News Features

HIV awareness and education in Timor-Leste

June 6, 2016

In Timor-Leste, which shares its island with Indonesia’s West Timor, there is a dangerous combination of a lack of understanding about the transmission of HIV and a strong stigma against those who are HIV-positive. CWS works in partnership with the East Timorese Defense Force, whose acronym is F-FDTL, the Ministry of Health and the United […]

Supporting mothers and birthing attendants in Vietnam

May 26, 2016

In the remote communities of northern Vietnam, where many ethnic minorities live, most babies are born at home. Pregnant women go to distant clinics for pre- or post-natal checkups, but they are hesitant around health care workers – no matter how qualified or well-intentioned they are – who often do not speak their language. The […]

Education in Ta Ba Commune: A Comprehensive Approach

In remote northern Vietnam, challenges to education can be steep: literally. Most ethnic minority students live in remote villages far from schools, especially those for older children. Roads and trails can be dangerous, particularly in the rainy season. Beyond the challenges that come from physically getting to school, community attitudes towards education are not enthusiastic. […]

Repairing and building schools in Haiti

January 11, 2016

As a special component to CWS’s response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, CWS worked with four members of ASR Haiti to repair or build schools. ASR Haiti – an acronym translated from the French for “Down with the Restavèk System” – is a network of 18 Haitian community based organisations joining forces to […]

“The cisterns symbolize hope”

January 8, 2016

Since July 2014, CWS has partnered with the Association for Rural Development of Haiti with a goal of improving food security and livelihoods of 42 farmers in the town of Lacoma. One element of this partnership is increasing access to water. There is only one water source in Lacoma and no rivers. When there is […]

Water for the Chaco

October 19, 2015

While South America’s Gran Chaco region is prone to drought – stretches of up to nine months with no rainfall may happen – there are underground water sources in the region. With the right equipment and training, indigenous communities can access the water that’s beneath their feet. The Wichi have historically been hunter-gatherers. Due to […]

World Food Day in Haiti: Water and Cholera

October 13, 2015

After nine months of drought, the fall season finally brings some long awaited rain for the farmers in the Northwest department of Haiti, a CWS priority area identified as the department with the highest food insecurity rate in the nation. The lack of rain has been an issue of increasing concern in both Haiti and […]

Are rural areas aging because youth don´t have access to land?

Martin Coria, Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coordinator | September 8, 2015

“Are rural areas aging because youth don’t have access to land?” The answer is yes, according to a recent study on rural youth´s livelihood strategies and land tenure done in six countries of Latin America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Perú, Bolivia, Colombia and the Chaco region of Argentina). The International Land Coalition/PROCASUR report states that one of […]

‘Food for Thought’ Program Helps Build Community Between Refugees and United Methodists in Tucson

May 29, 2015

Food has a unique way of bringing people together. Sometimes the people that come together are from very different walks of life. The Iskashitaa Refugee Network, which takes its name from the Somali Bantu concept of working cooperatively, lives true to this bond of food and community. The Iskashitaa Refugee Network in Tuscon, Arizona, serves […]

CWS U.S. disaster recovery webinar June 9 will explore “Construction and Volunteer Management in a Nutshell”

May 19, 2015

The next Church World Service U.S. disaster response webinar has been scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. (U.S. Eastern) Tuesday, June 9. The topic is “Construction and Volunteer Management in a Nutshell.”  The presenters are Dale and Jean Peercy of Lutheran Disaster Response. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: INFORMATION ABOUT JOINING THE WEBINAR WILL BE […]

“Construction Management” – June 9 CWS Disaster Recovery Webinar

May 11, 2015

The next CWS U.S. disaster response webinar is scheduled for 2 p.m. (U.S. Eastern) Tuesday, June 9. The topic: “Construction Management.” The presenters: Dale and Jean Peercy, Lutheran Disaster Response Construction Coordinators. The webinar will last 90 minutes. Additional information is coming. You may register at any time!  Here is the link: After registering, you […]

CWS honors Foods Resource Bank

May 4, 2015

Foods Resource Bank is a long-time partner and supporter of CWS development programs. As such, the CWS Board of Directors chose to honor FRB at its April meeting in northern Virginia.

Berry UMC Offers New Home to Refugee Women’s Center in Chicago

Joya Colon-Berezin | March 31, 2015

There are more refugees in the world today than at any point since the Second World War. For those refugees who are mothers, daughters, and sisters, they have the added calamity of frequently being the target of violence and abuse. Only a small portion of refugee women will ever be resettled to another country, but […]

“Long-Term Recovery Basics” Webinar is April 14: Register Now!

March 23, 2015

Church World Service will offer a webinar on “Long-Term Recovery Basics” from 2 to 4 p.m. eastern time April 14. This webinar covers a wide range of topics designed to help communities rebuild and recover after a disaster. Presented by CWS Emergency Response Specialist Susanne Gilmore, it is useful for clergy, lay leaders and staff […]

Ferguson Frontline Faith Leader to Deliver April 17 Keynote at Ecumenical Advocacy Days

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2015 — The Rev. Traci deVon Blackmon, a prominent religious leader from the Ferguson, Mo. area, will deliver the April 17 opening keynote at the 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days event in Arlington, Va., just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Policy makers, expert speakers and representatives from global regions will join […]

Reject Rollbacks to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act

March 3, 2015

URGENT: Call the House Judiciary Committee Today! En Español Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee will begin consideration on multiple bills that would unduly inflict harm upon families and unaccompanied children fleeing violence by expanding immigration detention, limiting access to due process, and creating additional bars to prevent access to our asylum and trafficking protection systems. […]

“Emotional & Spiritual Care” Webinar Recording Online; Next Webinar is March 10

March 2, 2015

Recording of February 19 Webinar: Watch here. On Feb. 19, the CWS U.S. Disaster Response Program hosted the webinar “Beyond Bricks, Sticks, Muck-out and Tarps: Emotional and Spiritual Care Following Disasters.” Intentional emotional and spiritual care is an integral component of disaster response.  The Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau, a nationally recognized expert on disaster-related emotional […]

2014 CWS U.S. Disaster Response by the Numbers

February 9, 2015

In 2014, Church World Service actively supported disaster response work in response to storms, floods, tornadoes wildfires and mudslides along with ongoing Superstorm Sandy recovery. In all, CWS worked in a total of 25 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, […]

CWS webinar on emotional & spiritual care rescheduled to Feb. 19.

Note: If you already registered for this webinar, you do not need to re-register. If you have not yet registered and would like to, please follow the instructions below! Webinar basics: Intentional emotional and spiritual care is an integral component of disaster response.  Learn why from a nationally recognized expert on disaster-related emotional and spiritual […]

Register Now for Feb. 10 “Emotional & Spiritual Care” Webinar

January 26, 2015

Intentional emotional and spiritual care is an integral component of disaster response.  Learn why from a nationally recognized expert on disaster-related emotional and spiritual care and get resources to enhance your response in a free webinar organized and hosted by Church World Service. The 90-minute webinar will be held beginning at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern […]

Listening to Communities in Myanmar

January 23, 2015

A hallmark of CWS development work involves partnering with each community, working with them to find solutions to their problems together. CWS launched a new program in Myanmar’s Kayin State in 2014 that began with gathering the perspectives of the local community towards their development. Because the peace process among ethnic minorities and government in […]

2015 EAD Panel Features People “Working on the Frontlines for Change”

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | January 15, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “To connect organizations and issues is the only way I see to break global systems of oppression. No one can do it alone. We have to see this as one movement.” That’s how David Schilling describes the task facing the more than 1,000 Christian advocates who are expected to attend the 13th […]

CWS Believes in Haiti – Before and After the Earthquake

January 12, 2015

They call Haiti ‘the Pearl of the Antilles.’ It turned out not to be a fairy tale. Haiti, a small country on an island tucked in the middle of the Caribbean sea, a country of natural beauty, mountains, beaches, sun. A country so much has been written about. Struggles did not end with independence. They […]

Five Years Later, a Moment of “Prayer, Advocacy and Action” for Haiti

Chris Herlinger |

Washington, DC – With calls to commemorate, remember and heal, the people of Haiti were affirmed and recognized today (Jan. 12) during a Capitol Hill interfaith prayer service, marking the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake. “We’re here to commemorate the incredible courage and perseverance of the Haitian people in their rebuilding,” said […]

Haiti Three Year Plan July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2016

Five years after the earthquake in Haiti, the question is asked, “where all the donated money went” and what the impact was. CWS advocated for and applauds the passing of the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act by the U.S. Congress and supports a shadow report of a national human rights platform to the government of […]

Details: CWS Webinar “The Future of Long-Term Recovery Groups” Jan. 13

January 7, 2015

Even while in the throes of helping survivors of a hurricane, flood or other disaster, it is never too early for a local long-term recovery group to start thinking about what it will do after it has closed its last case. Among other things, a little foresight can make the final evaluation easier to conduct […]

Refugees and Volunteers Build Friendships Through Mentoring

Erika Iverson |

Refugee resettlement offices rely on volunteers, churches and community groups to help welcome refugees to their communities. With offices spread across the United States, each has a distinctness based on the local community, and many train local volunteers to mentor refugees in their time of need. Mentors serve different rolls. Pam Welch, formerly of the […]

New Haven Clinic Focuses on Refugee Health

January 5, 2015

The American health system is not intuitive. Health insurance is required. Under an individual’s plan, some doctors are covered, while some treatments are not. Some plans provide coverage for alternative medicine and chiropractics, but mental health coverage might be limited. Even for those who grew up in the US, the system can be a labyrinth […]

CWS Training Provides Expertise, Hope to Southeast Michigan Flood Recovery

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | December 22, 2014

DETROIT — “I just feel alone.  Sometimes I want to just ball up in this cold, cold house and sleep all day and sleep all night.” That’s how Karen C.* of Detroit said she’s feeling now, more than four months since flash flooding resulting from torrential rain sent sewer and surface water gushing into tens […]

Ongoing Michigan Flood Disaster not Hidden from CWS, Local Recovery Community

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo |

DETROIT — Southeast Michigan’s Aug. 11 flood disaster affected more people than any other U.S. disaster in 2014.  Apart from a few hundred households still carrying sodden, ruined belongings to the curb, the disaster’s impact is no longer visible from the street. But Church World Service and the emerging local long-term recovery group CWS helped […]

A New-Found Hope for the Cuban People

December 17, 2014

This piece originally appeared in The Hill, published December 17, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. at President Obama is to be strongly commended for the breakthrough effort to restore U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba. It is a bold but necessary move and one that, based on my experience talking with members of Congress and the […]

Sanctuary Leaders Pray with Sen. McConnell’s Chief of Staff on Immigration

December 10, 2014

Photos available for press usage at: Clergy and family members from Sanctuary congregations are available for interviews in Washington, D.C. through Thursday midday. WASHINGTON – As House Republicans vote overwhelmingly to deport immigrant families, clergy and family members of those living in sanctuary held a prayer vigil on Wednesday in the office of incoming […]

Mass Incarceration the Focus of 2015 Ecumenical Advocacy Days

December 8, 2014

The worldwide issues of mass incarceration, exploitation and forced labor will be addressed at the 13th Annual National Gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, to be held April 17-20, 2015, in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 Christian advocates are expected to meet under the theme “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and […]

At Leadership Forum, CWS Continues its Support of N.J. Sandy Recovery

November 20, 2014

TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A mid-November forum for leaders of New Jersey long-term recovery groups provided an opportunity for Church World Service to check in with them on how far their Superstorm Sandy recovery has come in the state – and how far it has to go. These community-based groups have helped hundreds of Sandy-affected […]

Free CWS Flood Long-Term Recovery Workshop Dec. 16 in Warren, Mich.

