TORONTO, June 10, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League is pleased to announce that it has conferred its Archbishop Adam Exner Award to Dr. Andrew A. Simone and Joan Simone, founders of Canadian Food for Children. The League award recognizes Catholic excellence in public life.
“We are very honoured to be chosen for this award,” said Dr. Simone. “Everything we have done has been centered on our Catholic faith, in loyalty to the Magisterium.”
Dr. and Mrs. Simone established Canadian Food for Children (CFFC) in 1985 after almost 10 years of divesting themselves of most of their assets and donating heavily to charitable ventures. Mother Teresa encouraged them to collect and distribute food to those in need, since many foods are simply not available in missionary areas.
The Simones then began contacting companies to donate non-perishables that cannot be sold in Canada due to minor errors in packaging or labeling, for example. Individuals, schools and churches donate money and grocery items. From humble beginnings, CFFC now ships more than five million kilograms of food and other necessities per year to children in some 30 countries worldwide for distribution by local missionaries. The charity has thousands of volunteers across Canada, but no paid staff.
“The achievements of Dr. and Mrs. Simone in living simply in order to share with the needy, and providing leadership in a much-needed initiative, are a true inspiration to all of us,” said League President Philip Horgan. “CFFC is a true example of faith in action, and we know that countless children are living healthy lives because of their efforts.”
Dr. Simone, who maintains a dermatology practice in Toronto, and Mrs. Simone, are members of the Order of Canada and recipients of the Papal Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, as well as the Christian Stewardship Award, St. Anthony’s International Award for Soilidarity with the Poor and William Kurelek Award. They have 13 children and 30 grandchildren, and are members of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Toronto.
Despite the time constraints of his medical practice and working for CFFC, Dr. Simone often speaks in local schools to spread the message that hunger can be conquered, and that as little as 10 cents a day can feed a child. Classes are invited to visit the warehouse and many do so.
Dr. Simone believes there is plenty of food to go around if we have our priorities straight. “I don’t think the problem is a shortage of food. I think the problem is greed on the part of adults; that’s why we try to reach schoolchildren with our message.”
The Archbishop Adam Exner award was created in 2004 to honour Archbishop Exner on the occasion of his retirement from the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Previous recipients include Regina businessman Frederick W. Hill, OC, for services to philanthropy; Fraser Field of Catholic Educators Resource Centre for services to education; and Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, for services to the pro-life movement.
The award was presented at the League’s Spring dinner in Toronto. Guest speaker was Father Tom Lynch, professor of theology at St. Augustine’s seminary, and pastor of St. Joseph’s parish in Douro, Ontario. Father Lynch recently became president of Priests for Life Canada.
**To hear Father Tom’s talk, visit: www.hmwn.net/audioarchive, then scroll to “Culture Watch”, and select the program: 06/26/08. Audio capabilities required. Printed exerpts are available here, or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. **
His talk was a challenge to all laity to remain vigilant in the public square, starting with an active prayer life and finding quiet time with God. He stressed the opportunities that new media, including Facebook, may play in the new evangelism. He was prepared to be critical of the formation of Catholics over the past 50-60 years, and the demands of a structure that places great stress on a reduced number of priests. While he mentioned a number of challenges in Church and society, Father Lynch also cited a great opportunity for lay groups, family foundations and other charitable or advocacy groups to use our society’s considerable wealth for positive purposes, including evangelization and philanthropy.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; email@example.com