Harvest 4 Hunger event trying to alleviate tragedy in South Sudan

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Donations grant free admission to corn maze, fun farm on Aug. 24

Captain Cob’s Corn Maze at the Masstown Market is the site of the third annual Harvest 4 Hunger N.S. Picnic, scheduled for Aug. 24.

As plans are put in place for the third annual Harvest 4 Hunger N.S. Picnic this Aug. 24 at the Captain Cob’s Corn Maze at Masstown Market, it is easy to be reminded about why this event is held.

The picnic is part of the Harvest 4 Hunger Growing Project where local farmers, agribusiness, Masstown Market and Trinity United Church work together to raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in an effort to end world hunger. Last year the group’s combined efforts from this project earned more than $13,000. This year it’s aiming for higher.

So why is this event held?

Canadian Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius and communications officer Amanda Thorsteinsson are in South Sudan, visiting Foodgrains Bank projects and partners who are responding to the needs of people affected by civil war in that country. But by the hustle and bustle of daily life in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba, you wouldn’t guess a war is on and people are dying.

Women walk down the street, carrying huge suitcases in their hands. Men are driving motorbikes around. Children are chasing each other up and down the streets. It looks normal. But the sad reasons the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is in South Sudan right now is that fighting between government and rebel forces in this young nation means many people are hungry.

More than a million people are displaced and as many as four million people are in danger of hunger. Children are going without food. The amount of overall human suffering caused by the conflict here is staggering.

That’s why Cornelius and Thorsteinsson are visiting Foodgrains Bank member projects and partners who are responding to this suffering. Thorsteinsson is taking photos and recording the stories of what’s happening to the people in this country, while Cornelius’ goal is to assess the situation and determine the best way Foodgrains Bank members can help.

And a lot of help is needed. The huge numbers of people affected by the crisis are hard for to comprehend. To try and put it in perspective, it’s as though the entire population of Nova Scotia were displaced and more than all of the Atlantic provinces were in danger of severe hunger.

But helping the children and their parents is difficult. There’s only about 56 kilometres of paved roads in all of South Sudan. All the other roads are dirt. Right now, it’s the rainy season. That means mud. Getting big trucks of emergency food through roads of thick mud in the midst of violent conflict is more than just difficult. It’s a nightmare.

The only hope for the millions who are in danger of hunger is an end to the conflict. Until then, groups like Canadian Foodgrains Bank are responding.

This is one of the many reasons Brenda Leenders, N.S. coordinator for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and her husband, Ian MacHattie, volunteer with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. They see the capacity in Canadians to respond with compassion to the plight of the hungry around the world.

To learn more, visit www.foodgrainsbank.ca to donate on line, or visit the Harvest 4 Hunger N.S. Picnic on Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Captain Cob’s Corn Maze at Masstown Market. The Corn Maze and Fun Farm are open for the day, and admission is waved in lieu of a donation to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank project and Harvest 4 Hunger N.S.

Bring a donation and join in the fun!

 

Organizations: Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Masstown Market, Masstown Market and Trinity United Church

Geographic location: South Sudan, Nova Scotia

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