Friday, October 07, 2011

Bread for the World Indianapolis – The Early Days

Larry and Donna Lindley, CROP Walk 1980
By Larry Lindley

I joined Bread for the World in the late 1970s, but felt the need to connect with others in my home town of Indianapolis with an interest in the welfare of hungry people. I contacted the Bread national staff and they sent me a mailing list of Indiana members and even printed for me mailing labels for those from the Indianapolis area.
I got together with the pastor of the Linwood Christian Church and organized the first local group meeting in the city. I sent out invitations in the summer of 1980, hoping that some would respond. The meeting was held at the Linwood Christian Church on the east side of the city and turned out quite successful, with about 30 people attending. We all sat in a circle as Rep. Andy Jacobs spoke to the group about the importance of advocacy for hungry people. After the meeting, a steering committee was formed consisting of myself, Eileen Paige, and Elaine Davies. The Indianapolis group has been meeting ever since at various locations around the city.

Eileen Page & others at Monument Circle
One of the first activities of the steering committee was to organize and lead a number of city wide seminars on the Presidential Commission on World Hunger Report.

In the fall of that year we participated in the first Indianapolis CROP walk by carrying a large banner that we had made. In taking turns carrying this banner for the 10 miles of the walk, we were able to make contact with several people interested in hunger advocacy, including a Bread member who had just moved into the city, David Miner.

Also in the fall of 1980, we organized the first Bread for the World Congressional Forum, where we brought together congressional candidates from Central Indiana districts to discuss their positions on world hunger and poverty. We had candidates from three different districts attend and received TV coverage on the evening news. It was to be the first of eight consecutive biennial events.

(The author is a Bread for the World activist in Indianapolis)

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