Thousands of householders in Southeastern Michigan still need help following last August’s devastating flooding.  About one in five of them is a senior citizen. An estimated 900 households still need volunteers to muck out their basements, and that’s just the first step in the long-term recovery process.  After the muck-out there will certainly be a […]

Superstorm Sandy Recovery Story: The Lorenzo Family

Editor’s note:  Sue Marticek, Executive Director of the Ocean County Long-Term Recovery Group, says that just as Church World Service and other national partners have provided the LTRGs with options, knowledge and tools to apply to their local context, LTRGs in turn provide options, knowledge and tools to help their clients make the best decisions […]

Faith Leaders and Activists Call for Bold and Courageous Action

Last Wednesday, CWS celebrated another year of working toward a more just world for refugees and immigrants by honoring three recipients with the John Backer Champion 4 Change Award. Among the recipients was United Methodist Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, a long-time advocate for immigrant rights. While Bishop Carcaño was unable to attend the Benefit 4 […]

Annual Benefit 4 Change Gala to Honor Those who Serve Refugees and Immigrants

November 11, 2014

NEW YORK — Based in a city shaped by immigrants, Church World Service will honor those who serve refugees and immigrants around the world at its annual Benefit 4 Change gala Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at the World Monuments Fund Gallery, 15 East 27th Street in Manhattan. As one of nine agencies that […]

CWS Kits and Blankets Reach Flooded Households in Rural Kentucky

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | November 5, 2014

“We never needed help before.  We didn’t know where to turn for help.” Volunteers heard that a lot recently as they delivered CWS Kits and Blankets to survivors of destructive flooding in hard-to-reach rural areas of Floyd County, Ky. Many residents said they had never been flooded before heavy rains in late summer caused flash […]

Two Years After Sandy, CWS Continues to Support Long-Term Recovery

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | October 29, 2014

As communities along the U.S. East Coast mark the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Church World Service continues to support the long-term recovery. Currently CWS is preparing a major presentation to a Nov. 13 forum for an expected 50 to 60 leaders from 14 long-term recovery groups for counties and cities across New Jersey.  The […]

CWS Kits Help Survivors of Catastrophic Fire in Chicago

October 20, 2014

Can a CWS Kit really make a difference in the wake of an overwhelming loss? Washitha Hunter, survivor of a recent catastrophic fire in her Chicago apartment complex, answered that question with a resounding “Yes!” Hunter, her husband, Anthony Barr, their two teen-aged children and 10-month-old grandson made it out of their apartment unharmed, but […]

CWS School Kits Encourage Alabama Children Recovering Following Tornadoes

CWS School Kits were delivered along with tips on disaster preparedness during a Jefferson County, Ala., “Community Awareness Day” Oct. 9 in Birmingham, the county seat. Most of the 100 kits were given to children from communities battered by tornados and severe storms in April and still struggling to recover. It was one of the […]

Back to School in a New Way

October 15, 2014

“I can’t imagine leaving everything I had to go to someplace new where I had nothing” Vacation Bible School Student Every day in communities around the country, refugee kids are learning a new language, a new culture, and heading off to new schools – often without much understanding about what they should bring on the […]

CWS helps New York, New Jersey Latin American Community Prepare for Disasters

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | October 8, 2014

NEW YORK — October 2012’s Superstorm Sandy was still very much on the minds of New York and New Jersey Puerto Rican and Latin American community leaders as they met recently for training by Church World Service and other experts in how to prepare for future disasters. Some 90 faith, consular and other community leaders […]

Upcoming “Disaster Long-Term Recovery – An Overview” Webinar on 10/21

September 29, 2014

Church World Service will present a free webinar on disaster long-term recovery basics on Tuesday, October 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Led by Susanne Gilmore, CWS Emergency Response Specialist, this two-hour webinar will cover a wide range of topics designed to help communities rebuild and recover after a disaster. It will be […]

Faith Community: “We are One in the Face of Climate Change”

September 23, 2014

NEW YORK— Against the backdrop of a world increasingly focused on borders—and how to secure them against “outsiders” – the message from yesterday’s gathering of faith-based climate change activists at the United Nations highlighted the interconnectedness of all humanity. It is not just indigenous people who are vulnerable, but all the people of the world, […]

CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets Get Right Where Needed in Northwest Iowa

September 18, 2014

Seven inches of rain every day for four or five days left communities across northwest Iowa waterlogged in June.  Church World Service worked with local partners to get hundreds of CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets out quickly – and within easy driving distance – to homeowners who needed the supplies to clean up their flooded basements. […]

Finding the Time to Fight Hunger

September 17, 2014

With what amounts to three full-time jobs—wife, mother of a 10-year-old-son, and full-time work as a nurse educator– it’s hard to imagine how Beth Simon, coordinator for the Pittsburgh East CROP Hunger Walk, could ever find the time to do what she does to help people in need. But indeed she has found time– for […]

Thinking Together, Working Together

September 5, 2014

Three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan CWS continues to support local partners participation in the international conferences on disaster risk reduction, which link experience from Japan to global policy dialogue. Following is a story of a local female leader in Fukushima who recently delivered a presentation at the Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference […]

CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets Give Hope to Flooded Michigan Households

September 4, 2014

“I couldn’t believe how fast the water rose. The damage it left was unbelievable; I really didn’t know what to do.”  This comment from a homeowner in greater Detroit was echoed by tens of thousands across eastern Michigan who suffered damage from flash floods on August 11. At 8 a.m., it started raining hard across […]

When Disaster Strikes: Sept. 23 Webinar Help Congregations, Organizations Prepare

How prepared is your congregation or organization to respond effectively and with confidence when disaster strikes, whether it’s following a devastating tornado like Joplin, Mo.; a school shooting like Newtown, Conn.; a superstorm like Katrina or Sandy, or an individual member’s house fire? September is National Preparedness Month, and this free, one-hour webinar – Tuesday, […]

Tornado Survivors Describe “Bittersweet” Experience of Loss, Recovery With CWS Help

August 25, 2014

At first, it looked like the storm would go around Brookport, Ill.  But when the thunder and lightning came close and the wind picked up suddenly, Clark Blasdel took shelter in the laundry room of his mobile home.  “I lay down and put the recliner on top of me,” he recounted.  “The tornado hit within […]

Superstorm Sandy Long-Term Recovery Groups also Preparing for Future Disasters

August 12, 2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Even as voluntary organizations help New York City with its long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy, preparing the city for the next hurricane or other disaster is already high on their agenda.  That was evident August 7 at one in a series of forums for leaders of community-based long-term recovery groups from […]

UCC “Matching Grant” Maximizes Contributions of CWS School Kits

August 4, 2014

Thanks to an imaginative “matching grant” challenge, United Church of Christ congregations across the United States are outdoing themselves to make CWS School Kits – urgently needed by Church World Service to meet demand. Following the two latest shipments totaling 30,000 CWS School Kits to partner IOCC for children in Syria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Church World […]

Organizations and Churches Support Worker and Immigrant Rights

July 24, 2014

It’s pretty hard to look at agricultural work and the health care industry and not find immigrants, many of whom are undocumented. Because they’re doing hard, often invisible work and because they are commonly dismissed due to their immigration status, we as a society fail to protect these workers while on the job. WeCount! In […]

Water, Safe and Close, Makes Life Simpler in Rural Myanmar

July 23, 2014

Safe water was hard to come by for the residents of two villages in Kayin State, Myanmar, who were used to walking miles to fetch water from shallow, unclean wells and streams. “It was very difficult for them to get safe drinking water especially during dry season. Some people had to walk to get water […]

Finding Hope in the Current Immigration Debate

July 16, 2014

The current immigration debate can appear a little short on hope, being characterized by partisan paralysis in Congress, a presidential effort to expand the government’s ability to deport children, and the loud shouts of those hoping to benefit from open trade while limiting the movement of people. However, activists of faith in Portland, Ore. are […]

In Cambodia, a House-to-House Campaign to Improve Public Health

July 9, 2014

When public health volunteers in the remote villages of Cambodia’s Central and North central provinces go knocking on villagers’ doors their objective is to encourage people to come to the pagoda to receive valuable public health information. The outreach is part of CWS’s Village-based Community Development project in which government health workers travel to villages […]

Simple Steps to Good Nutrition in Vietnam

July 8, 2014

In the Vietnam community of Muong Te, among the poorest districts in the country, parents of kindergarten students in Nam Cau village have started along the path to improved nutrition after having completed a training for awareness raising in food nutrition and a cooking demonstration featuring a nutritious rice soup. “Twenty-three villagers, mostly women and […]

JCC-2015 delivers a Message from Japan at Asian Ministers Disaster Risk Reduction Conference in Bangkok

July 3, 2014

“We want to inform the world about the cascading consequences of the Great Eastern Japan Disasters, especially the nuclear disaster, by telling the truth between the positive political speeches and negative media coverage. It is our responsibility to the world and our duty to make sure that such nuclear accident will never happen again.” Yamazaki […]

Forum Supports Sustainability of Sandy Recovery in New York City

June 26, 2014

“I love bumping into Brooklyn and Staten Island.  I don’t see Queens enough.” That was Manhattan talking – specifically Lilah Mejia, Coordinator of Lower East Side Ready, the Superstorm Sandy long-term recovery group for that Manhattan neighborhood.  Mejia was among participants in a June 18 strategic recovery planning forum held in New York City and […]

Finding Security in a New Place

June 20, 2014

If you live anyplace outside a war zone the idea that you or your family might fall victim to a car bomb or some other attack likely is not a real concern for you.  But if you were living in Baghdad, Iraq at the height of the violence there security might well be a big […]

CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets Help Alabama Tornado Survivors Begin to Recover

June 5, 2014

When tornados and severe storms struck Alabama in late April, Celesta Bridgeforth of Athens, Ala., flashed back to how upsetting and disorienting it had been to lose her home to a tornado in 2011. “’Brain scramble’ is what you feel,” she said.  “One minute I was standing in my kitchen and the next moment the […]

CWS Material Aid Provides Comfort in Tornado-Battered Baxter Springs

May 27, 2014

On Sunday, April 27, Rusty and Laticia Spence of Baxter Springs, Kan., decided to have supper out in Joplin, Mo., a 30-minute drive away.  They had no idea their home was about to be destroyed by a tornado – or that a CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket would provide some comfort. The restaurant meal was a […]

Lancaster Teen Raises Money for Refugees

April 17, 2014

Brynn Hackett started raising money to help refugees resettling in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area when she was in 7th grade.  She set a lofty goal for herself: raise $50,000 by the time she graduates from high school.  Four years later, Brynn is a junior in high school and expanding her efforts.  With the support of […]

CWS Grants, Training Strengthen Colorado’s Flood Recovery

April 8, 2014

Church World Service grants and training are helping hundreds of Colorado households still struggling to recover from severe flooding last September by undergirding community-based work. Local long-term recovery committees say the $5,000 undesignated grants from CWS help significantly with costs not covered by donations designated for survivors’ material needs. For example, CWS approved a grant […]

CWS Tornado Recovery Workshops in Gifford March 19, Brookport March 21

February 27, 2014

Recovery from a disaster event requires a “whole community” approach, and Illinois’ tornado-battered Champaign and Massac counties are no exception.  Recovery also requires know-how, and that will be shared in two identical day-long workshops, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 19 in Gifford, Ill., and March 21 in Brookport, Ill. Offered by Church World […]

CWS Assistance to Sandy Survivors Continues

February 25, 2014

To date, CWS has supplied $1,224,874 in material goods donated by its member communions and their congregations including CWS Blankets, Cleanup Buckets and other CWS Kits for Sandy survivors up and down the East Coast.  It has approved grants for 18 long-term recovery groups; conducted more two dozen “Recovery Tools and Training,” safety and other […]

U.S. Groups Make Diverse Uses of CWS Disaster Recovery Grants

February 10, 2014

Local long-term recovery groups bring together faith-based and other community partners to identify disaster survivors most in need of assistance and to help them pull together public and private resources to put their homes and lives back together after great loss. Church World Service helps with undesignated grants.  In 2013, CWS approved grants totaling $123,300 […]

Postponed to March 4: CWS Floods Recovery Workshop in Utica, N.Y.

