The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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October 27, 2000 Issue

Better world

Area Catholics help church's overseas relief agency improve conditions for the poor

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

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 tuberculosis epidemic.

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 businesses.

Catholics can take pride in the work of CRS. To learn more about it and its work, visit its website,

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