Local Rwanda aid given a ceremonial send-off


Marylanders continued their support of humanitarian aid to Rwanda yesterday as Catholic Relief Services ceremoniously loaded a truck with food in downtown Baltimore and started it on its way to Africa.

After a midday program of speeches in Charles Center Plaza, initiating a fund-raising effort called "Baltimore Sends Hope to Rwanda," a CRS spokesman said that the truckload of 20 metric tons of corn meal purchased in Nebraska was taken to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, from which a British Airways flight transported the food to London. A second shipment, totaling 14 metric tons, left from Dulles International Airport.

The two shipments are to be flown from London tomorrow to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, where they are to be loaded on CRS trucks and taken to orphanages and feeding centers for distribution to hungry children.

Jack Morgan, the CRS spokesman, said porridge made from the corn meal will feed 9,500 children for a month.

Helping to offset the $100,000 cost of this airlift were donations of cash from employees of seven Baltimore area offices: Coopers and Lybrand; Direct Marketing Associates Inc.; Gallagher, Evelius and Jones; Price Modern; NationsBank; W.B. Doner and Co. and Printing Corp. of America.

Among the speakers at the Charles Center Plaza ceremony who praised the work of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services were City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and Philip Stewart, director of the Office for Children and Youth at City Hall.

Michael Wiest, deputy director of CRS, said the agency would continue its aid to Rwanda "as long as it takes to achieve reconstruction over the long term."

In another local response to the chaos and suffering in that country, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation announced that it will sponsor a multi-cultural song and dance program on the evening of Sept. 10 to raise money for relief efforts in Central Africa and in Haiti.

Being organized with the assistance of WMAR-TV (Channel 2) and radio station WJHU-FM, the concert at Baltimore Hebrew will feature eight performers of various religious affiliations, said Rabbi Murray Saltzman.

The entertainment will include jazz by singer Ethel Ennis, folk songs of Judi Tal, a performance by the 10-member gospel group Praise Agenda, dance by the Sankofa Dance Theater, classical pianists Paul Maillet and Eric Conway and vocal arrangements by four cantors from local Jewish congregations.

For further information about this interfaith fund-raising effort, call Baltimore Hebrew Congregation at 764-1587.

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