February 3, 2014

The Mohawk Valley floods “Recovery Tools and Training” workshop scheduled for February 5 in Utica, N.Y., has been postponed until March 4. Organizers cited predictions of heavy snow for central New York on Wednesday, threatening to make travel dangerous for workshop participants.  In all, 95 people coming mostly from Herkimer, Oneida, Madison and Montgomery counties […]

Extending ‘Hospitality’ in an Unlikely Place

Joya Colon-Berezin | January 24, 2014

Members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Phoenix are extending ‘hospitality’ in an unlikely place: a local Greyhound bus station. In fact, they join other volunteers every Friday night to welcome the growing number of people released from immigrant detention facilities in nearby Florence and Eloy, Arizona. In the course of extending hospitality, volunteers from […]

Georgia Church Helps Refugees, Supports Community

Erika Iverson/CWS | December 30, 2013

As one year ends and another begins, many are taking time to consider what was accomplished in the last 12 months and to plan for what lies ahead. Members of Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Decatur, Georgia, have been busy and there are no signs they’re letting up. Amy Crownover of Refugee Resettlement and […]

Church Answers Call to Welcome; Provides Legal Assistance to Immigrants

December 23, 2013

As many around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, it’s common to consider what messages the Christmas story holds for us in our daily lives. What does it mean to make room for strangers? For members at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Christian Church the call to extend hospitality is clear, and they have taken action. “We’re […]

CWS School Kits Help Sustain Studies of Austin Children Who Lost all to Floods

December 4, 2013

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Nearly 300 school children are among those who lost everything when Onion Creek flooded their Austin, Texas, neighborhood at the end of October.  CWS School Kits are helping them keep up with their studies. Church World Service shipped 300 CWS School Kits to Austin.  Most of the kits were distributed by the […]

Church Sees Need; Offers English Classes to Refugees

November 8, 2013

The Rev. Reid Buchanan of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Lexington, Ky., knew there was a need for English language classes in the community, particularly those convenient to newly resettled refugees. Through his collaborative work with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a CWS affiliate, Rev. Buchanan also understood the church would need to address two barriers […]

CWS Workshops in New Jersey Oct. 21-25 Undergird Sandy Recovery

October 31, 2013

People who signed up for a Church World Service hands-on disaster recovery workshop might not have expected hands on to include assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Of course, there was a point to the exercise, which opened the workshop for disaster case managers, case management supervisors, construction managers and long-term recovery group leaders working to help […]

Disaster Case Management Workshops Set for October 21-25 in New Jersey

October 9, 2013

A free hands-on workshop on effective disaster case management will be offered October 21 in Vineland, 22 in Egg Harbor Township, 24 in Ocean and 25 in Hillside, N.J. The workshop is for disaster case managers, case management supervisors, construction managers, and leaders and subcommittee leaders of long-term recovery groups working to help individuals and […]

CWS Brings Together Leaders for Immigration Reform Summit

October 7, 2013

More than 300 high-ranking faith leaders and activists from more than 39 U.S. states have joined CWS staff in the inaugural CWS Summit on Immigration Reform. “The deportation of more than 1,000 people every day is a moral stain on our country,” CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough told a crowd representing […]

CWS Buckets, Blankets and Kits Reach Flood Survivors in Colorado

September 26, 2013

In areas of Colorado ravaged by floods earlier this month, CWS Emergency Clean Up Buckets, Blankets and Kits are getting into the hands of survivors. In Longmont, Colo. — population 88,000 — some 7,000 houses were affected, said the Rev. Rick King, Senior Minister of the United Church of Christ, Longmont.  His congregation’s disaster response […]

Back to School Giving Led by Methodist Volunteers

September 16, 2013

One program in Denver is doing what it can to help newly resettled refugees manage the costs of sending kids to school.Refugee Outreach: CLOTHING KIDS, or ROCK, founded by Marsha Carey and her husband Chris, recently held its annual back-to-school clothing store. Seeing the need among newly arrived refugee children, this project began in 2008 […]

Bucket Brigade

September 4, 2013

With a goal of creating 15 to 20 CWS Emergency Clean-up Buckets, First Christian Church, Fullerton, Calif., assembled double the amount this summer.  Parishioners donated the full cost of a bucket, gave donations toward a bucket or brought supplies to fill buckets and created 37 buckets for emergency response within the US. “We started the […]

CWS Helps Iowa Couple, Other Survivors of Spring and Summer Storms

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo/CWS | September 3, 2013

When Bill Recker and Carma Agan lost their Buck Creek, Iowa, home to flash flooding in June, they would have faced a lonely struggle to recover if it weren’t for the Delaware County Disaster Recovery Committee. With support from Church World Service, that community-based group is “working on multiple fronts with these folks to generate […]

Greeting Cards Do More Than Spread Cheer

August 28, 2013

At Granger United Methodist Church in Medina, Ohio, women’s groups and children make and sell beautiful greeting cards with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the CWS Blankets+ program. When the greeting card ministry started in 2002, it yielded $200 from the sale of homemade Mother’s and Father’s Day cards.  By 2012 it had […]

CWS Kits and Blankets Aid Disaster-battered Kentucky County

August 22, 2013

CWS Kits and Blankets are bringing practical comfort to people in Floyd County, Ky., who are struggling amidst multiple disasters – including flash flooding that overwhelmed schools and homes on August 12. The flooding further battered a county already devastated by 80 percent unemployment due to the collapse of coal mining and still recovering from […]

Methodist Church Opens Doors to Knoxville Refugees

August 16, 2013

Stop by Washington Pike United Methodist Church on a weekday morning, and you’ll find adult students using real world scenarios to practice and improve their English. In one classroom are beginners learning to make an emergency call to 911. An intermediate class practices English in the kitchen by making and eating pancakes together. A third […]

Our Haiti Earthquake Response Report

August 8, 2013

In the 3 ½ years since the devastating January 2010 Haiti earthquake, CWS pushed ahead with programs, projects and initiatives.  More than $2 million in material aid was delivered to Haiti.  It’s impossible to count the number of lives touched in some small way by our programs and aid, but it is probably well over […]

Congregational Co-sponsors Provide Solace, Welcome to Refugees

July 31, 2013

Nothing can make up for what Hau Khan Lian suffered at the hands of the military in his native Burma.  Still, there is solace in the warm welcome he and his family – ethnic Chin refugees – have received since Church World Service resettled them to Louisville, Ky., in April. Hau Khan Lian was a […]

Blankets+ is an Annual Event

July 26, 2013

April flowers bring May flowers, but what does January bring?  At Swissdale United Methodist Church, January brings blankets.  Year after year, the Lock Haven, Penn., congregation exceeds its goal of collecting enough money for CWS to purchase 100 blankets.  Since 2000 the church has raised more than $8,000 for the Blankets+ program through its January […]

Leah’s Birthday Makes Other Kids Celebrate

Leah celebrated her 7th birthday with a party, cake and friends, but the presents weren’t for her.  And that’s just the way she wanted it. Leah asked her friends to give her School Kits instead of birthday gifts.  She received 15 kits at her party, plus donations for another eight through the CWS website.  She […]

VBS celebrates a World of Water

Using daily Bible verses, songs, games, lessons and CWS stories – all focused on a water theme – the Newbury United Community Church Vacation Bible School last summer overflowed with enthusiasm and learning. VBS/Christian Education Director Brigitte Fiorille created the curriculum around a theme of water and global awareness.  “We were inspired by a copy […]

CWS Grants, Training, Mentoring Help Sandy Recovery

July 24, 2013

It has been nearly nine months since Superstorm Sandy roared up the East Coast, but for thousands who are still struggling to recover, it might as well have been yesterday.  Many are still living in temporary quarters, others at home but in unhealthy conditions. Extending hope and help are community-based long-term recovery groups undergirded by […]

CWS Kits and Blankets Newly Deployed in Five States

July 17, 2013

Recent shipments of CWS Kits and Blankets mean practical comfort for survivors of flooding in Ohio, wildfires in Colorado, tornadoes in Oklahoma, Superstorm Sandy in New York and a series of disasters in West Virginia.  Materials sent by request of local service providers include: 200 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, going to First Christian Church in […]

Nigerian Church of the Brethren Leaders Assemble CWS Kits

July 16, 2013

On July 11, 2013, six church leaders from the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria assembled CWS Kits at Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio.  Partnering with the Disaster Ministry Coordinators from the Southern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren, they assembled 96 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 150 Hygiene Kits and […]

Computer Literacy Skills Open Opportunities for Refugees

July 8, 2013

For “Paw,” a refugee from Burma now resettled in Omaha, Neb., learning to “log on” has opened many opportunities, including home ownership. She is a recent graduate of a computer literacy course offered by the Benson Area Refugee Task Force, a coalition of organizations and individuals who collaborate to give extra support to the nearly […]

CWS Reaches Out to Newark’s Ironbound District

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo | June 19, 2013

A visit last week to the Ironbound District of Newark, N.J., by Church World Service Emergency Response Specialists Joann Hale and Susanne Gilmore illustrated CWS’s commitment to finding disaster survivors having the hardest time recovering and to making sure their recovery needs are met. Hale and Gilmore spent the past two weeks visiting five southern […]

Immigration Reform Amendments – Call TODAY

June 13, 2013

Call the Senate Thursday, June 13, and protect the immigration bill from amendments that would delay or narrow the path to citizenship. Call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected with your Senators. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or find Senators’ direct lines at Feel free to use this sample script. “I am from [City, […]

Rev. John L. McCullough Addresses 2013 Bread Gathering

June 10, 2013

CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough, was asked to address a joint gathering of Bread for the World and Scaling Up Nutrition June 10. Download a PDF copy or read his full remarks below. In the days of “Leave It to Beaver” a couple of common expressions were that children are made […]

UMC Church Engages Neighborhood to Raise Support for Refugees

June 5, 2013

Inman Park United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Ga., sets a great example of how a small church can make a big difference in the lives of refugees, do so with imagination – and in the process get its neighborhood and a lot of other churches involved. Every year, the 130-member congregation completely furnishes an apartment […]

