Twenty-eight states represented in initiative
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — In recognition of World Food Day, the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) has announced that more than 70 Presbyterian churches have become Hunger Action Congregations since the initiative was announced last summer.
“Presbyterian congregations are tirelessly feeding people and many are acting to address the root causes of hunger,” said Rebecca Barnes, PHP coordinator. “In response to the covenant launched on June 1, already 72 churches have become Hunger Action Congregations. Thirty-five of those are certified, which means they do activities in all six designated areas.”
The six designated areas of action are hunger alleviation, development assistance, hunger education, lifestyle integrity, corporate and public policy witness, and worship. The application lists the activities churches can check off. Churches can also list other ways they are addressing hunger and poverty in the six designated areas.
The designated Hunger Action Congregations are from 28 states. Barnes says surveys have shown more than 90 percent of PC(USA) churches have their own program or participate in anti-hunger and/or anti-poverty work. All of those churches, she adds, are eligible to become a Hunger Action Congregation.
PHP leaders say hunger is still a growing problem in the world.
“The number of hungry people in the world is on the rise again, affecting 815 million people last year — 11 percent of the global population,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, PHP’s associate for national hunger concerns. “Conflicts, displaced peoples and climate change have contributed to this increase.”
Kang Bartlett credits the work of churches in addressing the issue.
“The good news is faithful people in the U.S. and around the world see addressing hunger and its causes as central to their discipleship,” he said. “Individuals, churches and organizations are realizing that they must join forces if they are to make progress in these challenging times.”
World Food Day is celebrated annually around the world on Oct. 16 in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The 2017 theme is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.”
The Presbyterian Hunger Program is made possible by gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.
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