May is Hunger Month, how will we participate?
The diocesan Task Force on Hunger has designated the month of May for parishes to focus on hunger ministry.
The face of hunger is not clear. It could be your neighbor or ours.
- One in five children in Missouri lives without adequate food.
- Inadequate food is a predictor of chronic illness, lower school performance, and developmental problems.
Poverty and hunger are related.
- In 6 Missouri counties (mostly in our diocese) 40% of children are living in poverty.
- In 2016, almost 41,000 Missourians lost access to food stamps benefits due to state legislation.
- Food banks and pantries are closing in the state due to lack of funds and volunteers and staff getting worn down.
Government alone cannot feed all the hungry persons in our midst, nor can faith-based and not-for-profit entities. It takes all of us working together to meet the need.
The core mission of the diocesan Task Force on Hunger is to fund the food pantries, nutrition sites, and community gardens that are associated with parishes; to provide guidance to congregations looking to establish their own food ministries; and perhaps most importantly, to bring to congregations and their members a greater awareness of the hunger in our own communities.
Relying solely on diocesan grants and donations from individuals and parishes in the diocese, the Task Force is able to meet only 58% of the requests from parishes. And the needs are increasing.
The issue of hunger is one that we all share, but is one that together we can alleviate.
Some ways that you can help:
- Donate online or through your parish to the diocesan Task Force on Hunger. (diocesemo.org/donate)
- Request a speaker from the Task Force for this coming year’s calendar to preach or present at your Adult Forum.
- Publicize the feeding ministry in your parish and in your community/neighborhood.
- Prepare information and take pictures to send to the diocese about your pantry, community meal or garden ministry so that it can be highlighted in diocesan publications.
- Share your stories around food ministry on social media.
- Send a donation from your parish (put it in your outreach budget) to the Task Force so that hunger ministries we support can get additional financial assistance. ( We are only able to fund 58% of the identified need. ). We gratefully thank the parishes which already support us.
- Volunteer to serve on the diocesan Task Force on Hunger which meets every other month so that you can be involved on the diocesan level in addressing the needs.
- Establish your own feeding ministry. Seek assistance from the Task Force for information about starting one, be it community garden, nutrition program, or food pantry. The Task Force can connect you with other parishes who have ‘learned the ropes.’
- Support a local pantry with a canned food drive.
- Seek funding from diocesan New Ventures In Community Ministries grant for start-up costs for your new ministry.
- Seek financial assistance from the Task Force if you have needs beyond your parish’s ability to support your feeding ministry.
- Join with Empower Missouri or other advocacy group to support their legislative work and become better informed about the issues in Missouri and in your neighborhood.
- Contact your local, state, and federal legislators to share your concerns about unmet needs and hunger in your community.
- Participate in a Crop Walk in September. They raise funds for feeding ministries (local, national and international) and increase awareness of the needs of hungry persons.
We urge you to continue the Easter Season with the message of the hope of new life for all, not only with your words but with your actions. Do you have additional ways to participate? Share them with us!
Allyce Bullock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Mayfield, email@example.com
Co-chairs, Task Force on Hunger
Episcopal Diocese of Missouri