Andy Harrington’s first message
It’s been nearly two months now since I began the role of executive director of Canadian Foodgrains Bank. What a time it has been! I remember calling my wife Helen the week after I started, telling her how blessed I felt to be part of this incredible network.
I join you, and the rest of the Foodgrains Bank network, after leading an organization that works to improve access to education for families in central and eastern Africa. One thing that struck me again and again throughout this work was that a quality education cannot be achieved where hunger exists. When families are facing hunger, parents may keep children home from school to help out at home or earn money to buy food. If children do attend school on an empty stomach, they are often unable to focus in class and retain much of what they are learning.
But it doesn’t just stop at education. Ending hunger is the first step in reaching each person’s God-given potential. You cannot get a quality education, receive the energy and nutrients needed to work, or maintain your physical and mental health if you are experiencing hunger.
Being able to join the Foodgrains Bank—a network focused on helping people realize their full potential—is an immense blessing and honour. One thing that immediately struck me was the breadth of the way Foodgrains Bank partners and members work together. This network’s ability to unite people from all walks of life, including different Christian denominations, rural communities and people living in cities, around the common goal of ending global hunger is remarkable.
As Christians, we are called to love our neighbour, seek justice and feed the hungry. In the Bible, we read time and time again about God’s heart for the poor and marginalized—for the ‘least of these.’ I am humbled to be a part of the Foodgrains Bank family and to serve the God I love alongside all of you, as we work toward a world without hunger.
At a time when global hunger is on the rise due to conflict, a changing climate and now COVID-19, it can be hard not to feel overwhelmed or fearful in this work.
Yet as we face the task ahead of us, I feel humbled, committed and hopeful.
I am reminded of Mordecai’s encouragement to his cousin in the book of Esther. ‘For such a time as this,’ he says, reminding Esther of God’s plan, and God’s unwavering love and guidance.
This past year alone, we’ve seen COVID-19 push more families into hunger and threaten the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in developing countries, and we’ve seen the devastating impact the explosion in Beirut had on families living in Lebanon. The Foodgrains Bank acted swiftly in response to these challenges. Our members and their partners worked quickly to assess and determine what support was needed, Global Affairs Canada came forward with additional funding, and you, along with Canadians across the country, donated generously to ensure we had the funds needed to respond.
As I look toward the future, I think ‘for such a time as this’ and remind myself of the purpose of the Foodgrains Bank, of the more than 30 years experience of working together to end hunger, and most of all, of God’s guidance and plan. Now, more than ever, the Foodgrains Bank is well-positioned to respond to hunger needs around the world. I am grateful to play a role in that response, and I thank you for your important role in this work.
Andy Harrington, Executive Director
Meet Andy Harrington
We’d initially hoped to have Andy travel across the country in the fall to meet Foodgrains Bank supporters. While that is not an option at the moment, we’ve done the next best thing–filmed a short video of Andy answering some of your questions.