[Jesus] said to them, “You give them something to eat.”—Luke 9:13a
First Presbyterian Church of Hemet, California, has an 11-year-old feeding ministry called The Open Table Program. On average, it serves some 1,700 lunches a month to clients from children to adults, with most of the guests 20-60 years old. According to the church’s Mission Assessment Plan, it began by handing out sandwiches a few days a week and has grown into a six-day-a-week feeding ministry providing not only meals, but also “bread and other items donated by local businesses to those who need them.”
Tippe Community Gardens, a ministry of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in conjunction with its Divine Intervention Ministry to the Homeless, offer “a work force development opportunity to Guests moving out of homelessness and into life,” according to the project’s website. Tippe Community Gardens’ ministry grows, harvests and gives away approximately 600 pounds of organic produce each summer to those in the area who are hungry. Tippecanoe Church is designated as a Food Justice Site for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Hunger Program. By growing organic vegetables to distribute to local food organizations, Tippecanoe helps alleviate hunger and promotes healthier eating.
Both congregations’ food ministries reflect our call to serve those in need. The Presbyterian Hunger Program, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance are joining with global partners and other allies in efforts to end hunger and poverty by creating more just food and farm systems around the world.
The global Churches’ Week of Action on Food (October 11-18) is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about farming approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. We are called also to examine our food choices and to call for policy changes that will ensure the right to food for everyone.
The global Week of Action includes World Food Day (Oct. 16) as well as the International Day of
Rural Women (Oct. 15) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Oct. 17).
In the PC(USA), “October is the month to raise awareness about hunger and poverty and God’s sacred call to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food. This year’s theme is SOIL, so get the dirt on how you and your congregation can protect and love your neighbors throughout the entire food system.”
According to the Presbyterian Hunger Program:
Our faith calls us to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food! And those who produce and prepare the food are fairly compensated, respected and celebrated!
Through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, I invite you to co-missionally join with me responding to Jesus’ command to “feed them.”