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CRS Commits $1 Million to Food Crisis Response

Catholic Relief Services is responding to the with an initial $1 million commitment in private funding for projects over the next two months that will help hungry people in a half dozen countries buy food and prepare for the next planting season.

The response reflects CRS' ongoing two-pronged strategy of providing food, cash and vouchers to meet the immediate needs of those struggling to cope with rising food prices, particularly the urban poor, while also supporting smallholder farmers to increase crop production and improve market access. The use of CRS private funds will help to leverage substantial public funding in the near future.

Food distribution

Students have a free meal distributed by a government-run school in a village in India. Photo by Reuters/Jayanta Dey, courtesy AlertNet

This initial response targets countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe.

"This is the first salvo in what will be a long-term response to a long-term crisis," says CRS President Ken Hackett. "This food crisis is just beginning. By early next year, it will be deeper and broader as more segments of society are pushed into poverty by the combination of higher prices for food and energy worldwide. We must act now."

CRS has also already received a substantial $10 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) office of Food for Peace to meet the immediate needs of those most affected by the food crisis in Haiti. This emergency food security program will enable CRS to reach more than 382,000 Haitians during the next year.

CRS Haiti is distributing 7,730 metric tons of cereals, legumes and oils to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable groups through orphanages, nutrition programs for pregnant and nursing women, primary school lunches, and assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS. To meet the longer-term and livelihood needs of families, a food-for-work program will help people help themselves by improving agricultural infrastructure and drainage to mitigate the effects of ecological degradation and severe weather.

Priority Projects

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org

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