As a collective Christian voice working towards ending hunger at home and abroad, Bread equips people to participate in organized advocacy. That may be through writing personal letters and emails, meeting with members of Congress, or hosting an Offering of Letters. Bread seeks to change legislation that will reduce chronic hunger- when there is no option to eat when hungry, the lack of calories and/or essential nutrients, the ongoing problem with getting food to eat.
Hunger exists in many types of contexts and can happen to anyone. There are different ways to advocate for improving food and nutrition sources. You can participate as a group/congregation by hosting an Offering of Letters. Bread outlines 6 steps for organizing one of these special events with the support of a Bread regional organizer. (As well as a more extended guide below.) A great way to learn about the impact of hunger and poverty is to check out on of Bread’s issue-related fact sheets on hunger and poverty, hunger in the Latino Community, mass incarceration, etc. You can write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper highlighting what people are experiencing in your own community. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and encourage involvement from others. Bread also shares resources for how to effectively use public meetings to engage with members of Congress.
Advocacy is an opportunity to use your talents, gifts, skills and relationships to impact hunger. To decrease food insecurity, to increase access to nutritious and affordable food, to come together as communities and acknowledge what ourselves or our neighbors might be experiencing. Bread for the World also invites us to pray to end hunger. To pray for God’s grace, for people who experience persistent hunger, and to equip faith-grounded advocacy actions.
Conducting an Offering of Letters Guide
MFAF serves and empowers Missouri's migrant and seasonal farmworkers. MFAF's staff meet with workers and their families when they first arrive at the orchards in late summer to welcome them, deliver food bags and hygiene kits, determine needs for medical and dental services and complete school enrollment forms. From then until the workers migrate to their next work location, MFAF seeks to meet critical needs with visits to the orchard labor camps. For the families who have settled in the area, year-round assistance is provided. Items that are especially appreciated are blankets, sweaters and jackets, white rice (not instant), sunscreen (SPF30+), bandanas and Spanish language children's books.
The mission of Douglass Community Services is to be a trusted partner in building stronger kids, stronger families and stronger communities throughout Northeast Missouri. In 2020, the Food Pantry provided 48% more food than in 2019. We saw a 25% increase in clients. 45% of the food provided was fruits, vegetables, or proteins and 90,311 meals were served to youth. Douglass Community Service is honored to be on the frontlines fighting hunger in our community. Other services offered by Douglass Community Services are a Head Start/ Early Head Start learning program, Kids in Motion (a youth pre-employment/service-learning program), and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
It’s time for our May Agency Highlight! This time we’re cruising down to the lake area for Share the Harvest Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in Camdenton. About 17 years ago a group of volunteers noticed a need for food for youth and their families, thus the pantry began as a small operation. As the pantry grew, the decision was made to add the thrift store to help sustain the pantry resources. The pantry also has a garden on site that brings fresh produce to families and they provide financial assistance for a variety of needs like medical or electric bills. During the pandemic, the number of neighbors they serve stayed about the same and decreased slightly in the summer as other local organizations offered services and resources. Share the Harvest really appreciates the blankets and dental kits- especially during flu season and the pandemic.
Founded in 1910 by United Methodist Women, InterServ has been serving the St. Joseph area for 111 years. First as a response to lack of nutrition in immigrants working in packing plants, the women opened a milk pantry which has evolved into the food pantry they have today. They also noticed a lot of women were working in packing plants, so they opened a daycare, which remains today. Staff member, Stacy, says that through the years InterServ has been looked at as an agency able to make change. They can look at the community, see what the need is, and fill the gaps. Along with the food pantry and daycare, InterServ also provides services such as in home and nutrition services for seniors, counseling, budget management, and youth after school programs.
This month we’re spotlighting Helping Hands Outreach Center of Gasconade County, located in Owensville. They distribute food three days a week, provide a mobile market monthly, support Backpack Buddies for around 40 students weekly, and host a special Operation Christmas distribution yearly. They accomplish this all entirely with volunteers. Board Vice President, Andrew, says it is rewarding to help people and to see the camaraderie between the volunteers from the area churches. About a year and a half ago they were able to move to a bigger facility with walk in coolers.
Located in Brunswick, MO
Established by the Ministerial Alliance, the Chariton County Cupboard aims to help relieve hunger and other basic needs to people in the county and surrounding area. Their services have remained active throughout the pandemic as they were able to make adjustments such as requiring masks and limiting the number of clients at one time. They’ve even had a few extra sets of hands from the Missouri National Guard to assist with loading vehicles on distribution days, which they are thankful for. They really appreciate the student dental packs they receive from Festival!
Exploring the past and the present of Festival of Sharing.