IMM REL -- W. Mich. Couple Leaves to Help with Kenya Drought Aid

From Beth Degraff <>
Date Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:33:56 -0400


Beth DeGraff, CRWRC media contact, cell 616-648-7821 or 1-800-55-CRWRC (EDT)

*West Michigan Couple Departs Tomorrow to Kenya for Drought Aid*

*SEPTEMBER 13, 2011*—Fremont residents Lee and Sue Mys are leaving their
West Michigan home tomorrow to spend three months volunteering in Kenya
where chronic rainfall shortages have caused near-famine conditions. By the
time they leave the Mbasa area in December, eleven villages will have access
to enough water to sustain them, their animals, and their crops despite
years of drought.

During their time in Kenya, the Mys, volunteers for the Christian Reformed
World Relief Committee (, will oversee the construction of a
well that will serve families living in Kilifu and Taita counties by working
with long-time CRWRC partners the Anglican Church of Kenya and Pwani
Christian Community Services.

“A lot of people wouldn’t dare to go,” says Lee Mys, a food scientis t who
retired from Gerber Products Company in Fremont. “But this well will help  a
lot of people for a long time. Water won’t be a worry for farmers and
herders in Kilifu and Taita anymore because they won’t be dependent on ra in
for their households, crops, or livestock.”

The Mys will oversee the well construction for the time they are in Kenya,
and also manage shorter-term projects such as trucking water to four area
schools, enabling them to remain open, working with communities to dig
reservoirs and irrigation ditches, and refurbishing and de-silting existing
water catchments.

The Mys are two of five volunteers who are helping CRWRC manage and
distribute food, water, and livestock feed to a total of 112,000 people in
desperate need in Isiolo, Mbeere, Tharaka, Narok, Kajiado, Turkana, West
Pokot, Laikipa, Taita, Taveta, and Kilifi, Kenya between April and December
2011. In some areas, this broader response is direct emergency aid and in
others it includes distributions of food in exchange for work such as tree
planting and growing grass to feed livestock. CRWRC also employs a disaster
risk reduction specialist to work within drought-affected communities to
improve their ability to prepare for future droughts and increase their
likelihood of survival long-term.

“I’ve heard it said that hunger is the deepest expression of poverty, ” Lee
says, “because people who are hungry have already sold off everything they
can to feed themselves--they have no assets left. Many of the people we are
helping have been chronically hungry for a long time.”

Besides Kenya, CRWRC is responding to drought and famine in Ethiopia and
Somalia through several global alliances. In total, CRWRC has planned $9
million in emergency aid in response to this crisis, reaching 145,000
drought-stricken people (20,500 families) in the Horn of Africa region.

To accomplish projects like this, CRWRC has 26 trained volunteer
International Relief Managers (IRMs) like the Mys who are ready to serve in
times of need.  When crisis situations arise, these volunteers put their
North American lives on hold and serve for several months at a time around
the world.

This week’s departure will be the Mys’s fourth volunteer trip as IRMs to
Kenya since Lee’s retirement from Gerber Foods in 2003. Briefly, the coup le
has previously provided emergency food aid and completed 320 houses for
people displaced internally by drought and violence within Kenya, as well as
managed emergency relief programs after the Asia tsunami in Banda Aceh,
Indonesia, and the Haiti earthquake.

*To schedule an interview* with Sue and Lee Mys, please contact Beth DeGraff
at cell 616-648-7821 or tollfree 1-800-55-CRWRC.

*CRWRC is seeking donations* for its drought and famine response in Eastern
Africa. Donations can be made online at or by calling
1-800-55-CRWRC. Checks, made out to CRWRC, and designated, *“East Africa
Drought Response”* in the memo line, can be mailed to: CRWRC 2850 Kalamaz oo
Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49560-0600.

*CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North
America ministering to people in need *
*around the world **with disaster response, development, and justice since

*All donations are tax deductible. Member, Evangelical Council of Financial
Accountability (ECFA) *

*and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Give with confidence.*

>* *

>*# # #*

>Beth DeGraff
>CRWRC Media and Justice Contact
>2850 Kalamazoo Avenue SE
>Grand Rapids, MI 49560-0600

"Poverty represents a double violation of justice -- the poor are unjustly
downtrodden, and our failure to alleviate their condition is, in turn,
unjust." NW