Friday, May 09, 2014
Hunger Awareness & the Community of Faith
Mental Health Awareness Week. Check. Monarch Butterfly Week. Check. Hunger Awareness Week. That's today.
Last week a couple of students from Loyalist College spoke with me for a journalism project in which they're going "outside the box" of interviewing only candidates prior to the municipal election in the Fall. They are asking leaders in the community about the issues they consider important for the city of Belleville and in my case they were aware of the Inn from the Cold and Thank God its Friday meal ministries of the Bridge St. congregation.
I told them that I am convinced that any healthy community must be healthy for all its citizens, including those who are often invisible because they are low income or jobless. I spoke about the broader picture of food security, or insecurity as the case may be. There are lots of people in this community who make choices between paying rent or utility bills and buying food, maybe not every week, but often. There is no cushion of money for difficult times and for so many of these folk they are constantly behind, perpetually in debt. Healthy food is often out of reach. Meal programs and food banks become part of the equation of survival, but who can flourish this way?
The six weeks of Inn from the Cold wrapped up at the end of February, but TGIF continues all through the year at Bridge St. Today up to 90 meals will be distributed to those who come seeking them, and there is no means test and no judgment. I'm so glad that this congregation has been involved in this way for a long time, but we would all agree these meal ministries only address a portion of the challenge.
Have you been part of a meal program through your church or some other organization? Are they enough? Should food security for all be a campaign issue in municipal and provincial elections?