Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wide Interfaith Coalition Joins in 'Fighting Poverty with Faith' Effort in October

Next to Thanksgiving, the period that is set aside to take actions to address hunger and poverty in our country and around our world is the month of October.  For many years, our organization has encouraged churches to set aside one Sunday during the month to observe Bread for the World Sunday.

The ceremony to recognize the recipients of The World Food Prize is also held in October.  And this year the laureates are Heifer Project founder Jo Luck and Bread for the World president David Beckmann.

For years, the global community has also observed World Food Day every October 16. The theme of the US World Food Day teleconference is Food Choices in a Global Context.  This fits perfectly with the global theme United Against Hunger, manifested through events sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) around the world.

And did I mention that October is Fair Trade Month?

I will do separate posts about World Food Day and Fair Trade month at a later date.  

Thirty Four Join in Interfaith Effort  
Which brings me to the subject of this post.  There is now a new option for communities of faith to put a high priority on issues related to hunger and poverty in our own country during October called Fighting Poverty with Faith

The campaign asks individuals, churches, and local councils alike to join together in the month of October 2010 to educate and to advocate around poverty in America. This commitment to take specific actions is similar to the one that Feeding America sponsored during September through Hunger Action Month.

Fighting Poverty with Faith is sponsored by a diverse coalition of national and local faith organizations dedicated to cutting domestic poverty in half by 2020. There are 34 organizations (scroll down for full list) who have joined in this effort, including Bread for the World and such diverse partners as Sojourners, the Rabbinical Assembly, Islamic Society of North America, Hindu America Seva Charities, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the National Council of Churches and dozens of others.

Here's what the participants pledge:
During the month of October, we will provide opportunities for local congregations, student organizations, faith-based service-providers, and other affiliates to engage in candidates’ forums, community relations building activities, public education programs, interfaith volunteer projects, and advocacy efforts on the issues of shared economic prosperity and reducing poverty.
By coordinating our messaging, holding joint events, and promoting partnerships among our respective faith groups, we hope to build the political and public will to reduce poverty.
The Fighting Poverty with Faith 2010 mobilization will focus on two key strategies:
  1. Protecting critical human needs programs during these challenging economic times; and
  2. Advocating for new policies that enable more families to find employment and move toward economic self-sufficiency.
Every day, faith organizations serve individuals in need within our communities. But our efforts to sustain our brothers and sisters living in poverty must be complemented with a serious plan of action from our political leaders to reduce the number of needy.
And here is a message to federal and state legislators as they make budget decisions:
Though we believe in responsible stewardship of our nation’s resources, we are also committed to ensuring that the burden of deficit reduction is not placed on the backs of the most vulnerable members of our society. 

In addition, we will work for the development of positive economic opportunities for the millions of people who are out of work, underemployed, or displaced from their job.

Watch for a campaign conference kickoff on Tuesday, October 5, with a press conference at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. 

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