CWS Offers Ways to Commemorate World Refugee Day 2013

June 3, 2013

June 20 is World Refugee Day, and Church World Service is offering congregations multiple ways to meet and honor refugees and to become involved in the important ministry of welcoming and protecting refugees. For starters, new educational, worship and advocacy resources including a congregational bulletin insert and backgrounder are available on CWS’s World Refugee Day […]

In Uganda, “360-Degree Program” Ensures Communities’ Resilience

Chris Herlinger/CWS | May 30, 2013

Humanitarian groups talk a lot about collaboration. But a new program that CWS and three other organizations have launched in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda has the potential to make collaboration something more concrete and substantial than usual. The TOGETHER program has an overarching theme of building resilience among communities. More specifically, it hopes […]

CWS’s Don Tatlock: Home in Texas When the Tornadoes Hit

CWS Central America and Caribbean Liaison Don Tatlock lives in Granbury, Texas.  His work requires frequent travel to the region, but he was in Granbury on May 15 when as many as three tornados hit the town. “We heard the siren and the televised warnings,” he said.  “My wife and I were home and took […]

Church co-sponsors make US resettlement easier, refugee testifies

May 28, 2013

When her long journey finally brought her and her children to safety in Louisville, Ky., this past February, Somali refugee Sahra Ali expected just one or two people to meet her flight – not two dozen supporters waving a welcome sign written in her native language. “It was so many people,” Ali recalled.  “I was […]

CWS, Churches Sending Emergency Supplies for Tornado Survivors

May 24, 2013

For CWS Great Plains Assistant Regional Director Rebekah Belase, this past week’s devastating tornados struck very close to home.  Belase commutes to her office in Topeka, Kansas, from her home in Stillwater, Okla. Stillwater is about a 90-minute drive from Moore.  It feels even closer – “I have quite a few friends from college who […]

Hmong House is “Good News” for Elderly Refugees

May 17, 2013

For Yer Thao, an elderly Hmong refugee living in Milwaukee, Wis., loneliness used to be all that she had to look forward to every day – until she started going to Hmong House of Good News. This innovative United Methodist ministry offers community and hope to Hmong seniors, some of whom live alone, others in […]

CWS Kit Challenge

Heather Dunham | May 16, 2013

A few years ago a small group of  young children in a very small community decided to do something “big”.  What happened was amazing; these small children gathered a community together, got busy, and presented Rev. Bert Marshall with 52 health and school kits to be sent to children to parts of the world they […]

Faith Community Key to Disaster Preparedness, Long-term Recovery

May 15, 2013

Church World Service emphasizes faith community involvement in recovery following a disaster.  Faith-based groups play a key role in helping survivors access the material, emotional, spiritual and human resources they need to get back on their feet and go on with their lives. A good case study can be found in Buchanan County in Northwest […]

CWS to Convene Global Summit on Immigration Reform

May 10, 2013

CWS is planning to host a Global Summit that will focus on the need for congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform. This Global Summit will be a significant learning and collaboration component in the mission that is set before us: to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. “We know first-hand the importance of immigration reform,” says the […]

CWS Training Key to Recovery Post-Sandy

May 2, 2013

In the marathon that has become the work of recovery following Superstorm Sandy, Church World Service’s unique place is in helping communities to help their own through fostering long-term recovery groups. For people struggling to recover following Sandy, their local long-term recovery group offers hope and help.  “It’s a place where, if you can’t afford […]

Survivor Recalls Superstorm Sandy Six Months Later

It has been six months since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New York/New Jersey coast, and survivors’ painful memories remain fresh.  So do their needs. CWS Blankets, Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other CWS Kits helped many survivors get through the first days after the storm passed.  Since then, CWS has been helping communities organize long-term […]

Former NCC Leader Bob Edgar Leaves Legacy of Advocating for Justice

April 24, 2013

“It is with a deep sense of personal loss that we now receive news of the death of Bob Edgar,” CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough said. “He was a great friend of human and global justice, and the poor. Bob was always thinking about ways of doing good, and never believed […]

Former Refugee ‘Pays it Forward’ by Recruiting Congregations

April 17, 2013

Columbus, Ohio – Claudine Leary says that when she fled the 1994 genocide in her home country of Rwanda, “I depended on others for my survival.”  Now this former refugee and U.S. citizen is helping other refugees not only survive but thrive in central Ohio. A United Methodist seminarian, Leary works for Community Refugee and […]

Sometimes a Blanket is About More Than Just Providing Warmth

April 1, 2013

Sometimes a blanket is about more than just providing warmth – they provide comfort. This is my favorite blanket. I lost my dad in 2004 and my friend had this quilt made out of his jeans for me. This blanket provides me with warmth plus so much more! Please support the CWS Blankets+ Program and […]

Syracuse UMC congregation extends friendship, support to refugees

March 26, 2013

Everybody can do something to welcome refugees resettling in U.S. communities.  Setting an excellent example is Christ United Methodist Church in Syracuse, N.Y. Since 2002, the church’s all-volunteer Refugee Resettlement Mission project has been extending friendship and practical assistance to refugees living in the city’s Northside community. Most are from Burma, but the church’s outreach […]

The Road to Mission

March 22, 2013

Mission work for CWS can be overwhelming when learning about the great need facing our neighbors at home and around the world. Faith communities can become discouraged because of numbers—not enough members, not enough minutes in the day, or not enough square feet in the building to do the work. The Road (Disciples of Christ), […]

Heartfelt Help

March 21, 2013

Often, the first thing CWS provides in an emergency is a blanket for warmth, comfort, and sometimes, even shelter. But as needs change, other things are required – tents, food, water, and the tools and materials to rebuild. That’s why it’s called Blankets+, and it’s a great way for our congregation to provide essential aid […]

Superstorm Sandy: long term recovery

Chris Herlinger/ CWS | March 19, 2013

New York, N.Y. -– Responding to an emergency in New York City is not like responding to one in, say, rural Missouri. Call it the density equation. There are more people in New York, more neighborhoods, more people packed in neighborhoods, more social service agencies at work. In many ways that means more or certainly […]

The fight to end hunger: giving it the new, and old, college try

March 18, 2013

PHOENIX, Ariz/SPRINGFIELD, Ohio/STORRS, Conn. – CROP Hunger Walks have been called the “granddaddy of charity walks.” At age 97, Lester Dray well may be the granddaddy of walkers. When the Litchfield Park, Ariz. retiree participated in his area’s Feb. 24 West Valley CROP Hunger Walk – his 21st walk since the 1980s – Dray says […]

A Strengthened Relationship is About Engagement

Chris Herlinger/CWS | March 5, 2013

A burgeoning relationship between CWS and one of its member communions was strengthened even further recently at a forum on domestic disaster response. At a recent meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Women’s Missionary Society, meeting in Dallas, Texas, CWS Emergency Response Specialist Sandra Kennedy-Owes addressed nearly 1,000 members of the society and provided […]

Did You Receive an IRA Distribution Last Month?

January 22, 2013

If you took a distribution from your IRA in December 2012, you may be eligible to make a special gift to Church World Service, now, and reduce your 2012 taxes. Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation to extend the IRA charitable rollover. The law also allows individuals who are 70½ to make special gifts to […]

1,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are Assembled in an Hour!

Some 150 Brethren Disaster Relief Auction volunteers of all ages from the Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania districts gathered on a Friday evening and assembled 1,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets in an hour!  For more information about assembling Emergency Cleanup Buckets, please visit Video of buckets being assembled:

CWS-Sponsored Training Helps Disaster Survivors

Chris Herlinger/CWS |

Toms River, NJ – At the core of every CWS recovery training is a simple truism, spoken recently by one training participant here in central New Jersey, a region still trying to gain its footing after Hurricane Sandy. “A training like this helps people (disaster survivors) by empowering the people who can help them,” said […]

Despite Progress, Nutrition Challenges Remain in 2013

December 27, 2012

NEW YORK – A recent study funded by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation noted a remarkable global shift over the last few decades. Progress is being made in many areas of global health and in life expectancies overall while rates of HIV and malaria are falling. The Global Burden of Disease Study published in […]

Churches Donate 500 Emergency Cleanup Buckets in Wake of Sandy

December 11, 2012

New England area churches quickly answered the call for CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets for Hurricane Sandy response, donating approximately 500 buckets in November. The buckets were collected at three points throughout the region and delivered to the CWS warehouse. “I’m deeply grateful for everyone’s work and generosity, and for the hours of effort and work […]

CWS Webinar Focuses on Long-term Recovery Basics

November 30, 2012

NEW YORK — As part of humanitarian agency Church World Service’s Hurricane Sandy response, CWS Emergency Response Specialists will present a webinar focused on long-term recovery basics, Dec. 4-5. The webinar, which begins at 2 p.m. EST each day, will cover best practices and important steps to remember as communities start to form long-term recovery […]

Tony Hernandez: ‘The immigrant is absolutely crucial to our country’s future.’

November 28, 2012

Recipient of a 2012 CWS John Backer Award, Tony Hernandez is Co-Founder & CEO of Latino Broadcasting Company, Miami, Fla., and leads the company’s Immigrant Archive Project, which already has captured the first-person story of hundreds of immigrants. Question: What is your immigrant story? Answer: I was five years old in the fall of 1967 […]

The “biblical case” for caring for migrants

Joan Maruskin |

From the opening chapter of Genesis, “migration” is a continuous thread in the biblical narrative.  So is the importance of caring for “the stranger and sojourner” – migrants, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The Bible opens with God’s Spirit migrating over the face of the waters.  Soon God creates humankind, male and female, in God’s […]

On Long Island, spring shipments help after storms

Chris Herlinger |

Freeport, New York – To outsiders, New York’s Long Island may evoke images of summer homes and beach living. But economic hard times have not been kind to working-class communities like Freeport. And the damage brought by Hurricane Sandy has only worsened — and deeply so — what have already been tough years. “For some […]

Myrna Orozco: ‘I want you to become a safe space for people like me.’

Recipient of a 2012 CWS John Backer Award, Myrna Orozco is National Field Director for the United We Dream Network, based in Kansas City, Mo. Question: What is your immigrant story? Answer: I am originally from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  I came to the United States when I was four years old, in December 1994.  […]

Become an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation!

Rev. Noel Andersen |

Congregations across the United States are embarking on the journey of becoming “Immigrant Welcoming Congregations” (IWC).  Participation in this journey equips churches to travel from mercy to justice, from service to incarnational friendship, from activism to organizing, from “ministering to” immigrants to being transformed alongside of immigrant communities. Kristin Kumpf, a United Methodist working with […]

Fix our broken U.S. immigration system now!

