FFA and CWS: 60 Years and Going Strong

Andrew Gifford | March 2, 2015

CWS and FFA partners in ohio since 1952

What’s your longest friendship?

Maybe 10… 20… 30 years?

Can you imagine having a friendship for over 60 years?! I’m sure some of you can, but my guess is that most of you are like me. I’m literally just under halfway there myself as far as birthdays go so to think of having a friend for twice as long as I’ve been alive is a pretty incredible thing. The crazy thing is Church World Service in Ohio has that kind of friendship with FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) for just that long!

For 63 (yes, that’s right, since 1952) CWS and FFA have been working together to fight hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice throughout the world! “But how did such a partnership begin?” you may be asking and that’s what I’m going to tell you!

Back in 1952 as CWS was working to directly send crops and grains overseas to help feed a hungry Europe as it recovered from World War II, a young recent seminary graduate by the name of Rev. Howard Fox was commissioned as Ohio’s CWS representative to oversee the CROP (as it was then known) collection in the state. Being young and full of energy, Rev. Fox recruited members of the Ohio FFA to go door-to-door and collect these crops and grains from farmers all across the state! These were the crops that were then shipped overseas from the Port of Toledo as international food relief.

Since then, CWS and FFA have been working hand in hand in Ohio. They don’t go door-to-door anymore, but have come up with some awesome and creative ways to raise funds to partner with us to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice throughout the world! For instance, later this month I’m going to Zane Trace High School near Chillicothe, Ohio, to speak to their immensely supportive FFA chapter and help kick off their strawberry sale with stories of how their funds bring positive change the world over!

It’s crazy to think that this partnership and friendship was started over 30 years before I was even born, but even crazier than that is that these 14-18 year olds are dedicating their time to making such a big difference through such a historic partnership.

I encourage you if you’re unfamiliar with the FFA to look up their organization either at their brand new national website at www.ffa.org or www.ohioffa.org to see many of the chapters that support CWS. They are an awesome bunch of young women and men and I always look forward to speaking at their unique chapters and also thank them for their generosity at the Ohio State FFA Convention in the Spring!

And again I ask you, have you had a friend for over 60 years? And if not, I invite you to partner with us at CWS and join a friend who will help you eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice all over the world.