Humanitarians Honored for Building Lasting Solutions to Hunger

October 12, 2016

Barb Lack, Foods Resource Bank

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World Food Prize President Ambassador Ken Quinn (far left) and FRB Board Director Geoff Andersen (far right) congratulate 2016 Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award recipients Ron DeWeerd and Joan Fumetti. (Photo courtesy of FRB)

For the first time, The World Food Prize honored two recipients with the Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award. Foods Resource Bank’s Director of Resource Development Ron DeWeerd and retired employee and current volunteer Reverend Joan Fumetti both received the award October 10 at the Iowa Hunger Summit luncheon in Des Moines. This prestigious award is given annually to recognize an Iowan who has provided significant leadership in confronting hunger and alleviating human suffering, both at home and abroad.

“We are deeply gratified by this recognition of the humanitarian gifts of two people who have shaped FRB’s mission and ministry,” says FRB President and CEO Marv Baldwin.

The World Food Prize organization lauded FRB as “one of the most dynamic and innovative agricultural assistance programs in America.”  Formed in 1999, FRB raises funds through grassroots, community-led projects in the U.S. to offer smallholder farmers overseas practical and innovative ways to improve their food production, care for their families, and stay in their own communities. These food security programs are carried out by a dynamic network of implementing organizations across remote villages in 30 different countries.

“Hunger is simply not acceptable in this era,” says DeWeerd. “This award shines a light not only on the issue of hunger, but also on the organizations that are taking action to address it. Our success would not be possible without the volunteers, farmers, churches and many U.S. organizations that have joined us in our mission.”

Adds Fumetti, “We have heard first-hand from the farmers we have helped across the globe how the money we raise is directly making a difference in people’s lives. I am profoundly thankful for the global network possibility FRB has helped create.”

DeWeerd, FRB’s director of resource development, has been with FRB since it’s founding in 1999. Joan joined FRB as a volunteer in 2001, became FBB’s director of growing project development in 2002, and transitioned back to volunteer work when she retired in 2014. Together they have inspired thousands of people in Iowa and across the country to change the conversation about world hunger from food aid to supporting small farmers and their communities as they grow their own lasting solutions to hunger.

“Ron and Joan have taught us, with their words and their actions on behalf of FRB, that all people everywhere deserve the opportunity live healthy, more productive, more hopeful lives,” says FRB board director Geoff Andersen. “By their example, they have demonstrated how each of us can play a part in ending world hunger. Thousands have heeded their call, and for that we are all grateful.”

Both DeWeerd and Fumetti continue to educate people about the complexities of world hunger: climate challenges, soil and water degradation, international markets, land grabs, natural and man-made disasters, and how all these affect the poor and the vulnerable. They are tireless advocates for peace and social justice and the potential of smallholder farmers to feed their communities as long as they have training and support and feel empowered to determine their own goals and realize their own dreams for their future.

Foods Resource Bank – Fast Facts:

Foods Resource Bank has raised more than $47M since it was founded in 1999.

Of that total, more than $6.7M has been raised by Iowans, mostly through community projects.

In FRB’s first 15 years more than 1,000,000 people were supported around the world to become food secure. Iowans have helps support more than 140,000 of those people through the dollars they have raised for FRB.

FRB is now working to reach the next 1 Million people. So far in 2016, FRB has added 46,000 new participants to its overseas food security programs.

Number of FRB community projects in Iowa: 46

Number of community projects across the U.S.: 205

Estimated number of Iowa farmers volunteering for FRB: 150+

Estimated number of U.S. farmers volunteering for FRB: 1000+

Estimated number of Iowa volunteers engaged: 1000+

Estimated number of U.S. volunteers engaged: 2000+