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Farmer-to-Farmer Aid in Armenia


A project beneficiary carryies his lamb home.

Fremont, Michigan, is a small town with a big project. Fourteen years ago, a few farmers and their local churches started a Growing Project with the Foods Resource Bank (FRB). That is, they agreed to combine resources, donate a share of their crops, and raise money to help disadvantaged farmers in other parts of the world. Since then, their project has expanded to involve 20 farmers, 10 churches, several local businesses, and many individuals and organizations.

Gloria Switzer, the leader of a local peace and justice group, is proud to be part of the Fremont Growing Project. “FRB is carrying out its mission of ensuring that food is a human right for all persons,” she writes.

Switzer has traveled with FRB to several countries, including Armenia, where the UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, partners with FRB to increase food security. “These trips have changed the way I eat, what food I buy, and my awareness of how many hands my food passes through before it comes to my table,” she writes. One Great Hour of Sharing Sunday pays for the overhead for UMCOR.

In Armenia, Switzer says, she enjoyed meeting UMCOR’s field staff, whom she called “dedicated, compassionate, and passionate about improving the lives of the most vulnerable Armenians.”

UMCOR’s agriculture team in Armenia provides communities in need with education and agricultural inputs such as livestock and beehives, and asks beneficiaries to “pass on the gift” when their new animals have offspring.

Staff introduce the idea during initial program meetings in the communities. Community members themselves then identify the beneficiaries of the “gift.” This model has met with great success in Armenia.

In fact, when UMCOR staff visited the remote village of Anipemza, they encountered beneficiaries who were going one step further. Instead of selling surplus milk and eggs to augment their families’ income, the villagers were sharing these products with their neighbors.

Why does this program work so well?

“We are certain that the farmer-to-farmer approach is one of the cornerstones of our project’s success,” reports Gohar Grigoryan, who leads UMCOR’s mission in Armenia. “It creates a spiritual link when the harvest grown by a [US] farmer… helps disadvantaged rural families on the other side of the world.”

This relationship is emphasized from the very first meetings with each new beneficiary community. “Throughout the implementation period, Armenian farmers share their gratitude with us, along with hope for a future in which Armenian farmers can assist other farmers in need,” Grigoryan indicates.

The spiritual kinship formed by farmers sharing their surplus across borders goes both ways. FRB’s farmer-to-farmer model fosters the understanding that we’re all in this together.


The Dysart, Iowa, Growing Project has received support from churches and Bible schools, as well as from many members of the local Lion’s Club.

“My goal in life has been to help my family and children to be better off than I have been,” writes Lowell Sanford, the project’s leader. “FRB enables us to help families help themselves wherever they are…. How better to improve someone’s life than to live a part of it with them?”

— story by Julia Kayser, writer and a regular contributor to www.umcor.org.

One Great Hour of Sharing offering, a United Methodist Special Sunday, enables the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to respond to disasters around the world by covering its operational and administrative costs. Unlike other mission programs, UMCOR receives no World Service or other apportionment money. By giving to One Great Hour of Sharing, you enable UMCOR to keep the promise that 100% of designated gifts will go to support the designated PROJECTS. Please continue to give generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Your gift can make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting. Click here to give online.

Downloadable Resources

2013 One Great Hour of Sharing Bulletin Insert - PDF format

2013 One Great Hour of Sharing Poster - PDF format  

2013 Special Sunday Combo - Mini Poster w/Dates - PDF format

 

Print Resources

Videos

If you need a higher resolution file for any of the video clips listed, contact the Connectional Giving Team being sure to specify which video you would like.

  • One Great Hour of Sharing: Accessing Safe Water

    This video shows UMCOR helping those in developing countries to have access to safe drinking water by drilling wells and educating them on sanitation and safe hygiene practices. This video is 2:38 minutes long.

  • One Great Hour of Sharing: Hope Rises


    This video shows images of UMCOR volunteers and staff helping individuals all over the country that have been affected by natural disasters. This video is 2:43 minutes long.

     

  • One Great Hour of Sharing: Rebuilding Japan


    This video shows UMCOR continuing to help those in Japan that were affected by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami to rebuild their infrastructures and get their lives back to normal as soon as possible. This video is 2:18 minutes long.

     

  • Bishop Bickerton encourages local churches to support UMCOR/OGHS

    Bishop Bickerton, resident Bishop of the Pittsburgh area and Western Pennsylvania Conference is encouraging local churches to give to One Great Hour of Sharing this Sunday. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing pays for the administration cost of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. When disaster strikes, UMCOR is ready to respond because the administrative costs are paid through gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. 

     

  • Bishop Dorff encourages local churches to support UMCOR/OGHS

    Bishop James E. Dorff of the San Antonio area (Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Annual Conferences) is encouraging local churches to give to One Great Hour of Sharing this Sunday. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing pays for the administration cost of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. When disaster strikes, UMCOR is ready to respond because the administrative costs are paid through gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. Local churches may select an alternative date to receive an offering for One Great Hour of Sharing if they are unable to celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing on March 10, 2013.

     

  • Bishop Dyck encourages local churches to support UMCOR/OGHS

    Bishop Bishop Sally Dyck of the Chicago area (Northern Illinois Annual Conference) encourages local churches to give to One Great Hour of Sharing this Sunday. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing pays for the administration cost of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. When disaster strikes, UMCOR is ready to respond because the administrative costs are paid through gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

     

  • One Great Hour of Sharing Kamina, Congo Video

     

    High-quality downloads: QuickTime (MP4) | Windows Media (WMV)
    (To download, right-click on the desired format and select "Save link as..." or "Save target as...")

  • Darryl Tate 
    In this 3 minute video, the Rev. Darryl Tate speaks about the importance of giving
    to one Great Hour of Sharing and how through the offering, UMCOR provided assistance
    in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

     

    High-quality downloads: QuickTime (MP4) | Windows Media (WMV)

  • U.S. Hurricane Recovery
    Hurricane Katrina was the largest natural disaster in United States history. This video highlights the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in the areas of disaster. UMCOR is financially supported through your One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
  • World Hunger
    This video focuses on world hunger and the work the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is doing to help those around the world develop sustainable agriculture and provide nutrition to those in need. UMCOR is financially supported through your One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

2009-2012 Special Sundays Pastor's Guide - PDF
Here's a guide that contains all the resources and ideas to help you promote the Special Sundays. This guide includes Talking points, sermon starters, children sermons, and much more.

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