Ministry entrepreneur receives Order

He helped launch Family Life Network (FLN) and played a key role in establishing one of the world’s largest food-aid providers.

Now, Bert Loewen can add another laurel to the list of achievements – inductee into the Order of Manitoba for his work helping to found the Winnipeg-based Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).

Loewen was among 12 recipients of Manitoba’s highest honour presented at the investiture ceremony July 15 by Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee.

The order recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the social, cultural, and economic well-being of society.

When he was still in college, Loewen co-founded Gospel Light Hour – known today as FLN – with Henry Brucks and Henry Poetker in 1947.

In 1983, Loewen helped establish the Canadian Foodgrains Bank – one of the world’s largest private food-aid providers dedicated to famine relief and ending world hunger.

Building on the MCC Foodbank – an existing MCC pilot project aimed at meeting rising global food needs – Loewen helped reorganize, expand, and re-establish the project under its current name. With the addition of 13 other church agencies as members, the CFGB was born just in time to respond to Ethiopia’s famine crisis in 1984.

Loewen served as the first executive director of the CFGB until 1990, playing a vital role in the exponential growth and success of the organization.

One of Loewen’s many successes included the negotiation with the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), bartering an agreement that allowed farmers to deliver and donate grain outside of the quota system to CWB handling facilities.

Loewen also landed a deal with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to agree to match CFGB donations on a four-to-one basis.

Today, the CFGB is owned by 15 church agencies working toward ending hunger on a sustainable and just basis. The Bank has supplied more than 1.1 million metric tons of food to 78 countries.

Mike Duerksen is a graduate of CMU’s communications and media program and a member of North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg.

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