Below is a post from Kathy's blog (http://kathyselsalvadorblog.blogspot.com/) about the need for funds to buy seeds for farmer in Berlin. I thought I'd post in on my blog as well.
In our travels this week with the Heartland delegation, we visited not only their sister communities of El Tablon Centro and Cerna, but Casa de Zacate as well. From our conversations with the 3 Directivas - and phone calls to the Pastoral Team from leaders of a couple other communities - we have discovered a vital need. By the end of this month, everyone who farms should be planting their new crop of beans. The problem is - the people do not have beans to plant. Part of this is due to the last 2 year's horrible crops. They didn't produce enough to eat let alone to have sufficient amounts to set aside for the following planting season.
The government had a seed (beans) giveaway recently - but hardly ANYONE in this municipality was given the seed. For example: only 3 out of 45 farmers from Santa Cruz, 3 out of 80 in Tablon Centro and 6 out of 25 in Casa de Zacate received their 'packet'. None out of the 48 families in Cerna nor the 44 families in Alejandria received any government seed.
So now the majority of people cannot plant. They are very worried they will not have food next year. The Pastoral Team considers this a crisis situation.
Scott Valentine (Clive, Heartland) made a suggestion - a good one. That I immediately communicate this need to Compañeros and see if we could get this information out to all our sister churches as well as our non-partner supporters.
I have faith in the folks in Iowa (and beyond) that they can raise the funds. The problem is the need for a rapid response. The planting should be done within the next three weeks!
Ideally, the farmers would need about 100# of seed to provide a family with thier food needs for the year as well as enough to sell for a bit of income with some leftover to safeguard for the following year's planting. But the Pastoral Team's thought is to try to raise funds for 40# per family farm. This quantity of seed would potentially provide enough beans for a family to eat for a year.
40# of seed costs about $50. There are roughly 1000 families in all the cantons of Berlin. That would be roughly $50,000 which we need by August 22nd.
The Pastoral Team has already started calling the Directiva of each community to ask how many families did not receive the government packet of seed and to organize and create community lists for disbursal. From this we will know exactly how many families are in need of this support.
Given the urgent nature of the situation, the Pastoral Team is suggesting that if you have already raised funds for a future project, you should put those funds toward this current and immediate need.
In a related topic: Currently, InterVida (an NGO) is helping communities develop Seed Banks but they are not yet fully operational. In the event that more funds are received than are needed to relieve this immediate crisis, they would go toward faciliiting additional seed banks in communities that do not yet have them. A seed bank would help a community avoid this kind of crisis in the future.
We thank you for your efforts and await with hope your rapid support. Follow the usual manner of getting funds to the mission. Send checks to the Presbytery of Des Moines, 2400 86th St., Suite 20, Urbandale, IA 50322. Please include in the memo section or in message to designate "Bean-Seed".
Kathy and the Pastoral Team