Presbyterian Hunger Program to highlight good work to improve food system
by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Hunger Program is gearing up for its annual observance of the Food Week of Action, which will be Oct. 11-18.
The week, which is pegged to World Food Day (Oct. 16), is an opportunity to lift up the work of PHP’s various partner organizations as well as Hunger Action Congregations (HACs), which are Presbyterian congregations that have signed a covenant committing to faithful action to end hunger and address its root causes.
“We use the Food Week to highlight the good work that’s happening to make our food system more just, more sustainable, more equitable,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, PHP’s Associate for Hunger Concerns. “It’s multifaith. It’s civil society groups of any stripe that want to just join in and have a common mission to improve things in the food system.”
This year’s theme is Hopeful Harvest, a nod to the need for hope during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the vulnerability of health, economies and food chains around the world during a time when natural disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires, have added to the global misery.
“People are realizing the necessity of more resilient agricultural systems that put workers and people first and that protect and cool the planet,” according to the Food Week of Action website.
The site includes a map to help locate organizations involved in the Food Week of Action as well events they’ll be hosting during the week. Some projects also will be highlighted on PHP’s Facebook page.
Those doing exemplary work include HACs that inspire others “to keep doing whatever they’re doing around hunger alleviation in their communities and then to consider other things like policy advocacy or support for local groups doing similar things,” Kang Bartlett said. “By seeing what the various cosponsors are doing, it can expand our imagination about what might be possible and what is considered hunger and hunger root cause work.”
Such work has been critical during the pandemic, which has increased the demand for food as people have lost their ability to work or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 related issues and closures. It also has brought to the forefront the importance of farmworkers and others in the food-related industries who are essential to getting food on people’s tables, yet not always afforded the protections they need to thrive.
“While we’re challenged in so many ways, working on food and hunger and local food issues is one of the ways that we really can make a real difference,” Kang Bartlett said.
The Food Week of Action complements the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation, which focuses on building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.
“Matthew 25 is about making us aware of the interconnectedness between us,” Kang Bartlett said. “In the food system, the interconnections are between you and the farmer or farmworker who’s picking your food, or the shipper who’s bringing it on the truck across town or across the country, and many others. I think that awareness of our interconnectedness can be such a healing balm for us now in our polarized world and such an important step in the advancement of our moral consciousness.”
Want to help out with the Food Week of Action? Message Andrew Kang Bartlett at Andrew.KangBartlett@pcusa.org.
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Categories: Hunger & Poverty, Matthew 25, Special Offerings
Tags: andrew kang bartlett, compassion peace & justice, farmworkers, food week of action, hunger action congregations, local food issues, matthew 25 invitation, One Great Hour of Sharing, presbyterian hunger program, Special Offerings, world food day
Ministries: Hunger Action Congregations, National Hunger & Poverty, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Matthew 25 in the PC(USA): Join the Movement, Compassion, Peace and Justice