November 18, 2018
As I write this, the earth is busy producing its harvest, the weather is comfortable, and the next family holiday on the horizon is Thanksgiving.
Yet I’m keenly aware that as some of us have plenty of fresh and healthy food, many do not (and many do not have it year-round even if they do now, at harvest time). Even as the early fall weather is enjoyable where I live, other people are facing terrible impacts from natural disasters. And while being grateful for a warm family home that will hold holiday festivities, I realize that not everyone has four walls to call home or even safe shelter.
More than 40 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger, and 549,000 are homeless on an average night. These numbers intensify as we look at global trends.
Congregations are active in providing food relief, plus advocating long-term solutions through better public policies, and in urging more affordable housing. Some participate in congregation-based community organizing projects, addressing needs in their community through coalition efforts.
In Pacific Presbytery, Hunger Action Advocate Heidi Worthen-Gamble and other Presbyterians have worked for affordable housing in the Los Angeles area, gathering a task force in the presbytery to share best practices and strategies concerning homelessness. In this area about 58,000 people experience homelessness (a 75 percent increase in five years), and Presbyterians are joining community efforts to find just solutions that include accessible, affordable housing.
In addition to congregations, grant partners of the Presbyterian Hunger Program are working to alleviate hunger and homelessness. In Louisville, Kentucky, a grant partner of the Presbyterian Hunger Program works to provide fresh food in an area where 1 in 5 residents do not have access to fruits or vegetables. In Haiti, our Joining Hands network builds sustainable, resilient community projects even as natural disasters continue to pound the country. In India, Amrita Bhoomi is providing seeds, training and a home gardeners network that especially empowers women.
In congregations, coalitions and around the world, may we work so that people have access to more and better food, and so that people feel our care as we stand in solidarity with them in their struggles, and so that all God’s creation may flourish.
Rev. Rebecca Barnes, Coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Today’s Focus: Hunger and Homelessness Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Gracious God, bless your world, and bless our work, so that we who are blessed to have food, safety, shelter and love will strive so that all may have enough to eat and a home in which to live. Amen.