Heifer International: Faithfully Feeding the Hungry for 76 Years
LITTLE ROCK, AR — Heifer International was born in 1944 in the heart of Dan West. Dan was a Midwest farmer, devout Christian, and member of the Church of the Brethren. He had returned from the Spanish Civil War with a burden to provide relief for the masses of hungry and starving refugee families.
West was aware of the “teach a man to fish” parable, so he knew that, although there was an immediate need, hunger could not be alleviated for long without providing a sustainable food source. He didn’t teach men to fish — at least as far as we know — but he did teach them how to farm.
He began by shipping heifers to farming families overseas. For the city slickers reading this, a heifer is a young cow that has not yet birthed a calf. The first heifer to be sent was appropriately named Faith because that is literally the foundation upon which this international NGO was built.
During the ensuing years, Heifer International has become a recognized leader in the global effort to alleviate hunger.
What Would You Do With a Heifer?
That’s an important question, especially if you have been given one. Dan knew that providing the gift of a heifer was just the beginning. He and his teams would have to teach subsistence farmers how to nurture and use the animals.
He also understood that the farming families needed to learn how to earn more than a subsistence wage. They needed to earn a living wage. Heifer International teams visited communities to learn what livestock, crops, and training would offer the best opportunities to become successful farmers.
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