2/15/2012 1:37:00 PM CRS considers better stoves for refugees
Fred Colgan photo
Stoves being sent to Kenya.
Catholic News Service photo
Girls carry water in the village of Sochanoue, a community that resides on a lake outside Cotonou, Benin. Catholic Relief Services helps fight malaria in the village by providing prevention education, medication and mosquito nets for bedding. Malaria is the leading cause of death for children under 5 in Benin.
Catholic Charities prepares for the 2012 Operation Rice Bowl
Operation Rice Bowl, Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten program, calls participants to pray with their families and faith communities, fast in solidarity with those who hunger, learn about our global community and the challenges of poverty overseas, and give sacrificial contributions to those in need. Proceeds from Operation Rice Bowl fund development projects that benefit the most vulnerable of the poor, and enable families to escape abject poverty and become self-sufficient.
In the Archdiocese of Portland, Operation Rice Bowl is overseen by Catholic Charities. Through Operation Rice Bowl, donors can bring critical aid to the poor both overseas and at home. Donations made to Operation Rice Bowl through the local Catholic Charities office are distributed both internationally and locally.
Seventy-five percent of Rice Bowl proceeds benefit Catholic Relief Services to increase food security in communities in more than 40 countries, and 25 percent of Rice Bowl donations remain in the archdiocese and are distributed by Catholic Charities to provide food assistance throughout Western Oregon.
With funds from the campaign, farmers in Madagascar can improve their harvests using environmentally sensitive techniques that help preserve the land for future generations. In El Salvador, water and sanitation projects will help bring clean water to families and communities. In Vietnam, education programs support and promote quality education for all people. In Zambia, microfinance programs help people in the poorest communities earn more money to support their families and set aside savings for the future.
In this archdiocese, there are many programs that benefit from folks’ Lenten donations. They include: Bethany House in Gresham, (food for pregnant and parenting mothers and children); Bradley Angle (emergency shelter, advocacy and support to victims of domestic violence); Community Warehouse (basic household furnishings to the poor); Faith Café in Beaverton (food and meal supplies); FISH of Roseburg (food pantry); Magdalene Home in Medford (food for pregnant or parenting teens and their infants); Meals for Seniors, Inc. in Rockaway (emergency food services); Mother & Child Education Center of Portland (support for pregnant women); Northwest Catholic Counseling Center (mental health services to the poor); Safe Haven Maternity Home of Roseburg (food for maternity home residents);
St. Alexander Church in Cornelius (emergency assistance); St. Andrew Emergency Services in Portland (food boxes); St. Edward Church in Keizer (food for Interfaith Hospitality Network); St. Joseph Shelter/Benedictine Foundation in Mount Angel (food for shelter residents); St. Peter Church in Newberg (food and cooking supplies); St. Philip Benizi Helping Hands in Oregon City (food pantry); St. Rita Church (community supper); St. Vincent de Paul – Immaculate Heart in Portland (food pantry); St. Vincent de Paul - St. Edward Conference in Lebanon (food pantry);and St. Vincent de Paul/Talent Home Visit Team (affiliation with Our Lady of Mountain/Ashland)
The campaign begins Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, but donations can be received through parishes or Catholic Charities any time during the year. Donations can be given directly to parishes or mailed to Catholic Charities, 2740 SE Powell Blvd., Ste. 1, Portland, OR 97202.
Clarice Keating Of the Catholic Sentinel
This spring, Fred Colgan will get cooking in Kenya with efficient wood-burning stoves.
Colgan and his wife Lise will travel to Africa to demonstrate how the stoves decrease deforestation, and smoke and greenhouse gases harm, to field workers from Catholic Relief Services, World Health Organization and the UNICEF.
Fred, a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Cottage Grove, produces, boxes and distributes the stoves to developing nations throughout the world. Until this year, the stoves have been produced on his land near Cottage Grove, but Fred hopes to open his first overseas factory in 2012.
CRS is one of the main supporters of Dadaab in Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp, where field agents work with refugees who have flooded in from Somalia to escape political violence and starvation. Fred and Lise have just returned from three months’ travel, when they brought stoves to Darfur, as well as every single refugee camp in Ethiopia.
Fred hopes the field agents will be receptive to the project. He believes they are the most efficient stoves on the planet.
At one point, there were a half-million refugees in Dadaab who CRS was helping assist.
“In the camps, they cook over open fires, burning up mountains of wood,” Fred said.
“There are lots of health issues form the smoke, so we’re addressing a lot of those problems.”
Members of their parish are very supportive of the Colgans’ ministry. Lise is one of the coordinators of the parish-wide Operation Rice Bowl fundraiser every year, with Fred’s help.