Erol Kekic |

Election 2012 is over, and the results show that Americans want our broken immigration system to be fixed – and promptly. Voters saw immigration as a major issue of our day, an issue inseparable from that of the economic recovery.  They clearly rejected as a non-solution the rhetoric of “self-deportation” – trying to make life […]

CWS resettles 5,871 refugees in FY 2012

New York City –- In FY 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012), Church World Service resettled 5,871 refugees toward a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program total of 58,238. “Those numbers represent a chance at life for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program, New York.  […]

Church-hosted refugee gardens prove drought-resistant

Harvest time in Michigan found refugee gardeners in Grand Rapids, Mich., satisfied with a generous yield despite this year’s hot, dry summer. The 89 Bhutanese and Burmese refugee families grew corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes and mustard greens in three community gardens sponsored by Bethany Christian Services’ Refugee Resettlement Services, a CWS affiliate. Holy Cross […]

Hurricane Sandy Southern Ohio event: Volunteers gather to ship supplies for survivors

November 7, 2012

For the latest updates, visit our Hurricane Sandy emergency information page. Eaton, Ohio – In the struggling aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with a fresh Northeaster headed for the same affected coastal areas later this week, humanitarian agency Church World Service and supporters around the nation are continuing to assist survivors with collections, shipments and distribution […]

Emergency Clean-up Buckets for Sandy

Matthew Stevens | November 1, 2012

For the past several years, Pat Via of Eaton Church of the Brethren has led her Sunday School class to organize a Southern Ohio Church of the Brethren District-wide collections of CWS Kits.  In the fall of 2011, they provided 200 Emergency Clean-up Buckets for the Festival of Sharing in Ohio, an ecumenical yearly effort […]

DREAMers’ undocumented parents deserve legal status, too, activist says

October 26, 2012

New York City – Church World Service Thursday evening (Oct. 25) honored the struggles and achievements of immigrants to the United States, giving special recognition to Myrna Orozco, an “undocumented and unafraid” immigrant advocate for the DREAM Act, and Tony Hernandez, a broadcast entrepreneur passionate about capturing immigrants’ life stories in their own words. New […]

CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets: because we care

October 22, 2012

When hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms and other natural disasters strike communities across the United States, our natural urge is to reach out with the same compassion and support we’d give our next-door neighbors. The only question is “how?” Packed with sponges, cleaning supplies, trash bags, disinfectants and more, a CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket offers […]

CWS remembers champion of the poor

John McCullough | October 21, 2012

George McGovern was a friend to humanitarian agency Church World Service and to anyone concerned about the issue of hunger and malnutrition in the world. As the one-time United Nations Ambassador to the Hungry, Senator McGovern had always made battling hunger a top concern, even when the political winds did not favor that fight as […]

Silos in Nicaragua’s rural farm communities seeding the future

October 19, 2012

CARAZO DEPARTMENT, Nicaragua –– As of this week’s World Food Day (October 16-18), one in eight people worldwide suffer from chronic undernourishment. But a growing crop of small grain silos in the poor rural farming communities of Nicaragua’s Carazo department are icons and testament to the fact that hunger battles are being won. The community-scaled, […]

With immigration simmering as a 2012 elections issue, CWS to honor immigrants’ contributions at Oct. 25 event

October 17, 2012

As Americans prepare to vote and with immigration simmering as a 2012 elections issue, global humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) is preparing to honor both the achievements – and struggles – of immigrants to the United States. At a 7 p.m. cocktail reception October 25 at the Museum of the City of New York, […]

Community garden provides fresh vegetables for refugee farmers

October 16, 2012

The Pamoja (Swahili for “together”) Garden for refugees in Hudsonville, Mich., has its roots in Hudsonville’s Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, a co-sponsor of refugees since 1999. “We started with five of us in a men’s Bible study,” said member Marion Vande Steeg.  “We were asked, ‘What have you personally done to help the poor and […]

On World Food Day, Haitian co-ops face struggles but persevere

Chris Herlinger |

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and New York – Today’s World Food Day has special poignancy for a humanitarian agency committed to improving life in rural Haiti. Though commemorated every October 16 to honor the founding of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization after World War II, the day has become a more expansive event about the […]

Resettlement is a chance at life

October 11, 2012

New York City –- In FY 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2012), Church World Service resettled 5,871 refugees toward a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program total of 58,238. “Those numbers represent a chance at life for some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program, New York.  […]

New bill would help refugees

September 24, 2012

New York, N.Y. — Global humanitarian agency Church World Service today applauded the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation that would significantly improve one of the nation’s most important life-saving endeavors, the U.S. refugee resettlement program. CWS Immigration and Refugee Program Director Erol Kekic, based in New York City, said the Strengthening […]

CWS Says US House Bill Improves Lives of Refugees and Communities

New York, N.Y. -– Global humanitarian agency Church World Service today applauded the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation that would significantly improve one of the nation’s most important life-saving endeavors, the U.S. refugee resettlement program. CWS Immigration and Refugee Program Director Erol Kekic, based in New York City, said the Strengthening […]

What each part of the “plus” means in CWS Blankets+

September 19, 2012

Five children explained what each part of the “plus” means in CWS Blankets+ and then they put the “plus” together on the large blanket during the Children’s Moment of the service… I made black “pluses” to put on the windows in the Sanctuary, one for every $50 collected. Last year Churchill Memorial United Methodist Church […]

If you’re an Iowa college student, raising $50,000 to fight hunger ain’t hay

September 4, 2012

DeWitt, Iowa — DeWitt, Iowa, college sophomore Joshua Willey is determined to do his part to end hunger in his lifetime, and he’s not deterred by the looming obstacles: the global food crisis, the 1 billion hungry people in the world, this summer’s unprecedented droughts or the still sluggish economy that is taking a toll […]

Incredible school kit drive

Jeanne Smith | August 15, 2012

I have to share this story with you. It’s been a highlight of my summer! A couple of months ago, my husband Herb and I went to Pa. to be near our families for the summer. I had planned to “skip” the Church World Service school kit drive that I have done since 2005. It […]

After a drowning, swim lessons help calm refugee parents’ fears

August 8, 2012

Phoenix, Ariz. — Refugee children new to the United States may never have learned to swim, let alone seen a swimming pool.  That can make the pool at their apartment complex all the more fascinating – and dangerous, even fatal, as it was earlier this year for a refugee child resettled to Phoenix, Ariz. The […]

Starting life again with respect and dignity

Chanda Timsina often gets asked why she is still living with her parents. Her American-born peers say, “You are 24 now. Don’t you want to get your own apartment?” For her, the choice to stay home is clear, this refugee from Bhutan replies. Solidarity with her family is more important right now than asserting her […]

Growing food and protecting the land

August 7, 2012

Even in the face of the grinding poverty that is a fact of life for indigenous people living in climate-challenged regions of northern Nicaragua, some families are not just using new techniques to grow bigger and better crops, but also working to generate income by selling their surplus produce. That was the message from a […]

In a joint earthquake response, “a lesson in working ‘smart'”

Chris Herlinger | July 27, 2012

NEW YORK — Earlier this year, Donna Derr, who coordinates CWS’s humanitarian and development programs, and Patrick Bell, formerly Christian Aid’s emergency program officer, visited programs funded by both agencies that are assisting communities with housing along the Haitian and Dominican border. CWS, Christian Aid (CAID) and Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID), CWS’s long-time […]

CWS having a clear impact on recovery and reconstruction in Haiti

July 20, 2012

At the two-and-a-half year mark following the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, CWS can claim that the impact of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction is clear, both for CWS and its Haitian partners: 396 homes, housing more than 2,000 people, have been repaired and built in fifteen different small communities and throughout the vast area […]

Child Survival Summit: ‘We’ll be held accountable,’ says CWS head

June 20, 2012

New York, N.Y. – In the afterglow of the energy that characterized last week’s two-day international “Child Survival Call to Action” summit in Washington, D.C., the head of CWS has welcomed the advances shared and commitments made by some 57 countries to end preventable child deaths in our lifetime, but he is voicing a cautionary […]

Refugees’ stories, talents to be featured at CWS World Refugee Day events

June 15, 2012

NEW YORK CITY – Chanda Timsina, a refugee from Bhutan, grew up in a refugee camp in Nepal. In 2009, she and her parents, brother and three sisters got the chance to resettle to the United States. Church World Service welcomed Chanda and her family to Lancaster, Pa. Chanda, her brother and three sisters are […]

CWS welcomes ‘deferred action’ from deportation for 800,000-1,000,000 undocumented young people

New York, NY – Church World Service welcomed the Obama Administration’s announcement today of “deferred action” from the threat of deportation for an estimated 800,000 to one million DREAMers – undocumented immigrant young people who grew up in the United States and simply want to get an education, establish their lives and contribute to this […]

CWS focusing on hunger and malnutrition in D.C. and Brazil meetings

June 13, 2012

With hunger and malnutrition at the top of the world’s agenda, humanitarian agency Church World Service is participating in meetings in Brazil and in Washington, D.C. with an eye toward advocating on all available fronts for public policy that helps to reduce food and nutrition insecurity for the planet’s most vulnerable people. As world leaders […]

CWS issues flood recovery appeal following pallid 2010-2011 international donations to worst disaster in Pakistani history

May 30, 2012

Islamabad, Pakistan — Although millions of people in flood-devastated southern Pakistan are still in dire need a year after massive flooding in 2010 and 2011, the humanitarian community and Pakistani government are working rigorously to help recover lives and livelihoods and to reconstruct the homes of survivors. But more support is urgently needed, as the […]

Making refugees feel welcome: Start with a smile

May 16, 2012

Want to help resettled refugees feel at home and integrate fully into their new U.S. communities?  You can start by offering them a friendly “Good morning!” and a smile. The importance of social networks – including simple neighborliness – for refugees’ successful integration was emphasized repeatedly during Church World Service’s annual national refugee resettlement conference, […]

Sheila McGeehan: resettling refugees in Lancaster, Pa., for 25 years

May 14, 2012

Not many people can claim to have resettled thousands upon thousands of refugees to their hometown – but Sheila McGeehan can. Since she began her work with the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program (CWS/IRP) 25 years ago, she has introduced refugees from all around the world to Lancaster, Pa. – the “tranquil, prosperous, […]

Church World Service CEO John McCullough receives United Methodist Church Council of Bishops ecumenical award

May 2, 2012

Editors: Downloadable high-res photo of Rev. McCullough. TAMPA, Fla. – The Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and chief executive officer of humanitarian agency Church World Service, was honored Tuesday evening (May 1) by his denomination the United Methodist Church for outstanding global ecumenical leadership. A tribute bestowed every four years, McCullough received the Council […]

Congress gets failing grade on climate change, A+ needed, says interfaith coalition

April 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Global humanitarian agency Church World Service was among a diverse coalition of high profile interfaith leaders and activists who took to Capitol Hill and the streets of Washington on Tuesday, with an urgent call for legislation to combat climate change. In an interview with Rolling Stone Wednesday, President Barack Obama said he […]

Church World Service praises new U.S. initiative putting child survival as top priority

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Humanitarian agency Church World Service has said it is encouraged by the Monday announcement of a new initiative and commitment by the United States to put global child survival as a top priority. Following USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s announcement of the agency’s new campaign called “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday,” Church […]

Report: Global targets for better nutrition are not only stalled, but worsening

Chris Herlinger | April 23, 2012

New York – For humanitarian agencies like CWS, the news that the spike in world food prices is worsening the outlook for improved nutrition globally is neither pleasant nor surprising. A new report says that progress toward better nutrition and food security is stalled – and getting worse. Jos Verbeek, the lead economist at the […]

A Summit, and a Moment to Spotlight the Problem of Childhood Hunger

April 20, 2012

This is a cross-posting of a blog called written by our Deputy Director, Head of Programs, Maurice A. Bloem. New York – The announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that Chicago will host a May 21 summit on the issue of child malnutrition in the U.S. and throughout the world is good news. If no […]

Micronutrient supplements helping overcome child malnutrition, but more needed for long-term food security

