YAKIMA, WA (October 28, 2013)—Ten Covenant churches will participate in bagging more than 600 pounds of pre-purchased apples on Saturday that were sold to raise $7,000 for a research and training farm in the Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Individual churches held pre-sales of apples, selling ten-pound bags for $10 each. That is equivalent to the cost of planting two fruit trees at the Centre d’Expérimentation et de Formation Agricole (Center for Experimentation and Training in Agriculture) in the CAR, says Mark Swanson, pastor of Wiley Heights Covenant Church in Yakima, which is facilitating the project.
“The farm shares knowledge, techniques, seeds, and roots with local farmers,” Swanson says. “The CAR consistently ranks as having one of the highest mortality rates in the world and is plagued with chronic malnutrition, especially for children.”
Participants will bring the apples back to their churches to be distributed. Funds will be distributed through Covenant World Relief.
Yakima Valley growers committed to donating bins of apples to make the sale possible and to enable 100 percent of the proceeds to be given to the farm. Other local Yakima businesses have donated bags, boxes, and graphic design work.
“The hope is for the project to grow if more donated apples can be secured in the future,” Swanson says. This is the second year for the project.
The project is done with the help of Foods Resource Bank, a national organization that “raises resources to support the capability and desire of small farmers in developing countries to grow lasting solutions to hunger.” It is a frequent partner with Covenant World Relief. The funds are raised predominantly through growing projects in agricultural communities across the United States.
In addition to Wiley Heights, participating Covenant congregations are soon-to-be Yakima Covenant Church (currently Westminster Presbyterian), Iglesia Latino Americano Arlington United Church in Arlington, Quest in Seattle, Alive Covenant Church in Pulsbo, Graham Covenant Church in Graham, First Covenant Church in Everett, Highland Covenant Church in Bellevue, First Covenant Church in Seattle, and Hillsview Community Church in Damascus, Oregon. Christ Episcopal Church in Zillah also is taking part.