Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
One thing I have learned in my year in the Boston Young Adult Volunteer program is that food is a great equalizer.
The Food Justice Young Adult Volunteers in Boston have been doing things the old-fashioned way this year and have been making things at home that we would normally buy at the store—and for a lot more money. This comes partly from our commitment to simple living, partly from our passion for food justice and creation care, and mostly because we’re volunteers living on small monthly stipends and don’t have a lot of money. So far we have experimented with growing our own produce, freezing and preserving produce from our CSA or local farmers markets, baking bread from ...
I remember vividly the young woman who spoke so passionately about just wanting to be treated as a human. And of course the mothers talking about how they just want to take care of their children.
This probably seems like two random things together, God and Massachusetts, but this is something that we frequently say at the Boston YAV house, especially about food.
Junk Food Awareness Day
I am a YAV in Boston, working with and learning about food justice and economic discipleship. These topics have me examining how to live out our biblical calls to love our neighbor, care for the poor, the widows, the orphans, and do justice in terms of our food and economic decisions. It gets pretty complex because our food system and economy are so complex in recent decades.
Why is it that people can buy apples in the supermarket from hundreds of miles away while apple farmers within fifty miles are struggling to pay their workers?
I will run with that good news until the next thing pisses me off.
Learn from the world community.
Cherish the natural order.
~Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre~
Read that again. "Nonconform freely." It’s right there, waiting for us to let go of our inhibitions and be ourselves in this crazy world full of societal norms- gloriously creative life, waiting for us.
The other YAVs and I spent the first weekend of December on retreat in central Massachusetts. As part of our retreat we went Heifer International's farm in Rutland, MA. The farm has a global village of exact replica houses from the countries they serve, some livestock, and a group of volunteers who live on grounds to keep the farm functional.
The shelter doesn’t feel like a basement. It is painted a calming yellow, and there always seem to be fresh flowers around.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program has provided more than $100 million in financial support to effective groups in the U.S. and overseas since it was established in 1969. The five below are just a few of these initiatives, which are alleviating and striving to address the underlying causes of hunger.
Arise members speak out on income tax threshold
In response to a new report citing Alabama's high income tax on the poor, a Huntsville TV station turned to Arise members for comment. Dale Clem, pastor of Monte Sano United Methodist Church and an ACPP board member, and Dick Hiatt, executive director of the North Alabama Food Bank, an ACPP member group, voice their concerns about Alabama's upside-down tax system in this news clip. View news video here. Read ARISE news release here.
Alabama Arise is helping low-income families build a future with individual development accounts (IDAs). Under guidelines set forth by federal Assets for Independence Act of 1998, participants can get a “double match” for up to $2000 they save in an IDA. For $2000 put into the IDA they can get $6000 for a downpayment on a home, college education or starting a small business. What a great way to help others help themselves out of poverty. Alabama Arise motto says it all “A hand UP, not a hand out”.
Boston Faith and Justice Network
Fair Trade Boston was designed to connect church teams, businesses and student groups to broader community engagement of Fair Trade. They hold events for Christians to raise consciousness about how these issues relate to their faith such as film screenings, a national webinar on fair trade and faith, and a bike ride and a benefit concert for a local safe house for survivors of human trafficking. They provide information to Boston-area residents so they are able to understand the ways workers are abused and how fair trade can address this.
The picture to the right is from BFJN director's recent trip to India. Read Ryan's India blog posts on their website.
Corporate Accountability International
Corporate Accountability International is “Thinking Outside the Bottle.” They have convinced schools, businesses, mayors and governors to support and create Bottled Water Free Zones. We definitely need to come together and get various corporations to stop draining watersheds and aquifers for profits. We can work together and all be “Bottle Free”!
PHP has supported CAI's water campaign in past years and is now supporting their work to combat unhealthy food advertising. Read about their campaigns.
First Presbyterian Church St Joseph
First Presbyterian Church St. Joseph will celebrate its 27th anniversary in June of 2012. The church provides sack lunches every Sunday with the help of many volunteers. While folks are there to pick up their food, nurses give flu and hepatitis shots, AIDS screenings and other health services. There is a “Health Express” mobile clinic that parks in front of Open Door Food Kitchen twice a month to offer blood pressure checks, diabetes sugar level sticks, hygiene kits and referral services. They also have Para Medic and a nurse practitioner on board.
And check out their Food for Kids program as well.
Idaho Community Action Network
Due to so many Americans struggling in todays time ICAN got together and came to legislature to increase Food Stamp Asset test from $2,000 to $5,000. This bill is now a law! They are also trying to reverse Medicaid cuts after $35 million was cut from the state budget. Started in 1999, ICAN has over 2,000 members statewide and they educate and mobilize people to advocate on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Learn about their great food justice programs and read their new report:
Families or Corporations?
SUPER COMMITTEE CHOICE: NEED VERSUS GREED
New Report Shows Staggering Hunger and Food Insecurity Nationwide While Federal Funds Feed “Big Ag” Profits.
All this great work is made possible by the generous gifts of Presbyterians to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Thank you!
In spite of overcast skies blowing wind, rain and chill on May 8, hundreds of Bostonians came out in support of the wide array of Fair Trade education, engagement and products that Boston has to offer. Thousands more were exposed to the day's events through our media efforts (television and newspaper), press releases, online calendars and social networking and simply encountering one of our sixteen participating World Fair Trade Day business and/or event locations. "Our work is hitched to a passionate recognition that injustices exist that threaten our world's people, their labor and resources. Moreover, we can do something about it, and our efforts thus far have shown we are tapped into a very vital and special movement of people working towards a fairer future." Participating locations were Ten Thousand Villages (Brookline and Cambridge), Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (Newbury St), Crossroads Trade, Equal Exchange Café, Flat Black Coffee Company (Dorchester), JP Licks Ice Cream (Cambridge, Brookline and Jamaica Plain), Haley House Bakery Café (Roxbury), Harvest Co-op Markets (Jamaica Plain and Cambridge), Hope Central Church (also hosted SERRV), Mariposa Bakery, City Feed and Supply (Centre St) and Autonomie Project. These businesses and institutions offered Fair Trade-related promotions and discounts, music and educational presentations, Fair Trade food and drink samplings, scavenger hunts, in-store raffles and more. "Through our relationships at City Hall and our advocacy efforts, Boston's City Council passed a resolution on May 5 affirming their commitment and support of Fair Trade. This was one of the final goals necessary to achieve "Fair Trade Town" status, a designation we should reach in the next few weeks, which would make Boston the largest city with that designation."