Lutherans in the Lower Mainland volunteer to send aid to Tanzanians

BC Baling Days volunteers prepare a shipment. Photo: Cathy Schreirer

BC Baling Days volunteers prepare a shipment. Photo: Cathy Schreirer

Abbotsford, B.C. – Volunteers from Lutheran congregations in Abbotsford and other communities in the Lower Mainland will gather together on May 13 and 14 to send aid to people halfway around the world.

They are working with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) to ship donated clothing, blankets, hygiene supplies, medical supplies and other needed items to Tanzania. A 40-foot shipping container is being loaded at 31414 Marshall Road, at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) warehouse, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.

This annual event, called B.C. Baling Days, has been happening for over 20 years. Volunteers will sort the items, pack them into bales and load them into the shipping container.

Long-time volunteer Ed Jacob, of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Richmond, B.C., has been helping with Baling Days since the mid-‘90s, and in recent years, he has acted as the project’s coordinator. He has seen the project evolve as more donations come in.

“In the last few years, we have found that there was too much to be baled in a day, so we recruited a number of people to start baling the day before,” says Jacob. “It has now developed into a two-day affair.”

“We appreciate the use of MCC’s warehouse to bale and pack the shipment.”

Even though almost 90 per cent of people living in Tanzania live on less than $2 a day, the eastern African country is generous in providing refuge to people fleeing wars in neighbouring countries. The items in the shipment will go to help refugees and Tanzanians who are in need.

The goods are donated by Canadian Lutherans who participate in CLWR’s We Care program, and by local and national partner organizations. A new partner, Compassionate Resource Warehouse in Victoria, B.C., donated hand tools and work boots.

“It is only through the outstanding generosity of our supporters that we can send items to those in need,” says Patrick Stewart, coordinator of CLWR’s We Care program. “This is one way that Canadian Lutherans make a difference in the lives of those far away from them.”

CLWR’s We Care program sends about four relief shipments a year to countries around the world.

PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITY: The 40-foot shipping container will be loaded at the Mennonite Central Committee’s warehouse (31414 Marshall Road, Abbotsford) from May 13-14, 2013, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Canadian Lutheran World Relief carries out international relief, development, and refugee resettlement on behalf of Lutherans in Canada. Our vision is a world where people live in justice, peace and dignity, united in diversity, and empowered to achieve their universal rights to basic needs and quality of life. www.clwr.org

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