”
Cindy Klassen offered to be the spokesperson for the project.
“This is such an amazing campaign, a way of giving back,” said Olympic skater Klassen who was the first person to sponsor an acre. She noted that as a child she had often dreamed about becoming a farmer.
“We thought that this was something that people would be enthusiastic about, but the response we got was even better than we expected,” said David Turner, MCC Manitoba communications co-ordinator.