Sunday, June 10, 2018

Relief Efforts for Victims of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala

Photo: Ahora Noticias
When Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted on June 3, villages, coffee farms and a golf resort downslope were consumed in just minutes by a pyroclastic flow — a fast-moving mixture of hot gas and volcanic rock. When an eruption releases mixtures that are denser than air, it forms a toxic landslide, careening downhill at speeds between 30 and 90 miles per hour and temperatures up to 1,300 degrees.  Article in The New York Times
On Sunday, June 3rd, 2018, Volcán Fuego, near Guatemala City, erupted killing at least 99 people. San Lucas Tolimán (which is near the volcano)is safe and has not been affected, but please keep our brothers and sisters in Guatemala in your thoughts and prayers. Friends of San Lucas Tolimán
We are thinking about all those affected by this week's devastating eruption at Volcán de Fuego. The blast occurred about 70 miles away from the farmer groups we work with but only about 20 miles southeast of San Lucas Toliman, where Bill Harris will be volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in November...Volcanic ash could affect residents across the country, but most of the devastating debris and lava is affecting communities at the base of the volcano. Our thoughts are with those families and rescue workers on-site. Café Campesino
Suggested Donation Sites
Please consider donating through this GoFundMe page that was recommended by Geoffrey Hennies, webmaster, the webmaster for Café Campesino, who lives in Guatemala. The money is passed to Micoope, a local credit union/co-op that is organizing a fundraising effort in the country.

Other groups working on relief and donation efforts include the local Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, the Miguel Vargas Association, the Rotary Club of Guatemala and additional entities listed on Go Fund Me's official relief page.

The following article was posted on the Café Campesino blog shortly before the disaster took place. We will send updates on our November trip to San Lucas Toliman as Habitat for Humanity works to determine the needs of Guatemalan communities.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Sample A Pint of St. Brigid's Brew,,,and Help Catholic Charities

St. Brigid's Brew is a local New Mexican dark chocolate style craft beer formulated by Abbey Brewing and distributed by Admiral Beverage to benefit Catholic Charities' programs. It will be available at Monks' Corner Taproom, 205 Silver Ave. SW, beginning June 10. Join in a special celebration (including food trucks and music) to introduce St. Brigid's Brew at Monks' Corner Taproom, 205 Silver SW G (map), 1:00-4:00 p.m.. For every $5 pint sold, $1 will be donated to Catholic Charities.

Summertime Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Available to New Mexicans

Karen Navarro, Resource Directory Manager for SHARE New Mexico, posted this information in the organization's June newsletter.

All year round, food pantries and mobile food markets throughout the state address the service gap of free or affordable fresh vegetables and fruits available to underserved communities. Each summer there is a plethora of options, with farmers markets throughout the state offering healthy, nutritious food to New Mexicans.

The New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is a statewide resource supporting New Mexico farmers, families and communities by providing public education, food access programs, technical assistance, and advocacy. The NMFMA website provides up-to-date information on everything you would want to know about these nutritious food outlets. Find a farmers market near you.

Also be sure to visit the NMFMA website to learn about Double Up Food Bucks. Utilizing federal and state funding, NMFMA’s Double Up Food Bucks program is available at approx. 80 outlets in New Mexico including farmers’ markets, farm stands, grocery stores, mobile markets, and CSAs. With Double Up Food Bucks, SNAP EBT card holders are better able to afford fresh fruits and vegetables grown in New Mexico. (Eg., if a SNAP recipient spends $26 with the EBT card, he/she can receive – for free -- another $26 in fresh New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables).

If you would like to receive the SHARE New Mexico newsletter contact Wendy Wintermute (

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Sharing an Iftar Meal with Guests from the Village Café

For the third year in a row, the Interfaith Hunger Coalition (IHC) was invited to share an Iftar meal with the Turkish community in Albuquerque. The practice of sharing a meal with the community at sundown is one way in which Muslims around the world celebrate the end of a day of fasting during the month of Ramadan. (Fasting means no food OR Water. Abstaining from water all day is significant in our high desert environment, especially when temperatures reach the lower 90s!).

Necip Orhan, executive director of the Dialogue Institute-Albuquerque, told us how this spirit of sharing has been a family tradition while he was growing up in his small village in Turkey. During Ramadan, his father would often go to the local café just before sundown and often returned home with several guests to come share an iftar meal with the family. His mother and sisters would always have enough food on hand to share with any guests who arrived at their home.

On Wednesday, June 6, 30-plus members of the IHC and other members of the local community, were the guests for a delicious meal, consisting of a tasty meat patty, potatoes, salad and a sweet cookie-like pastry.

Necip and his wife Rabia did not find the guests this evening at a local cafe, but they sent invitations via a modern-day café (e-mail). The meal was shared with members of the Albuquerque Baha'i Community, Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Central United Methodist Church, Community of Hope, First Congregational Church, Holy Rosary Catholic Community, St. John XXIII Catholic Community, Catholic Charities, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and others.

We ended the meal with a Christian prayer (led by Franciscan Sister Joan Brown) and and Muslim prayer (led by Necip).. Here are some photos.

Necip Orghan
Several guests converse just before the meal is served

Rabia Sahin Orhan (center)
Sister Joan Brown receives special gift from our hosts

Monday, June 04, 2018

The 311 on Children's #SummerMeals in #ABQ, #BernalilloCounty

City of Albuquerque sites are in blue, Bernalillo County in green (see printable listings below)

Photo: NM Alliance for Children
Free meals and summertime recreational info for Summer 2018 is available online now for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County! (See hyperlinks below)

Parents can also call 311 to find the nearest site for free breakfast or lunch, or questions about any summer programs.

 General Guidelines.
  1. Participants must be one to 18 years of age to receive a meal.
  2. Meals or individual food items cannot be taken from the site.
  3. Participants must receive an entire meal, including milk.
  4. All meals will be served on a first come, first served basis.
City of Albuquerque
The Food Service Program for Children provides meals in City community centers, parks, schools, apartment complexes, public housing, churches and at non-profit organizations
Most meal sites will start receiving food services June 4, 2018.
You do not have to be registered at any site listed to participate in the breakfast or lunch program.

See the full listing of sites (in pdf format for printing)

Bernalillo County
The Bernalillo County’s Office of Health and Social Services will be providing free and nutritious meals during the summer from May 30 through Aug. 4, 2018   See the full listing of sites (in pdf format for printing).

Summer Activities for Children and Youth
All Albuquerque summer activities at parks, community centers, libraries and museums, and city-sponsored events:

For a great way for you and the kids to cool off:
Swimming pools and spray parks in the City of Albuquerque:
Swimming pools and spray parks on Bernalillo County website:

There is also a website called “Momsblog,” which provides even more information on spray parks and pools 2018 Ultimate Guide to Summer in Albuquerque

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Albuquerque Baha'i Center to Host Hunger 101 Workshop on June 23

The Interfaith Hunger Coalition invites people of all faiths to join us in our Fifth congregational Hunger 101 Workshop. The workshops are created to help congregations involve members of faith communities in becoming involved in helping fight hunger in their immediate neighborhood, in Albuquerque and in New Mexico.

Hunger 101 Workshop at Jewish Community Center
The workshops provides information about hunger in New Mexico as well as information about opportunities for direct service and for advocacy.

Workshops have been held at First Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, the Jewish Community Center and Congregation Albert. A abbreviated version of Hunger has also been held with Church Women United and the Presyterian Women of the Presbytery of Santa Fe.

The public is invited to the next workshop, hosted by the Albuquerque Baha'i Center, 5700 Ouray Rd. NW, (map), on Saturday, June 23, 1:00-4:00 p.m. See the flyer below for more information or contact the Interfaith Hunger Coalition ( To contact the  Baha'i Center, send an e-mail to

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Santa Fe Mayor Tours City's Food Bank

The Food Depot recently hosted the new mayor of Santa Fe, who took a tour of the food bank's facilities. "A special thank you to City of Santa Fe Mayor Alan M. Webber for taking a tour and learning more about The Food Depot’s work in Northern New Mexico," said Food Depot Director Sherry Hooper. We are so grateful to have the City’s support!

Friday, May 25, 2018

From Costco and Cheddar's to the Soup Kitchen

Andy Knowlton, Swarupa Wattlington, Brittainy Mullins
Rescuing of prepared foods is more complicated than rescuing packaged unprocessed items.  However, prepared meals are among the items that Roadrunner Food Bank collects, according to Andy Knowlton, who has served as food sourcing manager for Roadrunner Food Bank.

Knowlton was one of three speakers at the Interfaith Hunger Coalition's bimonthly meeting on May 22, which addressed rescue of prepared foods in Albuquerque. The other speakers were Swarupa Wattlington from Adelante Desert Harvest and Brittainy Mullins from Food Rescue US.

According to Knowlton, one of the primary source of these types of foods for Roadrunner Food Bank is Costco, a store that specializes in selling items in bulk  Restaurants are more of a source of prepared foods for two smaller operations, Food Rescue US and Desert Harvest.

Food Rescue US, which uses an app to connect donors, volunteer drivers and feeding operations in Albuquerque, has developed a relationship with Cheddar's restaurant, according to Mullins, the local coordinator for Food Rescue USA, which operates in 17 cities around the country.  According to people who have coordinated with Food Rescue USA, the app created by the organization is very user friendly.
Food Rescue USA's App
The Desert Harvest program, which was started as an opportunity for with disabilities to get out in the community, is the oldest prepared-foods rescue operation in Albuquerque. Currently, over 80 restaurants, grocers, hotels, food distributors, schools, and caterers donate their over-run food to Desert Harvest recipient agencies, resulting in more than 1 million meals. According to Wattlinton, executive director of The Storehouse, agencies like Hope Works (previously St. Martin's Hospitality Center) and Health Care for the Homeless are among the agencies the receive the food.

The Storehouse, which is Desert Harvest's parent agency, operates one of the largest food pantries in the city, providing food at a fixed site and via a mobile unit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gumbo, Gazpacho and Vichyssoise, Oh My!

It was a both a party and a fundraiser.

It was silent auction as well as an opportunity to sample various types of soup. (gazpacho, vichyssoise, green chile stew, Italian wedding soup, gumbo).

It was a partnership between the Rio Grande Food Project and the food pantry at St. John XXIII Catholic Community.

In the end, this event held on Saturday, May 19 at the home of Terry and Jeannette Dunbar, raised just over $6,000 from a silent auction and donations. In addition, people who attended the event brought non-perishable food items, which yielded 212 pounds of food. All in all, a successful evening! Here are some photos.

Ari Herring, Maria Duran, Kathy Freeze, Sandy Gaudet

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Prayer AND Advocacy During Farm Bill Deliberations

We need both action and contemplation to have a whole spiritual journey. It doesn’t matter which comes first; action may lead you to contemplation and contemplation may lead you to action. But finally, they need and feed each other.  -Rev. Richard Rohr, OFM

Last week, we received two separate notes from Bread for the World. One note came from Bishop José García, senior advisor for prayer and strategic initiatives, who urged us to join the monthly prayer circle to include two requests in our prayers: the well-being of low-income individuals whose benefits are running out, and wisdom and compassion for our members of Congress as they debate the farm bill.

Circle of Prayer: As we fast again this month, we pray especially for those whose SNAP benefits will run out on or near the 21st day of the month. This is particularly important as Congress works on the farm bill.

To support your fast and create community, we are starting a monthly Prayer Circle. Please join us May 21 at 12 p.m. (EDT).

The Prayer Circle will be led by our special guest Rev. Art Simon, founder of Bread for the World. We will pray for Congress to write a farm bill that protects and strengthens domestic nutrition programs and fully funds and continues to improve our international food aid programs.

Register for the Circle of Prayer

Advocacy: The second note came from Christine M. Ashley, interim co-director of government relations, who asked us to contact our legislators in the House of Representatives to urge them to vote against H.R.2  the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R.2).

 "The farm bill imposes SNAP benefit and eligibility cuts in addition to stricter work requirements, in the name of getting SNAP recipients back to work" said Ms. Ashley. "If enacted, these changes would make it harder for families with children, people with disabilities, and seniors to get the food they need,"  

Ashley wrote the note two days before H.R. 2 was defeated in the House by a vote of 213-198.  The threat a punitive Farm Bill has not gone away, so the appeal to advocacy still stands. However, the strategy has shifted.

Here is a note from Food Research and Action CenterThank House Members who voted “No” on H.R. 2 and urge them to reject the motion to reconsider; urge Senators to protect and strengthen SNAP, including by rejecting SNAP cuts and by improving adequacy of SNAP benefits.

And this note appeared in the Bread Blog: Unfortunately, House Speaker Paul Ryan could bring this bill back up for a vote again early next week, so we will need to ensure our members of Congress stand strong in opposing these harmful cuts. Call your representative (800-826-3688) to thank them for voting against the bill or to oppose their support for the bill. (list of yeas and nays)

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Portrait of a Hunger Hero in Marshall County, Indiana

She’s traveled all over the world to learn firsthand how hunger and food insecurity look in different countries (there’s not a standard template, she says).

She spends a great deal of time in Washington, DC, to lobby for legislation that assists people who are food insecure (people who do not have reliable access to nutritious food they can afford).

But a good portion of her time is spent at home in Michiana, helping the hungry and the impoverished in local communities.

“It’s endlessly rewarding,” she says. “It’s what I’m meant to do.” -Article in Edible Michiana magazine

I was so proud to see my friend Angie Ruprock-Shafer featured in a recent edition of the Edible Michiana magazine, which focuses on a variety of food issues, including nutrition, community agriculture and hunger. The print edition of this issue was out on display counters several weeks ago, but the article appeared online in mid-May.

Angie and I served together on the board of directors of Bread for the World for a few years. When she came on board, she was on the communications staff of Church World Service (the folks that bring you the CROP Walk).

The article, entitlted "Hyperlocal focus on the hungry leads local woman to global goal,"notes that Angie's Christian and humanitarian values are strong reasons why she is so involved in many different ways to fight hunger (from social media to direct advocacy to policy making). “The Bible talks endlessly about fighting hunger,” Rupchock-Schafer told article author Mike Petrucelli

And now Angie is going to take her fight against hunger to a different level. She is running for a seat in the Marshall County Commission so she can become a participant in crafting public policy.

This article is a great tribute to Angie  You can read it here

But this is not the first time that Angie has been quoted in Edible Michiana.  She was quoted in a piece about food councils in October 2017.“Farm-to-school programs help create a steady market for local farmers and provide fresh, nutritious food for our kids,” said Angela Rupchock-Schafer, a founding member of the Marshall County Food Council. “Good nutrition is essential to help our students thrive—especially those who may face hunger at home.” -Read full article

Thursday, May 17, 2018

House Candidates Discuss Immigration, Poverty at Forum in #ABQ

Davis, Arnold-Jones, Princeton (standing), Lara, Haaland, Sedillo Lopez, Moya, Martinez (off frame)
On Wednesday, May 16, the eight individuals seeking to fill the soon-to-be vacant New Mexico Congressional District 1 seat in the House of Representatives participated in a discussion on immigration and other issues at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque. The race has drawn six Democrats (Pat Davis, Debra Haaland, Damian Lara, Damon Martinez, Paul Moya, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez), one Republican (Janice Arnold-Jones) and one Libertarian (Lloyd Princeton). The seat is currently held by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is leaving to run for governor of New Mexico.

The forum was organized by the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Among the immigration issues that were discussed were the role of local police in enforcing immigration policy, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and locations within the city where immigration enforcement personnel should not be allowed to seek undocumented immigrants.

Poverty and Economic Development
One of the "other" issues that were discussed was child poverty and poverty in New Mexico in general.  As one who works on addressing hunger and poverty in our state, our country and overseas, this was an area of particular interest. The candidates addressed this issue in a somewhat superficial manner. To be fair, they couldn't go in depth because they were given 90 seconds to make a statement.

Here are some comments that stood out for me that were directly or indirectly relevant to the Bread for the World Offering of Letters, entitled For Such a Time as This. In New Mexico, the focus of our letters is on protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which affect so many individuals and families in our state. Haaland addressed this issue directly. "Kids cannot learn when they're hungry," she said.  However, Martinez spoke of protecting safety net programs, and Sedillo Lopez spoke of the need to "radically expand" the earned-income tax credit (EITC), which is a position that Bread has supported.

Sedillo Lopez and Davis both spoke of the need to increase the minimum wage, although the former mentioned a specific figure: $15 per hour and then link any increases to inflation.

Another area that was discussed was education--specifically early childhood education, which the  candidates agreed could use more support. "The surest way out of poverty is to fix education," said Moya.  This was also a point of emphasis for Martinez, Sedillo-Lopez and Davis.  Lara mentioned the need to expand Headstart.

Arnold Jones addressed the need to reduce overregulation to promote economic growth in the state, while Princeton suggested that more effort should go to programs like vocational training in the state to help boost employment.

Letters to Candidates
While the forum did not lend itself to a broad discussion on hunger and poverty in New Mexico, we are hoping to raise the issue to the candidates between now and the November election.

After June 5, only one of the six Democrats will remain in the race, along with Arnold-Jones and Princeton. We hope to promote letters to the three candidates as part of our ongoing Offering of Letters efforts in New Mexico (along with continuing letters to our current House and Senate members).  The Congressional seat in the 2nd district is also open, so we may address letters to the eventual nominees seeking to replace Rep. Steve Pearce, who is also running for governor.  Stay tuned for more details.

As of May 15, four churches had written more than 500 letters to Reps. Lujan Grisham, Pearce, and Ben Ray Lujan and Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (who is also running for re-election this year).

I was pleased to learn that the location of the congressional debate, First Presbyterian Church, is planning an Offering of Letters on May 20, a fact that Rev. Matthew Miller, pastor of the church, proudly pointed out to me. The letters written on May 20 will be dedicated on  May 27. Special thanks to Kirsten Marr for organizing this effort at First Presbyterian Church.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Community Gatherings for Fast-Breaking Meal (Iftar) During Ramadan

Today, on the first day of Ramadan, we post this video of Catherine Osborne, director of Shoulder to Shoulder. The organization  has teamed up with Se7enFast, the Islamic Society of North America, and The People’s Supper  to create The United States of Love over Hate: A Ramadan Supper Series.   The primary goal of this effort is to identify, support, and connect people to host Iftars open to interfaith guests across the United States, in order to help facilitate local relationship building among Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Join the United States of Love Over Hate!  Here is a listing  from Se7enFast to others who have joined.

The Dialogue Institute/Turkish Raindrop House in Albuquerque are on the Se7enFast list and have followed this model of including  the community at large (including the Interfaith Hunger Coalition) with Iftar meals over the past several years,. Check out the stories of the local interfaith Iftar meals in 2016 and 2017. This year, anyone from the community in Albuquerque can sign up to participate in an Iftar meal on each of the Saturdays of Ramadan.  Space is limited, so registration is requested. Register Here

We also  hope to again organize a special gathering with the Dialogue Institute/Turkish Raindrop House on a weekday. Stay tuned for more details.

In this video, Dr. Osborn, discusses a community event against bigotry in Redmond, Washington.