Lower Susquehanna Synod Assembly Gathers to Feed the Hungry

The Lower Susquehanna Synod Assembly invited over 700 leaders and voting members to gather around the theme of “Feeding the Hungry”. The Assembly was preceded by a 12-hours meal packing event that resulted in over 300,000 meals packed, to be distributed through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

Assembly, Keynoter, The Rev. Dan Rift, Director of ELCA World Hunger, asked participants at each table to put an empty chair on the tabletop. “Look at these empty chairs,” he said, “which roughly symbolize the percentage of those who are hungry in the U.S.A.” He asked participants to take time to learn the stories and names of those who are hungry, and to be changed by their neighbors’ plight.

Amy Reumann, LAMPa Director, led three bible studies under the theme of “Serve”, “Pray” and “Speak” as three ways to address hunger. In the session on “Speak”, voting members learned about the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) as an opportunity to speak for hunger advocacy. SFPP is important partnership between the state, food banks and charitable organizations to get food to the people who need it most. Over 150 participants wrote letters on paper plates to their legislators, asking for strong funding for SFPP in the 2014-15 state budget. Others plan to take the exercise back to their congregations.

Below are links to resources and information mentioned during the Bible Studies to assist congregations in their hunger ministries, and to advocacy on SFPP in June 2014.
• Look up your county statistics and information in State of Hunger: Pennsylvania 2013 from the Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. You can download the full report or look up information on your county.
Bread for the World graphic illustrating that only 1 out of every 24 bags of groceries distributed in the US comes from charitable organizations, included churches.
Witnesses to Hunger, a project of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities
• Chart of the impact of volunteer activities on reducing hunger in America is on p. 5 and following in Beyond the Food Drive: Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service from the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
Give Us This Day: A Lutheran Proposal to End Hunger by Dr. Craig Nessan
State Food Purchase/Paper Plate Letters Handout for use in letter writing
LAMPa Advocacy Toolkit: How to Write a Letter, Make a Legislative Visit, Write a Letter to the Editor

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