Southern Baptists deliver boxes of food to Zimbabwe poor

By May 21, 2008

Zimbabwe (MNN) — In the midst of a food crisis exacerbated by bad weather and economic
and political turmoil, Southern Baptists are sending thousands of pounds of
food to Zimbabwe.  Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist
international relief and development organization, has already delivered over a
thousand 50-pound food parcels to the country and hopes to deliver 3,500
more. 

Each $80 parcel contains rice, dry beans, wheat flour,
cooking oil, salt, powdered milk, canned corn beef, sugar and tea–enough to
feed a family of six for one week.
Baptist Global Response delivered 600 parcels at Christmastime and 400
more after the first of the year. 

Although many countries are struggling with the crisis in
the food supply, Zimbabwe
has other problems that make the food problem worse. It has an inflation rate of 160,000 percent–the world’s highest. Many crops were
destroyed by flooding at the beginning of the year, and the year’s maize
harvest is suffering from extremely dry weather.  As a result, about one third of Zimbabwe’s
12 million people are receiving emergency food aid. 

Baptist Global Response is targeting the most vulnerable of Zimbabwe’s
poor, such as the elderly, orphans, and widows. It not only covers the costs of buying and shipping the parcels, but
pays for the fuel that Baptist churches in Zimbabwe use to deliver the parcels. 

Zimbabwe,
however, does not make it easy to deliver food parcels. Import fees are rising, and import processes
make it more difficult to transport parcels across the border. 

"We need Southern Baptists to pray that food parcels
will make it across the border and into the hands of the people who need them
so desperately," says Mark Hatfield, a leader for Baptist Global Response
in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The increased scarcity of fuel in Zimbabwe presents another
challenge. The neighboring country of Botswana recently banned the shipment of its
fuel to Zimbabwe. Its currency is also weakening, and it feels
the need to preserve its own fuel supply.

"Southern Baptists care about ministering in a holistic
way, and Zimbabwe
is in dire need," Hatfield said. "We can connect people in need with
people who care enough to help."

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