By Peter Cordingley ATWENTY-FIRST birthday gift of £5,000 has this week gone out from the Oxford headquarters of Oxfam to Catholic Relief Services in Brazil. It will help with sorely needed rehydration plant.
Ten years ago the C,atholic Relief Services of America (or Catholic Relief Services-National Catholic Welfare Conference, to give it its full title) received £50 in grants from Oxfam.
The comparison between 1954 and the 1964 21st birthday gratt spotlights the tremendous liaison that has grown up in the past 10 years between "the largest private voluntary relief agency in the world" and Britain's Oxford Committee for Famine Relief.
During the last financial year Oxfam made grants totalling £286,930 to CRS-second only to donations to the United Nations sponsored Food and Agricultural Organisation.
In some ways the two agencies have a similar origin and history. Both started during the second World War to ease the suffering of victims of oppression. CRS aided German refugees in the States, Oxfam the Greek children who were suffering from starvation.
With the end of hostilities both Oxfam and CRS realised that their work must go on. Both widened their scope until last year they cooperated in some 40 countries ranging from Ecuador to Algeria. As Oxfam has few workers in the field, it channels a great deal of its help through CRS. which has the personnel to measure the need and supervise the funds.
In recent years CRS has taken on the responsibility of distributing American surplus food to people in need. It is in this context that a lot of Oxfam help to CRS is employed. When there is a short-term feeding scheme going on and cash is needed for transporting or warehousing the food, Oxfam often provides the finance. on CRS recommendation.
Both movements have now celebrated their 21st birthdays and are sending more aid with each year: