May 17th, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Jesus performed many miracles in his three-year ministry, but only two of them are recorded in all four Gospels – the resurrection and the feeding of the 5,000.
It is clear that the resurrection is an essential part of the Christian faith, and its treatment by all of the Gospel writers is not surprising. But the universal coverage of the feeding miracle is often overlooked. If the authors of all of the Gospels believed that this act of grace was such an essential aspect of who Jesus was, perhaps we should give it similar prominence in our faith and ministries.
One in four children in Texas does not know whether or not he or she will have food for their next meal, a condition known as food insecurity. Texas has the second highest food insecurity rate among children in the nation.
A recent study by Baylor School of Social Work graduate student Ashley Castillo shows that 62 percent of congregation members across denominations would be more involved directly in combating hunger if they knew tangible ways to help. The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) can inform such potential volunteers of ways they can be involved through partnerships, information sharing and resource networking.
Our children need your help. We need churches to participate in helping to eliminate childhood hunger, and there are specific ways they can step up to that challenge.
The most tangible and impactful way is through summer feeding sites. During the school year there are 2.8 million Texas students on the free or reduced lunch program, which provides breakfast and lunch five days a week. These students often go without consistent meals on the weekends and holidays. The summer break is a particularly difficult time for such students.
If a church is located in an area where 50 percent or more of children under 18 are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program, that church can be reimbursed for two meals served to a child each day, regardless of the child’s eligibility. Churches can choose to prepare their meals in house and be reimbursed, or they can be a distribution site where meals are provided by an outside sponsor.
THI recognizes that not every church is located in such an area, nor has the necessary space or resources to be a stand-alone summer feeding site. There are still ways that a church can participate.
It is our hope that such congregations get involved in the summer feeding program by providing additional volunteers, financial assistance, transportation services, marketing and networking to churches or community-based organizations that are summer meal sites.
If you are interested in becoming a summer feeding site, volunteering at an existing site or learning more, visit the Texas Hunger Initiative website (www.texashunger.org) or contact THI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Danny Steis, Communications Coordinator of Texas Hunger Initiative.