Interfaith Delegation to Take
Supplies to North Koreans

A high level interfaith delegation will visit North Korea from November 4 to November 8 to express solidarity with the people of that country, many of whom are suffering from famine, and to bring relief supplies.

The delegation represents members of the Interfaith Hunger Appeal (IHA): Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

"The Interfaith Hunger Appeal is a partnership of peoples and agencies rooted in faith, working to promote the reconciliation of all peoples of the earth and freedom from hunger around the world," said Kenneth F. Hackett, President of the Board of Directors of IHA and Executive Director of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services.

"This visit will show the concern of the Jewish, Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in the United States for the severe food shortages besetting our Korean brothers and sisters," said Hackett, who will lead the delegation to North Korea.

The IHA delegation will bring much needed dietary supplements to North Korea. IHA is to donate $100,000 worth of multi-vitamins and iron-mineral supplements which will go to children at nurseries and kindergartens and to pregnant and lactating women.

Over the past three years, IHA members have contributed a combined total of almost $2.6 million in humanitarian assistance to North Korea, including food, seeds, medicines, water purification tablets, clothing and blankets.

The IHA delegation includes: Most Rev. John H. Ricard, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee and President of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services; Rabbi Alexander Schindler, Immediate Past President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; Bishop Howard Ernest Wennes, Bishop of Grand Canyon Synod, representing Lutheran World Relief; and Victor Hsu, Director, East Asia and the Pacific Program, Church World Service. The Korean Christians Federation (KCF) and the Catholic Association through the KCF is to host the delegation.

Floods, drought and typhoons over the past three years have created extreme food shortages in North Korea. With severe crop damage again this year due to natural disaster, the United Nation's World Food Program estimates North Korea needs an additional 2 million to 2.5 million tons of food aid. "By visiting North Korea, the Interfaith Hunger Appeal wishes to make the plight of Koreans known to Americans of all faiths," said Hackett.

Formed in 1977, the goals of Interfaith Hunger Appeal are:

  • to serve as an example to our communities and the world of interfaith collaboration.
  • to combat hunger and poverty abroad through our partner agencies, and at home through education and awareness.
  • to educate about peace and reconciliation in the international context.
  • to facilitate agency cooperation on domestic outreach.

    Catholic Relief Services is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community.

    Church World Service is the relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the nation_s leading ecumenical organization with 33 Protestant and Orthodox member denominations comprising 52 million Christians.

    Lutheran World Relief works in relief and development on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod.

    JDC is the overseas arm of the American Jewish community, working to meet Jewish needs around the globe through rescue, relief and reconstruction. Through its International Development Program, JDC also conducts international development and emergency relief efforts that aid people in need on a non-sectarian basis. The number of people aided by the JDC since its inception in 1914 reaches into the millions.

    Posted October 28, 1997
    Copyright ©1997 Interfaith Hunger Appeal

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