Donate Now

Inspired by God's love for humanity, Canadian Lutheran World Relief challenges the causes and responds to the consequences of human suffering and poverty.

A Timeline of CLWR History



North American Lutheran leaders meet to discuss and plan large-scale relief operations addressing needs created by the Second World War.


Clothing, bedding, blankets and food shipped to Europe.


Canadian Lutheran World Relief is founded by Lutheran churches in Canada in response to the refugee and relief needs of post-Second World War Germany.

CLWR forms the Canadian Christian Council for the Resettlement of Refugees along with agencies from the Catholic, Mennonite and Baptist churches.



















30,000 refugees from Germany are resettled in Canada with the help of CLWR.

The Beaverbrae, pictured, made 52 trans-Atlantic journeys to bring refugees to Canada following the Second World War.



The Lutheran World Federation is founded. LWF coordinates the work of Lutheran member agencies like CLWR worldwide.


Beaverbrae ship - CLWR









20,000 refugees from Romania, Russia, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia are resettled in Canada with the help of CLWR.

Pictured: Immigrants destined for the west, March 1953.
Photo: Clifton Monk



Programming expands to include projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America.


2.28 million pounds of surplus dry skim milk shipped to Germany, Poland and the Near East.


120,000 pounds of surplus dry skim milk shipped to India


Seven million pounds of foodstuffs valued at $3,068,000 are shipped to refugees in Germany, Austria, Jordan and Hong Kong. Among this is 1.78 million pounds of surplus canned pork.


Emphasis is on collecting and shipping clothing and gifts-in-kind. Financial donations used primarily for transportation costs.


Canadian International Development Agency, a federal agency is created. CLWR begins receiving financial assistance through CIDA.

1970s and

The international development community is viewed less as non-political when it becomes generally accepted that respect for human rights, democracy and good governance are prerequisites to development and not the consequence of development.


Refugees from Africa are resettled in Canada.


Refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia begin arriving in Canada.


CLWR begins sponsoring refugees as an official Sponsorship Agreement Holder for the Government of Canada.


Canadian Foodgrains Bank is founded by CLWR and other Christian agencies.


CLWR reaches a record level of donations totalling $6.4 million through individuals and provincial and federal grants. Programs operate in 42 countries.


CLWR begins supporting fair trade, starting with MESH India.


UNICEF introduces the framework for good governance, participatory development, conflict management and conflict resolution, which become recognized as essential prerequisites to sustainable development.


CLWR opens a Toronto office to coordinate refugee resettlement.

1996 - 1998

CLWr - 1996-1998










CLWR embraces alternative trade, allowing Canadians to support global workers who are fairly paid for their products.



World leaders adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration and with it the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): end extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. CLWR's benchmark goals are aligned to the MDGs.


We Care Bags - CLWR

CLWR adds coffee to its line of fair trade products.

The We Care program is launched, featuring yellow cloth bags from India and quilt tags that can be used for kits and quilts donated to CLWR.


CLWR celebrates 60 years of service.

CLWR's alternative trade organization is re-launched as Four Corners.

Four Corners adds tea and chocolate to its line of Fair Trade products.

Refugees arrive from Burma.











Canadian Foodgrains Bank reaches one million tonnes of food supplied to the world's hungry. Projects have operated in 74 countries.

CLWR's International Volunteer Service is launched, providing Canadians with opportunities to serve abroad (pictured).

Refugees arrive from Africa, Central America, Asia and India, Middle East and Eastern Europe.


Food commodity prices rise dramatically, with wheat, corn, rice and soya roughly doubling in cost. Various causes are suggested, from rising oil prices to climate change affecting crops, rising meat and dairy consumption in a growing Asian middle class, increased use of grains in biofuel production, and loss of farmland.


On July 1, CLWR relocates its international head office to Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg. Warehouse operations relocate to King Edward Street in the Polo Park area of Winnipeg.

Beaverbrae ship - CLWR









On January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Haiti. CLWR's emergency appeal raises over $1.1 million.

In April, CLWR closes its Four Corners alternative trade program. CLWR continues to promote alternative and fair trade through a new alliance with Ten Thousand Villages.

Picture: Unloading relief material in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance











CLWR celebrates 65 years of service, and releases a video about its history and work.

CLWR's emergency appeal for the drought affecting Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti raises over half a million dollars.

Pictured: Somali girl cooks in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey



Our Global Encounter to Africa in February and March took Canadian Lutherans to visit our work in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia.

Our Eastern Regional Office moves from Toronto to Waterloo, ON. (Our Regional Offices handle our refugee sponsorship program.)

CLWR hires a youth engagement coordinator to strengthen connections with young Canadian Lutherans.

Pictured: The Ethiopia tour group. CLWR/I.McKenzie



CLWR's head office makes a move in late April! Our new location is 600-177 Lombard Avenue in Winnipeg.

Our first-ever Young Adult Global Encounter sent 20 young Canadian Lutherans to Peru to meet the people we are helping to build better futures!

Canadian Lutherans were generous in their support for people in need. Some highlights:

the Sweater Drive for Syrian Refugee Relief brought in over 70,000 sweaters - enough to bring warmth to the majority of people in the Za'atari camp.

Donations poured in to help people whose lives were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.


At home in Canada, the country rallied to support Albertans affected by severe flooding in June.


Gifts from the Heart

View our Catalogue

Stay Connected