Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.
Cabrini was the first partner school to sign an agreement with CRS, which works to alleviate suffering and provide assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion, or nationality.
CRS Ambassadors—students who are committed to learning about global humanitarian issues that impact the poor around the world—run programs on campus to raise awareness and involvement. Undergraduate students of any faith, background, or major are welcome to apply to be CRS Ambassadors. CRS Ambassadors commit to representing CRS values and programs on campus, training at CRS headquarters in Baltimore, monthly meetings on campus, organizing and running at least two programs per semester, and publicizing and reporting on those programs.
CRS Representatives are students new to Cabrini or limited in their time, but still passionate about global social justice. In this role, they commit to assisting CRS Ambassadors on a “per program” basis.
CRS Ambassadors work in the following areas, involving both service and advocacy.
One important way to strengthen small farms, craftspeople, and businesses overseas is to educate consumers in the U.S. to look for fair-trade items that pay the producer a higher percentage of the market price. Fair-trade activity is currently focused on coffee, tea, chocolate, crafts, and clothing. At Cabrini, students have developed a strong dialog with Cabrini’s Dining Services partner, Sodexo, resulting in greater access to fair-trade foods on campus.
Migration and Human Trafficking
When people uproot themselves, it places burdens on them and their new host countries, and it deprives their homelands of workers. This is an issue of special interest to the Cabrini community because Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants. CRS works to strengthen communities around the world to decrease the need for migration and to protect those that do migrate.
CRS offers programs to lessen the devastating impact of AIDS on the poor overseas, particularly in Africa, where HIV/AIDS has orphaned millions of children, and drained the workforce on many farms and businesses.
Food policies in the U.S. have an impact on the ability of the poor overseas to find affordable and nutritious food on a sustainable basis. Food is a human right, but many don't experience that.
Peace is not only "the absence of war or genocide," it is also an active commitment to strengthening communities so conflict can be managed in constructive, non-violent ways. This work is vital in many parts of the world, particularly the Middle East and Africa.
Economic success for small farms and businesses is crucial for communities around the world to thrive, but many have no access to the credit market. They can't get loans to sustain and build their businesses, and many end up in a downward spiral that leads to poverty, forced migration, and even desperate measures like prostitution or human trafficking. Microfinance programs offer an effective alternative.
Every day, we witness the effects of the changing climate on poor and vulnerable people around the world. Farmers are losing their crops due to erratic rainfall or warm temperatures. Families are struggling to keep their homes as the water around them rises. In Laudato Si’, we are reminded that it is our responsibility to care for the earth—our common home.
Interested in becoming a CRS Ambassador? Email Jerry Zurek, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.