Food Week of Action will focus on ‘life and death’ issues


Climate, famine and food justice/sovereignty are at the heart of 2019 celebration

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Food Week of Action celebrates efforts such as this Food For Work beneficiary working in the terraces of Butaro district in Ruhengeri, Rwanda. (Photo by Riccardo Gangale/WFP)

LOUISVILLE — Food Week of Action is an annual celebration of God’s Creation and the many people around the world who grow the food we eat.

But as the 2019 celebration approaches Oct. 13-20, Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) Associate for National Hunger Concerns Andrew Kang Bartlett says that some of the issues it will focus on are “a matter of life and death.”

“We have four countries experiencing extreme famine,” Kang Bartlett says. “People are dying of climate change. This Food Week of Action takes place at a time when lives are on the line.”

As the week goes on, the focus will be on practical ways groups and individuals can address the pressing issues of the day.

This year, Kang Bartlett says the week is focused on three large themes:

  • The climate crisis
  • Famine
  • Food justice and sovereignty

Click here for Food Week of Action resources from the Presbyterian Hunger Program

And keeping with the theme of threes, the Hunger Program is drawing attention to a trio of specific actions:

  • Contributing to PHP’s Famine Fund, which is focused on famine relief in the four nations experiencing extreme famine: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
  • Taking PHP’s Climate Care Challenge, which asks participants to take a personal step to decrease the impact of climate change and then take an outward step that engages the participant’s community.
  • Becoming a Hunger Action Congregation, which simply requires a congregation to do an activity in one of six areas: hunger alleviation, development assistance, hunger education, lifestyle integrity, corporate and public policy witness, and worship. A congregation active in all six areas can become a Certified Hunger Action Congregation.

“The purpose of the Hunger Action Congregation process is to acknowledge the faithful work of Presbyterians around the country who are responding to the biblical call to help alleviate hunger and end its causes,” Kang Bartlett says. “Through stories and encouragement, we wish to be mutually inspired to pursue broader and more justice-oriented ministries.”

Since last year’s Food Week of Action, 54 new congregations became Hunger Action Congregations.

There are now 164 Hunger Action Congregations in 69 presbyteries. Nearly half, 78, are certified. You can find out more here. Click here for the form if your congregation would like to apply.

A red-letter day in the Food Week of Action is World Food Day is Oct. 16, during which all Hunger Action Congregations will be celebrated and new Certified Hunger Action Congregations will be announced.

Other important dates on next week’s calendar are the International Day for Rural Women, Oct. 15, and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Oct. 17.

Food Week events will actually get started early with the  US Food Sovereignty Alliance’s 2019 Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony live-streamed from Ferguson, Missouri at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Of course, the Presbyterian Hunger Program has plenty of resources for people to participate individually or in groups. They can be found by clicking here.

“My hope is that we are encouraged by what we are doing at every level,” Kang Bartlett says. “It can feel like lonely work. But we can be inspired by seeing the pieces done around the country and around the world.”

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?