Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | JUNE/JULY 2018 25 H unger is at the heart of being human. People hunger for food, for love, for belonging and for Christ himself. Feeding the hunger of humanity is why the church exists. Presbyterian churches around the country are working to creatively nourish and sustain those who struggle with food insecurity, malnourishment and poverty. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in 2015, 42.2 million people faced hunger in the United States. Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief and food rescue organization, reports that 1 in 7 Americans are struggling with hunger. And hunger affects all ages: 13.1 million children live in food- insecure homes, meaning they are often forced to skip meals or eat less at meals. Their parents or guard- ians buy cheap, non-nutritious food, or feed their children but not them- selves. In 2014, 5.4 million adults over age 60 were food-insecure, about 9 percent of all seniors. In response to the prevalence of hunger, local congregations are making an impact on the hunger in their communities by going beyond traditional food pantries and commu- nity meals. They are now establish- ing things like "blessing boxes" on church property and offering nutri- tion classes, often by partnering with other organizations. The blessing box In Bonham, Texas, a town with nearly 25 percent of its residents living in poverty (according to 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau), First Presbyterian Church's mission committee decided to become part of the blessing box national movement. This grassroots movement has CRAIG GOODWIN On the second Friday of each month, the Millwood Mobile Food Bank drives up to the church parking lot where community volunteers help distribute food to neighbors. beyond a bag of groceries Creative ways congregations are doing more to feed the hungry BY SHERRY BLACKMAN

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