March 30, 2012

KINANGO DISTRICT, Kenya — In the dry and poor east Kenya district of Kinango, humanitarian worker Sammy Mutua watched and listened as mothers recounted how their small children, suffering from malnutrition, had been listless and had little appetite, but now were eating heartily after only one month of daily multi-micronutrient powder supplements (MNPs) sprinkled in […]

Bringing nutrition awareness home in Kenya’s famine-scarred Kinango

KINANGO DISTRICT, Kenya — Food security specialists for humanitarian agency Church World Service, just returning from a nutrition program monitoring trip to Kenya’s drought- and famine-stricken Kinango district, say small children suffering malnutrition are now benefiting from a new multi-micronutrient powder (MNPs) supplementation program in the district.  Yet the humanitarian team said building nutrition awareness […]

March 30 Lancaster conference seeks to strengthen refugees’ integration

March 28, 2012

Strengthening the integration of refugees being resettled from around the world to Lancaster County, Pa., is the goal of a community conference set for Friday (March 30) and cosponsored by Church World Service and Franklin and Marshall College. The conference is the latest in a series of collaborations between CWS and the college, whose president, […]

Principles, priorities for a ‘faithful’ federal budget unveiled

March 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC -— Church World Service is among supporters of the “Faithful Budget” proposal unveiled March 22 for congressional consideration.  The proposal contains a set of comprehensive and compassionate budget principles that will protect the common good, value each individual and help lift the burden on the poor. CWS executive director and CEO the Rev. […]

Global Activists Set to Tackle Economic Justice at D.C. Conference

March 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC –– In little over a week advocates, activists and presenters from across the United States and around the world will gather outside Washington, D.C., to explore the economy, livelihoods and national priorities. With the theme “Is This the Fast We Seek,” the tenth international Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference (March 23 – March 26) […]

International Women’s Day: CWS empowering women around the world

March 7, 2012

Most of the more than one billion people in the world today living in extreme poverty are women and girls. “Their impoverishment is a product of inequality, circumscribed participation in decision making, and being deprived of economic opportunities, access to resources, education and support services,” said CWS Executive Director and CEO John L. McCullough. This […]

Ending child malnutrition in Kenya, one sprinkle at a time

February 24, 2012

MWINGI DISTRICT, Kenya –– In a country facing some of the highest malnutrition rates in more than a decade, global humanitarian agency Church World Service announced today that it has launched a nutritional supplement initiative aimed at reaching thousands of malnourished children in eastern Kenya whose physical and mental development and health are permanently at […]

Advocating for Pinhook

CWS flood response in Missouri: Debra Tarver – YouTube Video CWS Emergency Response Specialist Bryan Crousore traveled to the Missouri House of Representatives on Feb. 22 to show support for the people of Pinhook, a Missouri village that was deliberately flooded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of a flood control program. […]

Valentine lifesavers: ‘Candy’s dandy but alternative gifts are quicker and grander’

February 10, 2012

NEW YORK, N.Y. – For Valentine’s Day, candy’s dandy but alternative gifts are quicker, go farther, and don’t show up on the bathroom scales, says humanitarian agency Church World Service. The relief, development and refugee protection agency says giving an affordable, “alternative gift” in your sweetheart’s name helps people in the world’s poorest communities rise […]

Zion UCC promotes Blankets+ in the Advent-Christmas season

January 27, 2012

“Zion U.C.C. in Henderson, Ky, schedules the Church World Service Blankets+ appeal in the Advent-Christmas season.  We use posters to announce the effort and publish it with a list of mission projects.  We have a CWS blanket displayed and used in our youth and children’s sermon during worship.  During the presentation, which frankly is just […]

Haiti recovery: No room for complacency, no time for blame, says CWS

Washington, D.C. — Church World Service staff and representatives of Haitian civil society organizations met with members of Congress and representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department in Washington this week to address persistent problems in Haiti two years after the country’s devastating earthquake. The series of Congressional briefings were […]

Albion, Michigan, Church Makes School Kits for Storm Survivors

January 24, 2012

The youth at our small church took on the huge task of putting together 30 School Kits to help children who lost their schools and places of education through the storms and floods.  Our children, who call themselves “Helping Hands,” collected change from the congregation every Sunday morning and then decided how to put the […]

Coalition of U.S., Haitian non-profits staging “Haiti Advocacy Week” Jan. 23-25

January 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Church World Service and other members of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG), a coalition of major U.S. non-profits committed to Haiti, aren’t stopping their efforts because the second anniversary of Haiti’s shattering earthquake has passed: The coalition has scheduled a battery of events in Washington this week (January 23 – January […]

Leaders in disaster ministry to gather for CWS forum

January 20, 2012

Faith communities often play a crucial role in responding to disasters throughout the United States, such as by building houses, providing emotional care to survivors and meeting other unmet needs. How and why faith communities respond to disasters will be explored at the 2012 Church World Service Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry, March 19-21 in […]

With more intensive orientation, CWS gives new refugee arrivals a stronger foundation

January 19, 2012

At the same time as it launched its Citizenship Education and Naturalization Services Program, the Church World Service office in Greensboro, N.C., also launched Cultural Orientation for Refugee Empowerment (CORE). CWS-Greensboro recognized that new refugee arrivals were in need of a more comprehensive approach to community and cultural orientation. While case managers spent hours working […]

Pre-resettlement CWS ESL Pilot Project boosts U.S.-bound refugees’ skills, confidence

Imagine you’re a refugee who has never been to school and maybe never even held a pen or pencil.  You don’t speak a word of English.  And you’ve just been approved to resettle in the United States.  You might well be feeling anxious, wondering what you are in for. That pretty well describes the class […]

Meet three new U.S. citizens! Thuong, Mahawa and Blinh

Thuong Vu, an immigrant from Vietnam, has been in the United States for six years.  He took the citizenship test twice on his own and failed; after taking the CWS class, he tried a third time and succeeded.  The key, he said, was learning the questions and vocabulary on the N-400 form, the application submitted […]

CWS “Neighbors in Need” program looks at urban refugees and their host communities

Where do most refugees live?  While about one-third of the world’s estimated 10.6 million refugees are in sprawling camps in remote rural areas, roughly another third live in cities.  And their number is growing. But most existing practices and guidelines for refugee protection and assistance have been developed for rural, camp-based settings rather than for […]

CWS helps refugees with English, civics and other building blocks for citizenship

Test your knowledge of U.S. history and government!  Click here to take the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Self Test!  Then read about how Church World Service is helping refugees and other eligible immigrants prepare for the test. Church World Service, with 36 refugee resettlement offices and affiliates in 21 states, perceived a need […]

Faithful resistance to Alabama’s anti-immigrant HB 56

Rev. Noel Andersen |

God “enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.”  Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Common English Bible Alabama’s House Bill 56 is the harshest anti-immigrant legislation yet to pass in the United States.  Alabama is now the epicenter […]

Feed the Future, CWS and YOU (webinar)

January 13, 2012

Please join Rev. John L. McCullough of Church World Service (CWS) and USAID’s Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives for a special briefing on President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative and the work of CWS addressing food security issues around the world.  It’s a chance to learn about what’s working in the struggle to overcome […]

CWS supports proposed family waiver reforms, urges relief for more families

January 11, 2012

Washington, D.C. — On January 6, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intent to stop requiring certain undocumented family members of U.S. citizens to leave the United States before they can apply for a waiver to allow them to remain with their family members. Church World Service, […]

Ecumenical Advocacy Days Coming Soon!

January 9, 2012

The 10th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) gathering is quickly approaching. This year’s Washington, DC event will be held March 23-26, 2012.  Entitled “Is this the fast that I choose,” the conference will look at economy, livelihoods and our nation’s policy priorities through the lens of Isaiah 58. Participants will gather from churches throughout the […]

Hunger, Need to Reduce Risk for Major Disasters Among Top Concerns for 2012

January 4, 2012

NEW YORK – The number of children in poverty who are hungry could reach unparalleled levels in 2012 given the state of the global economy, Church World Service says in its annual New Year’s assessment. “Those numbers could be considerable and unparalleled, even in the so-called ‘First World,’” said John L. McCullough, CWS executive director […]

John Backer, 61-year veteran of Church World Service, passed away December 14

December 16, 2011

John Backer, whose 61-year career with Church World Service began as a volunteer welcoming refugees from post-war Europe upon arrival at the piers of New York City, died December 14, 2011, following a heart attack.  He was 79. The family has scheduled the funeral for Saturday, December 17, 2011, at Broadway United Church of Christ, […]

Kenyan youth return from COP17 aiming to take action on climate

December 12, 2011

Scope of warming effects, African deforestation unfold on road to Durban DURBAN, South Africa – As extended climate change talks ended in Durban, South Africa, on Sunday with much unresolved despite agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol through 2017, a group of young Kenyan delegates who traveled to Durban in an African youth caravan are […]

Sonia Pierre: A colossus of a heart demanding justice

Jasmine Huggins | December 5, 2011

Sonia Pierre was a feminist, activist, leader, mother, grandmother, counselor, speaker, defender of human rights, development practitioner and humanitarian.   She died Sunday afternoon, December 4, much too young at age 48, having lived almost three times that many lifetimes, worn out from having fought since the age of 13 for the defense of rights of […]

“We have much for which to be grateful.”

Mary Sotomayor | November 21, 2011

We called her Frau Kepple.  She was the substitute English teacher at my high school, but we knew her as “that German lady who was a refugee and told us to call her Frau.” She was a short woman, only standing slightly above five feet, but had a commanding presence and a compelling story. Frau […]

“Don’t cut programs that will cost lives, harm America”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – While members of the Congressional Super Committee all but acknowledged their failure to reach an agreement on the federal budget, Church World Service joined with people of faith in cities across the U.S. on Sunday in sending a clear message to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and Congress that cuts […]

One eco-tech toilet: cause for celebration in this Moldovan village school

November 18, 2011

Ceremony heralds World Toilet Day HASNASENII MARI, Moldova — Kids attending school in the small, northern Moldova village of Hasnasenii Mari today celebrated their school’s first toilet at a special ceremony. The new urine diverting dry toilet (UDDT), or composting toilet, is the first of its kind in northern Moldova, inaugurated a day before World […]

On Durban and climate change: “America leads, it does not follow,” CWS urges President

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the lead up to the COP-17 climate change summit in Durban, South Africa (November 28 – December 9), the head of international humanitarian agency Church World Service has urged President Barack Obama and State Department negotiators to make good on U.S. promises in Copenhagen and Cancun by committing now to the […]

Global Youth to exert pressure on world leaders at Durban Climate Change Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of the global climate change summit of world leaders in Durban, South Africa, young people from Church World Service programs in Africa will join their counterparts from around the globe in presenting 1 million petitions to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a massive Nov. 27 interfaith youth rally in Durban, […]

Their faithfulness lives on…

November 16, 2011

Over the years the members of Wilson Congregational Church in Windsor, Conn have supported Church World Service programs with Blankets+ offerings, CROP Hunger Walks and other support. But their final gift might be the most meaningful. The congregation’s $175,000 gift to CWS came from the sale of their church building, a final act of philanthropy […]

Horn of Africa: Rain for some people, hunger for most

November 11, 2011

As an estimated 13 million people continue suffering the effects of a historic drought in the Horn of Africa, recent rains have given hope to some farmers in the region. In parts of Kenya, October rains have allowed farming communities to plant fields in anticipation of a harvest in January or February. Other areas are […]

