2013 Annual Gathering Recap

2013 Annual Gathering Recap

Thank you to everyone who was part of FRB's 2013 Annual Gathering! Below is a recap of the event. Pictures are now avalible on Flickr!

Friendship CRC was the beautiful and uplifting setting for Foods Resource Bank’s summer board meeting and annual gathering August 8-10.  FRB extends its sincere gratitude to the many volunteers who warmly welcomed, guided, fed, informed, and entertained the nearly 300 guests.

The staff of FRB thanks FCRC for its generosity and hospitality, and deeply appreciates everyone’s work at setting up and taking down display tables and dining tables, serving meals, organizing rooms for the many informative breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday, housing visitors and driving them places, and so much more. Early arrivals enjoyed several “earlybird” workshops on topics related to growing projects, overseas programs, and ways to make a difference in the world with FRB.

The welcoming dinner on Friday evening was capped off by an inspirational performance and talk by The Conquerors and Women At Risk, who work toward the day when women and girls around the world are no longer enslaved and abused but can live happy, productive lives with their own families. 

Saturday morning’s worship service segued into the FRB annual meeting, which included a State of the Union address by FRB’s president, Marv Baldwin, and a keynote address by Rob Zeldenrust, a former State Department official who sees FRB’s smallholder ag development as a highly successful way of ensuring that poor rural families around the globe sustainably produce their own food. Guests received thanks and updates from this year’s overseas program visitors – Anahit Gasparyan and Hakob Margaryan from Armenia, and Zayda María Reyes from Nicaragua.  

There was a wide variety of breakout sessions throughout the day, presented by FRB volunteers who’ve led growing projects, visited FRB’s food security programs in some of the world’s most remote places, and in other ways supported FRB.  Visitors enjoyed this opportunity to learn from each other how they’ve approached similar challenges, and to get inspired by the many creative ways others address the complexities of world hunger.

The hallways were filled with displays of pictures and artifacts from some of FRB’s programs, or materials from a number of FRB’s member organizations. A Silent Auction and a “Bizarre Bazaar” gave attendees a chance to purchase beautiful artwork and artifacts from around the world and the U.S. Proceeds will be used to launch the new “Bev Abma Program-to-Program Scholarship Fund/Learning and Serving Together,” which will support exchange visits among farm communities overseas. Young volunteers from FCRC managed the Bazaar and also staffed a bracelet-making table, using beads donated by FRB travelers from all parts of the globe. 

On Saturday evening, friends and colleagues of Bev Abma celebrated her retirement after 15 years of service to FRB with a banquet in the ARC and a program in the Sanctuary. The evening program included accolades, personal memories, well-wishes, and a Sending Forth with song and a symbolic laying-on of hands to bless Bev in this next phase of her life. 

During the program Bev learned that FRB and colleagues had nominated her for the World Food Prize (she was not selected as the 2013 Laureate but continues to be eligible for the next 2 years). She received a book filled with cards, letters, photos and recipes from well-wishers around the globe. FRB staff reviewed the benefits of the Bev Abma “Learning and Sharing Together” Scholarship Fund, a cause dear to Bev because she has personally witnessed how program-to-program exchanges overseas inspire participants to learn from each other’s experiences.

Her daughter and daughter-in-law surprised her with a performance of variations on Bach's Air in G on piano and flute. Bev was gracious in her thanks to FCRC for her office space and the many members of the church who have supported her in a great variety of ways. She also acknowledged with thanks a number of individuals who have inspired her along the way. 

By Laurie Kaniarz, FRB Staff

08/26/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment