Saturday, August 27, 2016

Walking the Camino del Inmigrante

“Immigrants continue to make significant contributions to our economy,” García said. “Yet these same immigrants, especially those without documentation, suffer from among the highest rates of hunger in our country.” Bishop José García, Director of Church Relations, Bread for the World.

Some 150 people, including a team of Bread staff and members, are participating in a pilgrimage  from the border to Los Angeles on Aug. 20-30 to raise awareness about issues with the immigration system.



Organized by the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), World Vision, World Relief, and Bread for the World, and supported  by Border Angels, El Camino del Inmigrante, or “the path of the immigrant,” began with prayers and singing in Friendship Park, which lies on the coast on the border with Mexico.  Read article in San Diego Tribune

Along the 150-mile path, several events offered walkers an opportunity to rest and reflect on their journeys. In additional to nightly dinners and debriefs, Bread organized a rally on Aug. 26 in Costa Mesa, Calif., in the heart of Orange County, where Bishop García addressed walkers and other guests.   Read more in El Camino del Inmigrante to highlight struggles of immigrants   



Reading about the plight of so many immigrants in the Bible made me realize that our response to the issue of immigration needs to be directed by a worldview that is shaped by biblical principles rather than secular rhetoric.There is ample evidence in the Bible indicating that we should care for the “stranger among us. Bishop José García: Why I am doing El Camino 

Working for Bread for the World, I was astounded to learn that many military families don't always have enough to feed their children and rely on programs like SNAP and WIC to get by. It may surprise you to know that immigrants who serve honorably in the military are still at risk of deportation when they complete their service.  Marco Grimaldo, Semper fidelis: Faithfulness and prayers for people who are hungry  

A 44-year-old man, who declined to give his name, traveled from his native Guatemala for the walk and carried the dress shoes he wore in 2002 when he left his wife and four children to come to the U.S. “I didn’t want to leave my family, but it felt like an obligation because there weren’t any opportunities there,” he said through a translator. From article in Orange County Register

"We ran into one man today who said, 'Yeah, immigrants deserve to be treated with dignity, but they're not entitled to citizenship. And I just responded, 'Are any of us entitled to citizenship? Am I entitled to more rights because I was born a couple hundred miles north of a border? Am I entitled to more dignity and more opportunity or wealth or privilege because of where I was born versus where some of my friends and neighbors were born?' "I don't think so."  Bethany Anderson in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Read more accounts and view more photos and videos on the Follow on the Camino del Inmigrante  Official Facebook Page

A Prayer for 65 million refugees fleeing war and violence.

Some members of the Bread team on the walk
 O God, in Christ Jesus, you have created us as a new people of all nations and all cultures. We pray for those who have immigrated to our country, leaving their homes and families to escape poverty and hunger. May our communities welcome and support these immigrants as they work to create a better life for themselves and their families. Grant us courage to amplify the immigrant voices so they get protected from abuse and exploitation. And we pray for our nation’s leaders, that they will implement just and compassionate solutions in reforming our immigration system. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Mark Your Calendars: Hunger 101 Workshop

 

The Interfaith Hunger Coalition invites you to a workshop on hunger in New Mexico on Sunday, September 18, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque (Rayor Auditorium), 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE  (map), 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Photo: NM Voices for Children
Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor and Government Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children, will offer insights on recent trends on hunger in New Mexico and on the work of his organization in addressing food insecurity in our state. Read Mr. Jordan's biography (scroll down)

The event also features small-group discussions on how to organize Hunger 101 workshops within your own congregation, providing opportunities for members to learn more about hunger in New Mexico and engage in advocacy.

There is no charge for this forum but we ask that you bring non-perishable food items to support Roadrunner Food Bank.

To register, send an e-mail message to nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Welcoming the Stranger: How Local Agences Work with Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Albuquerque

The Interfaith Dialogue cordially invites you to its monthly meeting. The theme is "Welcoming the Stranger," a look at how local agencies work with immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Kathy Freeze from Catholic Charities and Tarrie Burnett from Lutheran Family Services are featured presenters. 

The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 PM on Thursday, August 25, at Catholic Charities, 3301 Candelaria Rd. NE, Suite B. ( The meeting room is around the back of this building, so drive around the west side of the office space to the parking area on the north side).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Indianapolis to Host Hunger Free Communities Summit on Oct. 5-6

The Alliance to End Hunger has scheduled the 2016 National Hunger Free Communities Summit s on October 5-6 in Indianapolis.

The objective of the summit is to provide current and aspiring Hunger Free Community organizers and the broader anti-hunger community a forum to learn, share and network while exploring best practices in hunger eradication.

The goals for the conference include sharing successful strategies for collective impact; learning about effective approaches from content experts; and identifying new tools, resources and partners for planning, implementing and evaluating community-based hunger relief efforts.

Photo: Alliance to End Hunger
The Hunger Free Communities initiative is the Alliance to End Hunger’s domestic-focused program that provides resources and support for ‘Hunger Free Community’ coalitions across the country.  These local community HFC initiatives are broad-based, multi-sector coalitions that are committed to ending hunger in their communities. Initiatives across the country range in scale, from small towns and counties to major metropolitan areas and states. 
Who Should Attend?
  • Hunger Free Communities Network participants– nonprofit, religious, private and public sector leaders working collectively to end hunger in their communities.
  • Those aspiring to start Hunger Free Community networks or coalitions.
  • Community, faith and business leaders interested in engaging in anti-hunger efforts.
  • Elected and public sector officials interested in understanding the untapped potential to end hunger in their communities. 
  • Community members and students interested in learning how to contribute to solving hunger
Here is the preliminary schedule and registration information

For more information, contact Minerva Delgado, Director of Coalitions & Advocacy at Alliance to End Hunger, at 202-688-1139 or mdelgado@alliancetoendhunger.org

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Catholic Relief Services Prepares for Sainthood of Mother Teresa

Fijamos la mirada en tu ejemplo,
alejándote del camino seguro 
arriesgando todo para cumplir la voluntad del Señor 
con los más pobres de los pobres. 
Y escuchamos el agonizante lamento que invocabas: “Tengo sed”.

¿Acaso nosotros no hemos escuchado también la Voz de Dios?

We gaze upon your example
Walking off the safe path
To risk all in doing the will of the Lord
For the poorest of the poor.
And we hear the agonizing cry of the one who called upon you: “I thirst.”
Have we too not heard the voice of God? 
-from I Thirst, A prayer inspired by Mother Teresa  (Tengo sed, una oración inspirada por Madre Teresa)
Together with the entire Church, Catholic Relief Services has planned a celebration of the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in Rome on Sept. 4, 2016 .

CRS has a long history with Mother Teresa. "We assisted Mother Teresa before her work was well known and have been a friend of the Missionaries of Charity, religious sisters devoted to 'wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor,' for nearly 50 years," said CRS.

To prepare for this momentous occasion, CRS has put together two special sites, one dedicated to  the canonization and the other providing  a collection of resources  to help communities of faith  to learn about and celebrate her witness of faith. The resources include a flyer in English and Spanish, an intergenerational parish-wide activity illustrating about how Mother Teresa is a model of faith for us today, A prayer in English and Spanish inspired by Mother Teresa(excerpts at the top of this blog post), and videos with personal stories and reflections about Mother Teresa.

"Hearing the voice of God while traveling from Calcutta to Darjeerling, Mother Teresa was moved to reach out to Calcutta's poorest citizens. Her ministry blossomed into the formation of the Missionaries of Charity who operate today in countries around the world," said CRS.

"Mother Teresa's tireless efforts on behalf of God’s most vulnerable children made her the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and an example for millions worldwide devoted to the struggle for human life and dignity," added the international relief organization.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rev. Jo Anne Lyon: Working to End Hunger in the Spirit of Matthew 25 and John Wessley

[We have a responsibility] to care for the poor...Matthew 25 is a core passage...Our caring for hungry people and eliminating hunger--which can be done--is done out of scripture. [We also address hunger] based on our tradition..In England, John Wesley advocated for the poor. Not only did he talk about it, but we saw laws changed.  
Bread for the World asked several prominent voices in the Christian community to share their vision of what it means to end hunger. This reflection comes from Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon. As General Superintending of the Wesleyan Church, Rev. Dr. Lyon, serves to guide the vision, key message, and missional priorities of The Wesleyan Church, which is transforming lives, churches, and communities with the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ. Dr. Lyon serves on the board of directors of several organizations, including the National Association of Evangelicals Executive Committee, Christian Community Development Association, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Asbury Theological Seminary Board, Council on Faith of the World Economic Forum, among others.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Commemorating #WorldHumanitarianDay in Tweets

 "World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk." — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bread for the World, an' Implementing Partner' of The Hunger Project

Where can you find Bread for the World listed along with the Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO) of Bolivia, the Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía, Chirapaq of Peru, and the
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa? These organizations are among a group of implementing partners of The Hunger Project, along with representatives of international anti-poverty, human rights and relief groups (Oxfam, Environmental Defense Fund, Red Cross, Engineers without Borders) in specific countries in Africa and Asia. The Hunger Project also lists several organizational partners, including 1,000 Days, Zero Poverty 2030 Campaign InterAction, and others (including a group of UN agencies).

22 Countries Working Together
The Hunger Project, is an organization that works in a very targeted manner. Individuals and organizations from 22 developed and developing countries work together to design and implement projects. Each of the projects aims to reinforce local knowledge and skills,enabling communities and local governments to take charge of their own development processes. Ultimately, the process  perpetuates, sustains and enhances the work begun in partnership with The Hunger Project. '

The ultimate goal is to promote self-reliance. So how do you define self-reliance? The concept comes into play when "community members are confident and have the capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development."
 
The Hunger Project wants to emphasize that self-reliant epicenter communities are not necessarily self-sufficient. "Self-sufficiency implies needing no outside help in satisfying one’s basic needs.
Epicenters are not self-sufficient. Whereas before these communities were largely isolated from public services, they are now managing effective links with district resources to build skills, develop additional infrastructure and increase access to services. The epicenter communities are active members of civil society and remain committed to the fulfillment of ongoing and future needs. They both give and take from their wider circles of contact.

There is also the matter of measuring results through Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). There are three criteria for (M&E): 1. Measuring what matters, 2. Evaluating grassroots, community-led engagement, and 3. A Focus on Objectivity.

One can To learn more about  the work of The Hunger Project via Our Work link. That's just a part of the story. The News and Headlines link offers a broader picture of what The Hunger Project is all about.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bishop John Richard Bryant: Ending Hunger is Not Optional for Christians

It is impossible to deal with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and not deal with hunger.  It is not optional in the Christian faith.We have people that are dealing with basic needs: hunger, shelter and clothing. If we are going to keep faith with the Gospel that we preach, that we teach, that we were saved by, we have to be engaged at that level. I never minimize the power of prayer  If we would actively pray for the poor, pray for those who are hungry, then our actions tend to follow our prayers.
Bread for the World asked several prominent voices in the Christian community to share their vision of what it means to end hunger. This reflection comes from Bishop John Richard Bryant, who presides over the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), headquartered in Baltimore. Bishop Bryant has an accomplished career in ministry and service. Among other things, he served in the Peace Corps in 1965-1967 and led AME churches in Maryland and Texas and presided over the 14th Episcopal District, which covered 101 churches in several West African countries. He is author of the book God Can, based on a collection of his own sermons.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Vote to End Hunger: The Third-Party Candidates

In a post we published this past week, we examined the platforms of the two major political parties and posted videos from four candidates--two Republicans and two Democrats--about their approach to address hunger and poverty. 

We now want to look at the alternatives. In our two-party system, any political party that offers an alternative to the voters is labeled as "third party." Two of those third-party candidates, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party, are likely to appear as blips on the electoral radar screen.  Neither is likely to win and perhaps not even appear on the debates. Since media coverage is centered on their role as "spoilers," we wanted to take a look at what each says about the issues, specifically hunger and poverty.

Gary Johnson (Libertarian)

Since the polls show a higher level of preference for Johnson, let's start with him. There has been no direct statement from the former New Mexico governor on how he would address hunger and poverty. And the issues section on his official website makes no direct mention of  those issues. A Libertarian, by definition, is one who wants a reduced role for the government. (The online news site The Street examines how a Johnson presidency would look). Therefore, the approach of Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, would be to grow the economy by emphasizing the private sector, which in turn would lead to job creation. Here is what the Jobs section of the Johnson-Weld site says.
"Governors Johnson and Weld believe that we must allow a regulatory and tax environment that incentivizes fairness. Not one that picks winners and losers. The purpose of government regulation is to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety, and property. But regulation should not be used to manipulate the economy, to manage private lives and businesses, or to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work."
There is no mention of helping poor countries in the Foreign Policy and National Defense Section of the official website. There is, however, a mention of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations, but that probably deals with military and political actions. The other important issue is immigration.  This vague declaration sums up the Johnson-Weld philosophy: " Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty."

