Thanksgiving walk aims to help African farmers |

Thanksgiving walk aims to help African farmers

Daily Staff Report
Special to the Daily A Ugandan man surveys a field damaged by grasshoppers.

GYPSUM This year’s Thanksgiving prayer walk and pie auction will help people in the country of Uganda plant and grow their own crops. The event is from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday at the town of Gypsum complex, on Lundgren Boulevard at Valley Road.The activities of rebel militias in northern Ugandan has resulted in the displacement of more than 1 million people, causing many of them to lose farms, livestock and tools. Approximately 270,000 people now living in refugee camps.

For every $4 contributed, an agricultural tool can be purchased in northern Uganda. Goats can be bought for between $25 and $174, an ox plow cost $81 and a pair of oxen is $302. Seeds are $13/killogram, with cuttings for planting at $145 per metric ton. While walking, participants in the 1-mile journey through the neighborhoods of Gypsum will receive slips of paper with worldwide-famine facts. This year, there is also a local food drive. Walkers are asked to bring at least one can of food per person to help restock food pantries at the Eagle Methodist Church and First Lutheran of Gypsum.The Ugandan musical troupe Sifa! Sifa! also will perform.

Along with Eagle County, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, First Lutheran Church of Gypsum and the Community United Methodist Church of Eagle, volunteers from the Eagle County Volunteer Center and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program will staff the work. “This event also occurs during National Family Volunteer Week, so we encourage every Eagle County family to participate in the walk,” says Gail Cameron-Britt, volunteer services coordinator of the Eagle County Volunteer Center.Participants should gather at the Gypsum Council Chambers between 10 and 10:30 a.m. to hear Sifa! Sifa!, view and purchase replica African maize bag ornaments, and make donations. The walk is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by the pie auction from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

“We encourage everyone to bring either a homemade or store bought pie,” says Tim Cochrane, executive director of the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a wonderful addition to the walk. Last year, there was both a generous and competitive spirit. Some pies were bought for $200 to $300.”The money raised will be given to the “Seeds and Tools” program in Uganda through Lutheran World Relief. Families in the programs are divided into groups of five households to share a pair of oxen and one plow. The families to take turns plowing and producing food. Six-hundred pairs of oxen, each with an ox-plow, will be provided to sets of five of the most vulnerable households. Another 1,400 plows will be given to other susceptible families, with hand hoes and axes distributed to 20,000 people.For more information, contact Gail Cameron-Britt at Eagle County Volunteer Center, 328-8843, or Fran Troxler, manager of mission advancement for Lutheran World Relief, (410)230-2815 or

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