Sunday, May 02, 2010

Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church hosts Panel on Hunger

It was a privilege to be part of a panel at an adult education class at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.  Two of the panelists are involved in direct service: Andrea Bromberg, capital campaign director at Roadrunner Food Bank and Joell Ackerman, executive director at Project Share. Two of us are involved in advocacy and education, Patricia Anders of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and me (Carlos Navarro) with Bread for the World.

The panel discussion was the last of a four-part series for participants in the adult education class, which used among other things materials from Bread for the World's Hunger No More study guide. 

What was most striking about the panel was the convergence of the missions and activities of our organizations.  For example, Project Share relies extensively on food from Roadrunner Food Bank. And Project Share and Roadrunner have noticed a great increase in the number of working poor requiring their services.  This gave Patricia and I an opportunity to bring up our efforts regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit (the subject of Bread for the World's 2010 Offering of Letters) and increased participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.  

And Patricia and I also spoke about the efforts to boost funding for child nutrition during the reauthorization process.  I mentioned that we were aware that Rep. Martin Heinrich had signed a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Reps. Joanne Emerson (R-MO) and James McGovern (D-MA) to add $1 billion per year to the program.  Patricia gave me the happy news that Rep. Harry Teague had also signed the letter.  We had not heard about Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

Finally, we managed to get some interest from members of the Mission Committee in having Shepherd of the Valley become the sixth Presbyterian church in New Mexico to participate in our annual offerings of letters (hopefully beginning with the 2010 OL).

My guesstimate is that there were at least 30 people in attendance, including Pastor Tom Hart.

Our thanks to panel organizer (and MC) Andy Ambrose for having offered us this opportunity.

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