Jill Stein (Green)
Green Party candidate Jill Stein, in contrast to Johnson, offers a very hands-on approach to ending hunger and poverty in our country. Her Pledge to End Hunger in America contains two key points: creation of environmentally related jobs and support for a plan put forth by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in October 2015.

Here's what she says on the first proposal.
The best job creation program is a Green New Deal, an emergency transition to a green economy that meets our urgent needs, ecologically and socially. Not only will it reduce the negative impacts of climate change but it will put tens of millions of Americans to work installing solar panels and wind turbines, creating a healthy sustainable food system, building mass transit and inter-city rail roads, and meeting our needs for housing and social services.
And here is her statement on support for the FRAC plan.
The Food Research Action Center re-released their Action Plan to End Hunger today, outlining 7 key areas where action is needed. The Plan includes strengthening the federal SNAP and TANF programs, including raising SNAP (food stamp) benefits to a more realistic level. Stein said she supported free school lunch and breakfast for all American children, eliminating the stigma that reduces participation especially among older children. Dr. Stein also called for making school meals locally sourced, to help jump start healthy sustainable food systems.
Her platform makes no direct mention of foreign aid, but she talks about enacting a " a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. She also mentions a general proposal to "improve economic and social conditions abroad to reduce the flow of immigrant refugees." For immigrants already in the U.S., she advocates halting deportations for law-abiding immigrants and de-militarizing border crossings throughout North America.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Upcoming Events for the Interfaith Hunger Coalition in Albuquerque

The Legal Battle Over SNAP Benefits in New Mexico

Our next general meeting is scheduled for

Tuesday, August 23
First Presbyterian Church,
(Martin Luther King Blvd & I-25)
12:00 Noon
Sovereign Hager and Louise Pocock from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty are our guest presenters. They will give us updates and background on the legal battle over SNAP benefits in New Mexico. See coverage from National Public Radio and the New Mexico Political Report.

The Education/Outreach and Advocacy Committees will also present updates on recent and upcoming activities.

Feel free to bring your own lunch.
Hunger 101 Workshop

The Interfaith Hunger Coalition invites you to a workshop on hunger in New Mexico. Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor and Government Relations Officer at New Mexico Voices for Children, will offer insights on recent trends and on the work of his organization in addressing food insecurity in our state. The event also features small-group discussions on how to organize Hunger 101 workshops  within your own congregation, providing opportunities for members to learn more about hunger in New Mexico and engage in advocacy.

No charge for this forum but we ask that you bring non-perishable food items to support Roadrunner Food Bank.

To register, send an e-mail message to nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com
A World Food Day Weekend


Saturday, October 15
Annual Sustainability Meal
The Action Corps (formerly Oxfam Action Corps) will be holding its annual meal to promote sustanability and food sovereignty at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, 425 University Blvd. NE, Albuquerque. The evening event, (time TBD), will feature a meal with locally sourced ingredients. Volunteers to help are welcomed. Stay tuned for more details.

Sunday, October 16
First Unitarian Church
3:00 - 4:30 p.m

3701 Carlisle Blvd. NE
Interfaith Service
We invite you to join members of  local faith communities to commemorate World Food Day. An interfaith service of prayer linking food, climate change, immigration and economic justice will feature scripture readings, music and dance  from the Sikh, Baha'i, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Native American and other communities. This prayer will lead people to make a commitment to address hunger, climate change, immigration and economic justice through direct service or advocacy for change. Refreshments and hospitality will close the interfaith prayer time. Stay tuned for more details. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rev. Jim Wallis: We Can End Hunger and Poverty by 2030

"I'm very encouraged by all the energy and movement that I'm seeing, particularly in the new generation, around hunger, around human trafficking, around immigration, around criminal justice (they need to fix a broken system), around changing, reforming our educational system.   This is all the same movement. These can't be seen as competitive campaigns. Somehow there's a movement here that sees that our lives all make a difference when they change the lives of other people.  What does it mean to care about the common good?...That is the kind of conversion that we need."
Bread for the World asked several prominent voices in the Christian community to share their vision of what it means to end hunger. This reflection comes from Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of  Sojourners and author of 12 books. Rev. Wallis also helped found The Circle of Protection, along with Rev. David Beckmann and Ambassador Tony Hall, in response to a move in Congress in late 2010 to cut funding for nutrition programs that are vital to low-income families.  