CWS, CROP Hunger Walks and Food Security: A Q&A with Paul Weisenfeld of USAID

November 4, 2011

When participants in the CWS-sponsored CROP Hunger Walk in Arlington, Va. stepped off from Arlington Forest United Methodist Church last month, among the walkers was the head of the federal bureau charged with leading the effort to implement President Obama’s global food security initiative. Paul Weisenfeld, who heads USAID’s Bureau for Food Security didn’t just […]

CWS in the ring with a champ

Update, Nov. 9:  Church World Service client and boxer Angelo “La Cobra” Santana lived up to his nickname Saturday night (Nov. 5), successfully defending his WBA Super Lightweight title against Broderick Antoine.  Santana won by technical knockout in the first round.  CWS-Miami Office staff Mabel Hernandez and Oscar Rivera joined promoter Don King and others […]

Message to the Dominican Republic: ‘Embrace the hyphen’

November 3, 2011

A special report on the October 26 Conference on Statelessness and the Right to Nationality in the Dominican Republic held at Georgetown Law Center, submitted by advocacy organizations who co-sponsored the event and a week of advocacy in Washington supporting the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reflecting on the history of […]

‘Preserving poverty-focused international assistance funding is a moral necessity’

November 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Responding to hunger and poverty is not a partisan issue.  It is not a Republican or Democratic issue, nor is it a conservative or liberal issue.  It is a moral issue that people of faith, across the political spectrum, agree upon,” the Rev. John McCullough, Executive Director and CEO, Church World Service, […]

Water for All: Sustainable water projects need ownership

October 31, 2011

David Weaver, Church World Service senior advisor for Global Advocacy attended the Oct. 25-27 Global Forum of the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches.  EWN is a network of churches and Christian organizations “promoting  people’s access to water around the world.”  In this interview, from the WCC, Weaver  discusses how the Mwingi […]

“Good! Good! We will do that!”

October 27, 2011

That was the immediate response of refugee teens in northwestern Rochester, N.Y., when Kathy LaBue suggested they organize a CROP Hunger Walk as a community service project. LaBue is co-founder of Mary’s Place, a community center for the many resettled refugees living in Rochester’s Maplewood and Edgerton neighborhoods.  “I had walked in CROP Hunger Walks […]

40 years strong: Quad-Cities CROP Hunger Walk

October 25, 2011

Hunger is a moving topic for folks in the Quad-Cities Area. The proof? Roughly 700 walkers from Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill., took to the streets on October 2 to help fight hunger in the nation’s only bi-state CROP Hunger Walk. This year marked the 40th year for the Quad […]

CWS 2020 Vision Adopted by CWS Board

October 21, 2011

ELGIN, Ill. – Combining “faith with a plan of action,” the board of directors of humanitarian agency Church World Service unanimously approved a strategic vision to meet the requirements for superior performance in a changing global environment. Calling the moment “historic,” CWS CEO and Executive Director, the Rev. John L. McCullough said the changes will […]

Church World Service resettles 5,322 refugees in FY 2011 toward 56,424 U.S. refugee program total

October 14, 2011

Updated Monday, October 24, 2011 Delays resulting from the introduction of new U.S. Homeland Security checks in February contributed to a significant drop in U.S. refugee admissions in FY 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 – Sept. 30, 2011), with Church World Service resettling 5,322 (down from 7,055 in FY 2010) toward a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program […]

World Food Day: Haiti co-ops provide dependable food supply

October 13, 2011

Port-au-Prince, Haiti and New York – When you climb the mountains of northern Haiti and are greeted by the welcoming residents of the “Hand in Hand” food cooperative in Mayombe you are not just in good company. You also are witnessing a successful social experiment – a community becoming self-sufficient in feeding itself. “It’s a […]

Focus on reducing disasters: “One way we are making a difference”

Chris Herlinger |

Yogyakarta, Indonesia – The need to focus on reducing the risks of disasters takes on special meaning on the International Day for Disaster Reduction (October 13) and throughout October. Similarly, such a focus united some 40 participants in common purpose during a recent ACT Alliance global workshop on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. […]

America’s oldest hunger walk ups the pace as need grows

October 10, 2011

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – For the past 15 years, 67-year-old Marilyn Pisa has spent her Labor Day morning walking 4.5 miles through the neighborhoods of Valencia and Newhall, Calif., to support her local CROP Hunger Walk, one of some 1,500 events held annually nationwide and deemed the oldest hunger walks in America. CROP Hunger Walk, […]

Facing similar struggles, CWS brings together indigenous people

Fionula Cregan/CWS | October 5, 2011

SANTA FE, Paraguay — Without a new peer exchange program, Omar might not learn new ways to help feed his community. “I feel inspired by what I have learned from my Bolivian friends – they have only a small amount of land but have managed to do many things,” says Omar Suarez, leader of the […]

Stories from the DREAM Sabbath

September 29, 2011

When the Rev. Mary Ellen Finegan of Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, W.Va., stood up to preach this past Sunday, she knew that her message would be controversial with some members. She was about to speak out in support of the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for […]

Weedsport, NY, church enthused about Blankets+ Program

September 27, 2011

“My congregation is enthused about being part of the Blankets+ Program, because they know that their contributions are making a big difference in people’s lives, and in the future of entire communities.  Blankets+ is an investment that pays long-term dividends in the form of better health, higher standards of living, and environmental preservation in areas […]

Bearing witness to Africa’s suffering

Joe Moran | September 21, 2011

We live in a global society. If ever I needed proof of that I got it two weeks ago when Joe Moran, Jr. became unemployed. Jobs that once provided steady employment are dwindling with many going abroad. My son has worked hard for 13 years at different things: He’s a certified Tech-10 Toyota technician; he’s […]

Housewife and refugee turns businesswoman

September 13, 2011

“Now there are many customers buying cakes and cookies from me,” says Amina Abdi Muhammad, 32, a Somali refugee and mother of eight. Amina is one of many refugees who received assistance from Church World Service for her cake and cookies business. Amina first arrived in Jakarta five years ago with her husband and her […]

Chronicling the East African drought

Tim Shenk/CWS | August 23, 2011

There are an endless number of stories to tell about this year’s devastating drought in East Africa.  Across much of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and beyond, 13.3 million people are struggling to survive the failure of seasonal rains, the scarcity of water and the skyrocketing price of food. “This time is the worst drought we ever […]

Speaking up for the poor is worth the cost

Marty Shupack/CWS | August 18, 2011

In my 16 years of faith-based public policy advocacy in Washington, I’ve never seen a more brutal Congressional attack on programs for hungry and vulnerable individuals and families. That’s why I decided to do something out of the ordinary.  On July 28 with 10 other people of faith, I engaged in an act of civil […]

Water fuels supporter’s passion for CWS

August 16, 2011

Water is a recurring theme in the life of John M. Walsh III. “My life’s work is making water safe to use,” says Walsh, the founder of a water quality firm based in New Jersey. “For over 50 years I have been involved in many areas having to do with water quality.” While Walsh’s work […]

Indigenous women flaunt drought, save crops with a few clay pots of water

August 9, 2011

GRAN CHACO REGION, Paraguay — In the vast, dry Chaco region of South America where water and prosperity are scarce, indigenous women of the Paraguayan Chaco are now growing abundant vegetables by burying handmade clay pots in their gardens to help capture, retain and utilize the little rain that does fall. The simple and ingenious […]

In Ohio, Somali refugees worry for their family

August 5, 2011

In Columbus, Ohio, a portrait of peaceful parents with their impish, healthy children belies the family’s worry these days for their drought-afflicted relatives back home in the Horn of Africa. Dahir Adan, 30, and his wife Fartun Muhumed, 26, are refugees from Somalia, resettled to the United States in February 2010 by Church World Service […]

Church World Service steps up response to East Africa famine

July 27, 2011

NEW YORK, N.Y. and NAIROBI, Kenya –– With famine in the Eastern Horn of Africa worsening, global humanitarian agency Church World Service is continuing its initial response to the crisis and today announced a U.S. fundraising campaign for critically needed food and water initiatives. This year marks the driest period in the Eastern Horn of […]

Africa’s drought: the context of a heartbreaking emergency

A July 27, 2011 interview by Chris Herlinger with Sammy Matua, Church World Service staff member based in the agency’s East Africa regional office in Nairobi. CH: Drought has not been uncommon in the Eastern Horn of Africa. But how is this current event different from previous ones? SM: In earlier droughts, even ones that […]

In Japan, work continues as needs abound

Damon Perry/CWS | July 26, 2011

It’s more than four months since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast cost of Japan, claiming thousands of lives and making thousands more homeless. More than 15,000 have been confirmed dead, and 7,000 more remain unaccounted for. In the hardest-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, almost 200,000 people have been evacuated […]

You have reached 65 years, but please don’t retire!

Chris Herlinger | July 22, 2011

NEW YORK – “You have reached 65 years, but please don’t retire!” With those words, Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regional representative for the United States and the Caribbean, joined those wishing Church World Service a fond birthday as the global humanitarian agency marked its 65th anniversary and its long service […]

Even after 65 years, resettling refugees still critical to CWS work

July 20, 2011

With famine now declared in parts of Somalia and more than 11.3 million people in need of aid in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, Church World Service is providing emergency food relief, water tankering and long-term disaster risk reduction programs, beginning in northern and eastern Kenya. As thousands of those affected by this crisis […]

Child’s play, on the streets of Belgrade

Jovana Savic and Matt Hackworth/CWS | July 14, 2011

“These children didn’t choose to live on the street. They are left there. They survive on empty stomachs, without love. They don’t go to school and have never been to the doctor. They are growing up before they become children. All it takes is just a little goodwill so their lives can change for the […]

CWS-trained safety experts spread message, reduce risk across Asia

Damon Perry | July 7, 2011

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – On a hotel rooftop, overlooking the ocean waves crashing on to the beach along the coastline a group of young men and women, mostly Tamils, is in good spirits considering the gravity of the conversation’s subject matter: security issues, from landmines to traffic accidents. The local aid group Organization for Elangai […]

Congressional Briefing on the Right to Food

June 24, 2011

On June 2, 2011 the Interfaith Working Group on Global Hunger and Food Security and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy sponsored a Congressional briefing on the right to food and sustainable approaches to food security.  Hosted by Congressman Jim McGovern (MA), the participants and attendees included staff from congressional offices, development and faith-based […]

Fighting hunger, even after a direct hit

June 17, 2011

A tornado destroyed a third of their town. But the people of the Central States CROP Hunger Walk, in Joplin, Missouri are forging ahead with their annual walk for this fall. “Two weeks after the tornado, our church held a pie and ice cream social for a local literacy organization,” Edna Lassman says. “If we […]

A policy to help save lives

June 16, 2011

BANGKOK – As a leader in humanitarian accountability and standards, Church World Service Asia-Pacific hosted around 50 representatives of humanitarian aid organizations in the region to share views on the increasingly insecure operating environments in which they work, and the importance of accountability towards local partners. The conference, Responsibilities and Response: a Discussion on Policy […]

Water is life in Nicaragua

June 8, 2011

With more than a billion people worldwide lacking clean water and more than 2.1 million people most of them children dying each year from waterborne disease, water cannot be taken for granted.  In a recent visit to eastern Nicaragua, Church World Service Michigan staff Antoinette Lloyd-Evans and several colleagues met with partner CIEETS (Interchurch Center […]

