Area Catholics help church's overseas relief agency
improve conditions for the poor
By Tony Staley
Name a country other than the U.S., Canada, Australia, China or
one in Western Europe and chances are Catholic Relief Services is
there improving the life of its poorest people.
Catholics from the Green Bay Diocese have long given generously
to CRS, said Holli Burge, senior communications associate, who on a recent
visit to our offices talked about the U.S. bishops' overseas relief agency. And we can point with pride to our own retired Bp. Aloysius Wycislo, who helped found CRS in 1943 to assist a war-torn world.
Today, CRS uses its budget of almost $400 million to serve
millions of people in more than 85 countries.
For example, after Hurricane Mitch, CRS distributed nearly $75
million in food, medicine, shelter, tools and bean seeds. When
ethnic Albanians fled their homes in Kosovo in 1999, CRS provided
food, shelter and emergency supplies to some 300,000 refugees.
In Southern Africa, CRS is helping to improve the quality of life
for those living with HIV/AIDS - no small task since one in five
adults there is HIV-positive. CRS also is working with the church
in the Congo to resolve disputes caused by ethnic wars.
In North Korea, CRS is providing treatment for a rapidly growing
In Israel, even during recent fighting, CRS continued to run
long-term development programs in numerous villages. It also sent
medical supplies to areas where the fighting was worst.
CRS does much to help women in developing countries. Women work
two-thirds of the world's working hours, produce half the world's
food, but earn only 10% of the world's income and own less than
1% of the property. In Gambia, CRS helped start a sesame oil
project that now involves 48,000 women. It has started banking
programs so women can receive small loans to start their own
Catholics can take pride in the work of CRS. To learn more about
it and its work, visit its website, www.catholicrelief.org.