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vote to End Hunger: A Look at the Party Platforms, Revisiting the Circle of Protection Videos

Now that the conventions are over and the nominees for the major parties have been decided, it's time to look at the party platforms and revisit the videos that the candidates for the two major parties made on behalf of the Circle of Protection during the primary season. (Also, if you or your congregation is looking for ways to become involved in the presidential and congressional campaigns, Bread for the World will offer several Vote to End Hunger webinars during August).

First, the party platforms (courtesy of ONE)

At their respective conventions, the parties finalized their platforms and each included several points that underscore the importance of smart investment in development and life-saving programs in the next four years.

"We know you don't have the time to read through all 121 pages, so we pulled together some highlights," said ONE.  "While there were definitely differences between the parties, they did agree on a few things (listed below)."
  • Democrats and Republicans are committed to strengthening partnerships with African countries;
  • Each party reaffirmed their support for global health programs like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR);
  • Republicans and Democrats agree that investment in smart foreign assistance is in our national interest;
  • Each party platform argues that development is a critical tool to our national security;
  • Both major parties stressed the importance of investing our aid dollars wisely.
To learn more about what each party had to say, read ONE's blog on the platforms.

The Videos
The candidates were asked to offer their vision for ending hunger through a video message.  All three Democrats and all but one of the Republicans created a video with their proposals. Here is a link to all the videos.

The Circle of Protection presented the videos without comment or endorsement, encouraging  church, college and seminary groups to view and discuss the messages. A study guide accompanied the videos.

While the Circle of Protection did not make any commentaries, I will add my two cents. In my humble opinion, there are two essential elements required in the effort to end hunger. The first one is to look at the big picture, especially considering all the causes that lead to hunger. The second is intentionality.  (Is that really a word?)  Another way to say this is to ask the question. Is ending hunger a priority for this candidate.?

I perused the videos of the candidates and the proposals from two Republicans,  Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, came closest to meeting my criteria.  Videos from Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton (the party's presidential nominee), Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley also met the criteria. The messages from Secretary Clinton and Sen. Sanders are also included in this blog post.

(Where is the Republican nominee's message, you ask? The Circle of Protection made repeated requests to Donald Trump's campaign for a video. There was no response from the Trump campaign). 




Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Best Months to Visit Your Local Growers Market in New Mexico

Orozco family at Santa Fe Growers Market (Photo NMFMA)
Visit your local growers market in New Mexico during August and September, and you'll find the stalls overflowing with cucumbers, tomatoes (of all colors), onions, chiles, bell peppers, melons (of all kinds), sweet corn, carrots, squash, apples, peaches, grapes, eggplant, radishes, potatoes, string beans, pinto beans and much, much more. (You can even find jujube at the Santa Fe Growers Market).

All of those items and more are eligible for the Double Up Food Bucks program, which provides participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with a 100 percent match on any produce acquired at farmers' markets, farm stands and select retail sites. There are nearly 90 locations around the state participating in the program.

In the eyes of the U.S. Department of  Agriculture (USDA), the Double-up Food Bucks program is a very effective means to provide working families in New Mexico with greater access to produce. That is why the USDA awarded a grant to the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association (NMFMA) to keep this valuable program going  for at least another four years.

Monday, August 08, 2016

OL 2016: Blessing our Letters to Congress with Holy Water

Rev. Stephen Hickman, a retired priest from the Diocese of Richmond who lives in Los Lunas, filled in for our pastor, Rev. Ark Biczak in the blessing of the letters that we wrote primarily to Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham at St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque.  A couple of people also wrote to Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Steve Pearce. Bread for the World's 2016 Offering of Letters urged Congress to prioritize support for maternal and child health programs at the global level, emphasizing nutrition.

We counted a total of 91 letters from this year's Offering of Letters, which took place on July 23-24 at our parish, bringing the total in Albuquerque and Las Cruces to almost 1,650 letters. Father Hickman blessed the letters at the 9:00 a.m. Mass on July 31.  Here is a short video of the blessing, courtesy of Maria Duran.