CWS discusses food security, migration at D.C. climate change conference

May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC — The best–perhaps only way–to manage climate change is to take into consideration all the areas on which it has an impact. To that end, national and international experts from government and faith-based relief and development organizations gathered at the May 19 International Adaptation Conference at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill to […]

Personal security means safety for all

May 23, 2011

An ACT member working in Ethiopia has an extensive water project in the eastern part of the country.  One day, the chief mechanic was driving a pick-up truck filled with water construction materials to the project area. From the river bank of the right side of the highway Children were walking along the highway and […]

CWS Asia Pacific shares new security resources

Bangkok – ACT Alliance’s “Safety and Security Awareness Week” is our opportunity to increase security awareness and good practice amongst Alliance members and our organisational partners.  This task is especially important given that concerns for safety and security in the delivery of humanitarian assistance have risen significantly in recent years.  Last month, the UN Office […]

Church remains dedicated to service, even in the face of tragedy

May 16, 2011

Even though Shells Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grantville, Pennsylvania suffered a fire in their sanctuary and social hall by an arsonist, they still collected donations for the CWS Blankets+ program and will be collecting donations for the tools project in June. Shells’ congregation “gets it” and reaches out to those in need no matter what!  Shells […]

Working for the rights of mothers and children

May 11, 2011

Stella Mkiliwane brings her own experiences as a refugee mother from Zimbabwe to her work with the Refugee Ministries Centre, a Church World Service partner in Johannesburg, South Africa. A family therapist and social worker by training, her work for an international humanitarian organization in Zimbabwe exposed her to the suffering of her fellow citizens, […]

Indentured as children, empowered for life

Chris Herlinger |

Port-au-Prince, Haiti – Just by sheer numbers alone, young people in Haiti are a vital force in society — roughly half of the country’s population of about 10 million is now under the age of 20. But young people face enormous challenges: in a country where still only half of the population is literate, acquiring […]

To sing is to pray twice

Rev. Amy Gopp |

It is said in Bosnia that “To sing is to pray twice.” This old proverb eloquently captures the mission of Pontanima Interfaith Choir.  Our most earnest supplications have been the songs we have lifted up in the last decade.  When we could rarely find the words to utter even the briefest prayer, we relied on […]

One woman’s passion for helping other people

Delmys Licona brings her passion to life in an instant, detailing the development work she holds so dear while embracing her baby boy.  Her passion shines in her relationships with her staff and the communities she serves.  And it’s obvious hiking up steep terrain to visit remote villages that this woman is committed to reaching […]

Mayfield CROP Hunger Walk: ‘Being the change you want to see.’

Chris Herlinger |

For the members of the Mayfield, N.Y., Central Presbyterian Church and others who had seen a tragedy unfolding for several days, there was no question that their commitment to helping the world’s hungry would continue. Because despite a lightning strike and a resulting fire that destroyed the church building on April 28, Mayfield residents went […]

Socially vulnerable Roma children begin journey to a better life

May 5, 2011

Like parents in any other part of the world, Svetislav Nedeljkovic only wants the best for his children, despite being forced from home to live in temporary camps following Kosovo’s 1999 violence. “My three children were born in the camp, and all of them, except Aleksandar, spent their early childhood without the proper education,” he […]

The boy with the world under his fingertips

Jovana Savic/CWS | April 27, 2011

Sebastijan Asimovski sees plenty of possibilities in his future. This bright, energetic first grader is constantly envisaging what’s next. His story wouldn’t be all that different from those of other enthusiastic first graders if not for his age and his disability. For Sebastijan is 20 years old and visually impaired. “My son lost his eyesight […]

Nicaragua: Learning new ways and walking to a new horizon

April 6, 2011

In the midst of gripping poverty, Cruz Rivas Williams sees great potential right under his feet. “The greatest gift God has given us is the water and the land,” says Williams. Williams knows something about the gifts of water and land – he trains local farmers in sustainable farming techniques in the Nazaret 1 training […]

Pillow fighting to end hunger

Jackie Carlson |

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students Olivia Brown and Courtney Patterson saw a unique way to fight hunger, an idea that – quite literally – smacked them in the face. ”A lot of people are doing walks and runs, so we wanted to do something that would stand out,” Patterson says.  They saw the need to […]

Japan: CWS helps provide food and other basics

Chris Herlinger |

One of the first thoughts Takeshi Komino had when the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeastern part of Japan was pointed and surprising. “Is this really happening in my country of Japan?” thought Komino, head of emergencies for CWS Asia/Pacific.  “Japan is considered one of the richest nations in the world with probably the […]

A dam walk in Texas helps kick off Spring CROP Hunger Walk season

You can excuse any residents of Canyon Lake in central Texas Hill Country for referring to their town’s annual hunger-fighting walk as, “That dam walk.” The description is hardly a pejorative when the route of the walk indeed does take walkers straight across Canyon Lake Dam, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built years […]

Promoting health education and services for vulnerable communities in Pakistan

For many of us, taking a sick child to the doctor is a routine occurrence.  But what if there are no doctors?  No medicines?  No hospitals? One young mother in Segram, Pakistan, knows the answer.  Even when she was fortunate enough to have a little money, Sadia’s only option was to visit what she called […]

A mighty call for mercy on behalf of the world’s battered women

Jasmine Huggins |

As if the challenges of putting their lives back together after a devastating earthquake weren’t already big enough, Haitian women are enduring an epidemic of rape and sexual violence. The 900,000 population that lives in tents in spontaneous settlements is particularly at risk owing to precarious living conditions.  But women all over Haiti are vulnerable, […]

World Water Day: Conference examines Moldova water supply issues

March 22, 2011

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA — Church World Service is joining global recognition of World Water Day (March 22) with co-sponsorship of a major conference today in Chisinau, Moldova, Implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in Moldova, which will focus on the international Protocol on Water and Health. “Access to clean water is one of […]

In search of water, forced to flee

March 9, 2011

CWS Director of Immigration and Refugee Programs Erol Kekic explains how people are increasingly forced to move because of a lack of water. Do people really become refugees because they don’t have access to water? Many people are forced to abandon their traditional habitats because of the lack of drinking water.  Due to the climate […]

Water: simple solutions, big changes

Access to clean, safe water doesn’t take massive investment in many communities where water is scarce.  One characteristic of CWS work around the world is small-scale solutions that are guided, developed and sustained in each community.  Here are a few examples of how we’re working around the world, where small projects make a big impact. […]

How can we tell them “no?”

Half a world away from the budget battle in Washington, Aliansa do Rego lives in the country of Timor-Leste. Aliansa works alongside CWS staff to help her community learn new farming techniques. “This was the first assistance we received,” Aliansa says.  “Seeds for water spinach and tomatoes, and tools from CWS.  This is our livelihood.” […]

When water is scarce, hiking’s no fun

Angela Rupchock-Schafer |

I love hiking.  I can hike day or night, easy terrain or tough.  You name it, I’m game. But hiking for me is a pleasure, something I do to help relieve stress, to work on gaining some peace and perspective.  And it certainly is not something I do while struggling to carry heavy jugs of […]

CWS’s McCullough to human rights hearing: Lack of safe water for all a correctible injustice

March 3, 2011

WASHINGTON — In testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington this morning, the head of international humanitarian agency Church World Service cited the “extraordinary meaning and power of water” and described by contrast the lack of safe water and sanitation for one-eighth of the world’s people as “repugnant to our sense of […]

An American-Darfuri tale: Kendra Rinas & the Moussas

Kendra Rinas, on staff with the CWS Resettlement Support Center (formerly Overseas Processing Entity) for sub-Saharan Africa, spent February to June 2009 in Chad helping prepare refugees’ case files for final review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Then, in March 2010, CWS relocated her to Chad, where she leads the work to interview […]

“New Beginnings” for refugee youth in Louisville

March 2, 2011

On a snowy Saturday afternoon in December, excitement and music filled the air at a neighborhood community center in Louisville, Kentucky. Twenty-three refugee youth from across the city gathered, with their tutor/mentors, to create their own drums, explore the relationship between rhythm and beat, and make music together as one around an international drumming circle. […]

In the end, disaster preparedness is ‘all about people’

Chris Herlinger/CWS | February 9, 2011

In the hills of northern Haiti, along the U.S. Gulf Coast, to the beaches of Indonesia and the mountains of Pakistan, people are better off because Church World Service makes disaster preparedness part of its ongoing work. “They say, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” says Aaron Tate, CWS’s Haiti earthquake […]

Taking stock for the future

Investment ideas…tax saving techniques…planning for retirement…suggestions for a truly thoughtful will…the best assets to use for charitable gifts…all of these planning concepts are tremendously important to friends of Church World Service.  In fact, they’re so important that we are eager to provide reliable tax and financial information as part of our long-range development activities. As […]

Find hope…and be prepared

Hope! Things do get better. When we work together, when we believe in the possibility of change, we can take tremendous strides forward. Words and tenets I believe in…particularly as I reflect on the growing number of disasters globally and a time when disaster preparedness and mitigation are of key importance to communities everywhere. Growing […]

CWS Kits: ‘This is a sacred task’

Cindy Watson/CWS |

As full-time residents on an island in Alaska, I think the people of Sitka are hearty survivalists.  They understand being prepared in an emergency.  Perhaps that’s why this community identified so closely with the concept of a CWS Kit.  A note about the kits they recently shipped to our warehouse in Arkansas explains: Ours is […]

Darfuri refugees in the CROP Hunger Walk

January 12, 2011

A recently resettled refugee family from Darfur, Sudan, braved a cold, pouring rain to participate in last fall’s CROP Hunger Walk in Erie, Pa. The Tiras raised nearly $200 for CWS work to fight hunger in Erie and around the world. “Katie White is the Community Outreach Director of the International Institute of Erie (IIE), […]

An oasis of caring and practical assistance

Carol Fouke/CWS |

The shockwaves from the earthquake that ravaged Haiti also swept across the Haitian-American community.  It was not unusual to have lost five, 10, even 20 family members in the rubble.  Everyone heard story after heart-wrenching story of death, injury, and loss of home and livelihood.  Survivors’ pleas for help from their U.S.-based kin multiplied. A […]

A year later in Haiti ‘we see people trying to move on with their lives’

Chris Herlinger | January 10, 2011

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Media coverage of the first year since the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake is focused on government inaction, the slow pace of recovery and the seeming inability of Haiti to recover. But the story has another side: Haitians helping Haitians, say Church World Service staff and CWS partners in anticipation of this […]

CWS’s McCullough hails U.S. shift to local farmers and nutrition as solution to global hunger

January 5, 2011

Feed the Future consult calls on experience of faith-based agencies UN-FAO: “We need to hear from you because you are in touch with even the smallest of the grassroots organizations.” Washington, D.C. — John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of humanitarian agency Church World Service, today hailed the new United States commitment to a […]

Stories: Excerpts from an RSC/Nairobi caseworker’s journal

October 1, 2010

A caseworker with the Nairobi-based CWS Resettlement Support Center, Rosalie Hughes helps compile the case files of refugees being considered for U.S. resettlement and get the files ready for presentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for refugees’ final interview. And she keeps a journal. Here are some excerpts. Dadaab, Kenya – Stories begin I […]