CROP [Christian Rural Outreach Program]
There are ten individual reels of the Christian Rural Outreach Program, two of which contain more than one spot for the humanitarian aid program, extant in IULMIA's Frink Collection. Established in 1947, CROP was the joint efforts of the Christian World Service, Lutheran World Relieve and the National Catholic Welfare Program, though it was “M.R. Zigler and the Brethren Service Commission [which] provided the initial impetus for the ecumenical [organization]”(Kraybill 72). This multi-denominational program collected extra food crops from Midwestern farmers and distributed the needed aid around the world to Christian communities which had been affected by war, famine, natural disaster, or refugee status (Eby et al.). In some cases, this effort relieved tension in the US between in Protestants and Catholics. Wuthnow notes that in Kansas, CROP was the most notable example of Catholic and Protestant cooperation and that “in 1948, during Carlson’s tenure as governor Kansas Protestants and Catholics worked together in soliciting enough wheat, flour, and dried milk to fill a sixty-car train”(210).
Today, CROP no longer collects and distributes food, but rather, the organization sponsors CROP Hunger Walks, which also gives back 25% to its own domestic community. Rather than delivering America’s excess food to international communities in need, the host group, CWS, sends missionaries to share agricultural practices.
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