Presbyterian Hunger Program
Joining Hands Against Hunger
Joining Hands is a holistic international hunger ministry. The program builds bridges of solidarity between coalitions of churches in the United States and networks of overseas churches, grassroots groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The focus of the program is to address the inequities and suffering resulting from the spread of globalization, through community education, advocacy, alternative economic activities, lifestyle changes and spiritual grounding. It aims at restoring the wholeness of God's creation and the healing of the human family across faiths, races and cultures through prayer, mutual visits, humble accompaniment, repentance and mutual transformation. Visit the Joining Hands website to learn how your presbytery or congregation can join hands with our partners overseas.
Much of PHP's international work is done through Joining Hands partnerships, but PHP supports good international development through other means as well. Through our grant partnerships PHP supports projects where the activities respond to a real need, are driven by affected communities, and bring about long-term improvements in the quality of life of those communities, increasing self-reliance and empowerment. In considering these partnerships PHP prioritizes organization which have good working relations in its own country with a national church body, whether or not it is a formal partner of the PC(USA). It also may show existing relationships with community organizations, government agencies and other programs which share the same goals. To learn more visit the International Development website.
Hunger and food insecurity are a reality for more than 50 million people in the US, so efforts to alleviate hunger and eliminate its root causes are critical. PHP celebrates and complements the faithful work of congregations which run and support feeding programs locally. The focus of PHP's work at the national level is to educate, equip and catalyze efforts by individuals and congregations to address the underlying policies and systems that perpetuate hunger and poverty. To learn more visit the National Development website.
Food and Faith explores the relationship between our food sources and how they relate to our moral beliefs. It examines the physical and spiritual aspect of nourishment. The initiative exists online as a blog, but it weaves its way into nearly everything that PHP does. Much of PHP’s funding is allocated towards food justice for poor people in the United States and food sovereignty for developing nations worldwide. Presbyterians can learn about Food and Faith through educational resources like the Just Eating Curriculum and by participating in special events such as the 12-month series of 40 hour fasts in response to the global food crisis. Visit the Food and Faith website for more information.
PHP recognizes that Christians must be willing to stand with those who have been made poor until they are heard by powerful institutions and decision makers. Sometimes the advocacy work to change systemic causes of poverty involves addressing business practices that diminish human well-being and fostering new models of corporate responsibility. The Campaign for Fair Food is an ongoing effort in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to establish purchasing practices within the retail food industry that ensure and advance fair wages and other human rights of tomato pickers who labor at the base of these corporate supply chains. Stay up to date and take action on the Fair Food website.
Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO), is a strategy for rebuilding communities, revitalizing congregations and developing individuals into effective leaders and change agents. Four percent of the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is designated for CBCO. These organizations provide a vehicle for churches, schools, unions and non-profits to carry their concerns and values into public life, as they create policy and hold those in power accountable for their decisions.. Learn more on the CBCO website.
Enough for Everyone is a lifestyle integrity and education program. It focuses on the big picture of our economic lives and asks not what our dollars do in the offering plate, but what our dollars do in the marketplace. It helps Presbyterians ask themselves questions like: Does my coffee provide good wages to small farmers or does it enrich CEOs at the expense of the producers? Are our Palm Sunday palms damaging God’s Creation? Is my savings account supporting development and women's rights or fueling human rights abuses? Were our youth group T-shirts printed in a sweatshop?
Enough for Everyone asks these questions through educational resources like the Just Living series, experiences such as Fair Trade Delegations, and through direct outreach to congregations via projects like the Presbyterian Coffee Project and the Global Marketplace. Learn more and get involved on the Enough for Everyone website.
Environmental Ministries works to inspire and equip congregations and presbyteries to work for eco-justice for all of God's earth. Environmental Ministries produces, promotes and distributes faith-based environmental resources for individuals, congregations and presbyteries as well as coordinates the Environmental Ministries Action Network, a communication network for Presbyterians involved in earth care in their churches and presbyteries. Environmental Ministries also oversees the Earth Care Congregations program, which encourages Presbyterian churches to care for God’s earth and certifies those that have affirmed the Earth Care Pledge and taken holistic actions in earth care in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach. Additionally, this office helps PCCCA and Presbyterians for Earth Care to support young adults interested in becoming Eco-Stewards and relates to Presbyterians for Earth Care, an Eco-Justice network dedicated to environmental wholeness with social justice, seeking to be a prophetic voice for substantive change in the church and in the world. Learn more about these programs and getting involved on the Environmental Ministries website.
Paul, thank you for your question. PHP seeks to alleviate hunger and eliminate its root causes. Our work focuses on those root causes. Sometimes that means working in partnership with congregations that have hunger ministries that directly feed those in need. And sometimes it looks a little different. For example, through our Joining Hands networks in places like Cameroon, where we support small farmers as they stand up to large corporations that are trying to force them off their land. This support ensures that they have the power to feed themselves. In all that we do PHP strives to respond with compassion and justice to poor and hungry people in local communities in the United States and internationally.
How are these programs feeding hungry people?