Seeds Publishers Engaging churches in the healing of hunger & poverty

ABCs of Responding to Hunger

Rene's peopleThe many biblical mandates to care for poor and helpless people do not, to us, seem to be optional, but what can the average Christian do in the face of such overwhelming need?

A. Anchor Yourself in Prayer.

After you have become aware of hunger issues and the biblical call to respond to them, the first thing you should do is pray and/or meditate. Pray for hungry people and for those who labor to help them.  Spend time in silence to center yourself and allow God to lead.  Make sure that your personal and corporate worship times always include a remembrance of poor and hungry people.  (See “C” for resources that will enhance this kind of worship.)

B. Be Knowledgeable about Hunger Issues.

Stay informed about where hunger and poverty exist and what people are doing to heal them. Find sources who can help you stay on top of hunger realities around the world. Read the newspaper; watch television news. Find a periodical that deals with hunger and justice issues.  Hunger News & Hope (a Seeds of Hope publication) covers these issues.  You can find a wealth of information on the Internet.

C. Challenge the People Around You.

Keep the people around you—particularly your faith community—informed. Share the resources above with your congregation.  Get your church to subscribe to Sacred Seasons, the three-times-year Seeds of Hope worship packets—and make sure the various materials get to the persons who could use them most.  Arrange for a group tour of your local shelter or soup kitchen.  Invite speakers on hunger issues to your church.

D. Develop an Understanding of Advocacy.

Even though many of us abhor the idea of getting involved in politics, but there is a difference between politics and advocacy.  We must all at least be aware of public policy.  Systemic injustice and destructive policies can undo in one moment all of the good work that thousands of people do at soup kitchens and feeding programs every day for years. Christian lobby groups like Bread for the World can help you understand the political ramifications of hunger issues—in light of biblical teachings. They can also teach you to communicate effectively with your elected representatives. Go to www.bread.org for more information.  Ask about their Covenant Churches program and the annual Offering of Letters campaign.

E. Explore Individual Service Opportunities.

This is absolutely crucial.  We must each get involved on a personal, individual level. Check out your local feeding programs, shelters, soup kitchens, and similar organizations for the place that fits your talents and interests. Establishing and maintaining actual, personal contact with poor people is vital to our spiritual health.

Once you’ve done these things, you’ve made a significant beginning toward a meaningful response to the presence of hunger in your world.

So...do you want to start now?

The following sites represent a few of the many organizations that are working to alleviate hunger in the US and around the world.

Advocacy Groups

  • Bread for the World - Bread for the World provides frequently updated news about poverty all over the world. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive information about contacting politicians in your area or check the site regularly for up-to-date news on international poverty.
  • ONE Campaign - ONE is an advocacy group for hunger aid and awareness committed to increasing government funding to fight poverty and disease universally. ONE's website has a blog covering the most pressing stories in hunger awareness and a hot topics section highlighting policy news and the progress of ONE members all over the world.
  • Food Research & Action Center - FRAC is one of the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger in the United States. You can subscribe to e-news and a weekly FRAC news digest about anti-hunger work around the country.

Relief and Development

  • Church World Service - Want to start a CROP Walk? Blankets+, kits ranging from school supplies to medical supplies, and other donation and news resources are available at the CWS website.
  • Oxfam - The collaborative effort of 13 organizations that want poverty to be a thing of the past, Oxfam has made it their goal to give people the opportunity to change circumstances and lives around the world.
  • World Hunger Relief, Inc. - World Hunger Relief strives to alleviate hunger through educating communities in the first world and the developing world. Their headquarters is a Training Farm near Elm Mott, TX, where dozens of interns and volunteers work to learn and teach others about hunger and sustainable agriculture.
  • Food Donation Connection - Food Donation Connection gives the opportunity to make use of extra food by connecting food service donors with local hunger relief agencies.

Food Rescue

  • Food Donation Connection - Food Donation Connection gives the opportunity to make use of extra food by connecting food service donors with local hunger relief agencies.