Saturday, May 23, 2015

Interfaith Hunger Coalition Moving Forward in Albuquerque

The Interfaith Hunger Coalition has been working to build a forum where members of the faith community in New Mexico can find a space to come together to address hunger and poverty in our state.  A group of us met in the fall of 2013 to lay the groundwork for the coalition, and we launched our first event in February 2014 to solicit input from members of local faith communities on what issues and actions were important to them.

From that consultation at First Presbyterian Church, we came up with a mission statement and created three committees to work on advocacy, direct service and education/outreach. Each of those committees, along with the steering committee, has continued to move forward on some projects that reflect the suggestions and proposals from that initial meeting.
The Interfaith Hunger Coalition collaborates on addressing hunger issues in our communities through networking, education, public policy advocacy and direct service. Our goal is ensure that all New Mexican families have access to healthy and nutritious food.-    Mission Statement
The Education/Outreach Committee organized a second Hunger 101 event at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community. The Advocacy Committee, in the summer of 2014, hosted a series of conversations with candidates seeking election to the State House of Representatives (including incumbents) to discuss our vision and get their views on the best way to address hunger and poverty in our state. The Direct Service Committee, among other things, offers providers a space to network. The IHC includes several direct service partners: The Storehouse, Roadrunner Food Bank, Catholic Charities, the Rio Grande Food Project and the St. Vincent de Paul Ministry at Holy Family Church.. Three other organizations have also become direct partners in our efforts: The New Mexico Conference of  Churches and Turkish Rainbow House/Dialogue Institute of the Southwest  (education/outreach) and the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry (advocacy).

We are also networking with other groups addressing other aspects of our mission: Share New Mexico (outreach); the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (advocacy) ;Seed to Need and East Central Ministries (direct service). Some of these organizations have provided speakers for our general meetings. We have also connected with other interfaith groups in Albuquerque: the Ecumenical Commission of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light; the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice and The Interfaith Dialogue.

The Steering Committee is working on a number of projects to bring our efforts to the next level, including the development of a website and the recruitment of other faith communities to join our efforts. We are  grateful to Terry Richey for donating his graphic design skills to create our logo. We are in the process of obtaining formal endorsements from congregations, organizations and agencies, which we will publish on the website. We have applied for a grant to help build the website. For now, our presence on the web is via a Facebook page.

The individuals who have helped build our coalition come from a number of congregations in the Albuquerque metro area: Albuquerque Mennonite Church, All Saints Lutheran Church, Central United Methodist Church, Congregation Albert, Community of Hope, First Presbyterian Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, and St. John XXIII Catholic Community.

The local church bodies and congregations that support our mission are the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Congregation B'nai Israel and La Mesa Presbyterian Church. We are working to expand connections with other Christian and Jewish congregations as well as the Muslim community in Albuquerque. We hope to expand our efforts statewide, but for now we are focusing on Albuquerque. If your congregation, faith community or organization wants to be part our coalition, please drop a note to or

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