Articles From the October 1994 Unification News


IRFF to Focus on World Hunger

by Cathy Winings-NYC

International Relief Friendship Foundation, Inc. (IRFF) directors, representing several international chapters of IRFF, met October 1, 1994 for their semi-annual meeting at Colle Mattia, outside of Rome, Italy. The meeting provided the directors an opportunity to offer reports on their work in 1994 as well as renew their friendships and vast networks. That, in and of itself, made for a good meeting. However, the highlight of the meeting was the decision to take on a common theme and concern worldwide. The area of concern which the various chapters will be working to resolve is the very serious challenge of "world hunger."

The impetus for this major shift in focus came from two concerns. The first was a strong need to be more supportive of Rev. and Mrs. Moon's providential concerns for God's children everywhere. A recurring theme of Rev. Moon's sermons and Mrs. Moon's addresses to women around the world has been world hunger. During a major address at the August 1st Ocean Day celebration at Belvedere in New York, Rev. Moon spoke at great length on the ways in which we can contribute to the solution of this age-old problem. A cornerstone of this plan involves the newly developed fish protein concentrate from International Seafoods of Alaska.

The IRFF directors felt that this was not only an opportunity for our agency to make a clear-cut contribution to God's kingdom, but that IRFF was uniquely situated to take this concern seriously and lead the way to bring this to the attention of the global community. The various chapters of IRFF worldwide have tackled many noble and worthy areas of need and conducted numerous projects. These projects have revolved around medical, educational, and social needs of individuals throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and Indo-Asia. However, with one common concern on which to focus, IRFF can make an even greater contribution to the healing process of God's children.

A second impetus came from the desire to more clearly define IRFF in the 90's and to re-assess IRFF's potential to make some valuable contribution as a humble relief agency. There are many worthy and notable relief agencies around the globe. Many of these agencies have been doing what they could to end hunger throughout the world. Some more successfully than others. Many of these agencies also have a great deal of resources from which to draw. So we asked the question: Where does IRFF fit in this international mix? In assessing many of these organizations and networks, we realized that one challenge which these agencies face is the depth of their approach. A very real challenge of any relief agency is to take a multi-faceted approach to any issue. In this light, IRFF has the opportunity to do just that.

As discussed by the directors, IRFF will offer a multi-faceted method to resolve world hunger. Of course, the distribution of the fish protein concentrate will be one key component of the new plan. With the existing work of the IRFF chapters in Eastern Europe, the C.I.S., Africa, and South America there are numerous means to distribute the concentrate to relieve the suffering in these areas. A second dimension will be educational. IRFF projects already include a wide range of educational exchange programs focused on agricultural survival. These programs have taken seriously the adage that if you give a person some fish today, they will be able to eat for a day. But, if you teach a person to fish, they will be able to eat tomorrow. With the new common focus, each chapter can expand these pre-existing networks and provide a new direction and purpose for their work. IRFF plans to also provide material for numerous publications which will address the causes of world hunger as well as its resolution. Through these publications, IRFF will be able to truly address a worldwide audience. This can only help to raise more people's consciousness about this daunting problem.

A final aspect of our work will include other more immediate projects to address the more pressing needs of God's global family in terms of hunger. This will also enable IRFF to network with a diverse community of organizations, agencies, governments and individuals. Through harmonizing the work of these diverse agencies and efforts, the IRFF directors believe that we can begin to seriously work at healing the world and eliminating world hunger.

Should any organization wish to talk with us about this issue, we are more than willing to do so. We encourage the support of YFWP, CARP and other student organizations, as well as WFWP and any other women's organizations, tribal messiahs and businesses to join in this important and providential work. If we take responsibility together as God's family to meet this problem head-on, we can and will see the end of world hunger and the reconciliation of God's children East-West, North-South - everywhere.


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