Feb. 11, 2021
Minnesota March FoodShare Campaign
At a meeting the other day, the person leading our opening devotions asked each of us to identify and tell the others our “life” verse in the Bible. Which verse are we grounded in? Of all of the great scripture passages, which one captures your heart, soul and life’s meaning? It is a good question to ask, share and explain. I invite you to do it with others some time. You can learn much about a person by doing so. The answers were varied, as you might expect. Favorites came from each testament, some were words of Jesus, the prophets, or the Apostle Paul, and the Psalms were popular.
I went straight to Matthew 25:35-40, specifically the first and last verse: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat,” and “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” For me, loving Jesus and feeding the hungry have always been inseparably linked.
And I know there are many others in Minnesota United Methodism who feel the same way. In almost every church I’ve been in, there is a place where items are brought for the local food shelf, an offering is regularly received for one, or folks are volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels. In non-COVID times, youth groups gather to make meal packets or volunteers serve meals at shelters. It’s in our nature and an important part of our identity.
So is Minnesota FoodShare.
Started in 1982 by United Methodist churches and other congregations in order to restock food shelves in the seven-county Twin Cities area, MN FoodShare envisioned a Minnesota where all residents would have access to healthy food and no one would struggle with food insecurity. The effort was so successful and the need so evident, the March Campaign became a statewide program just one year later. Now the largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state, it brings together various community organizations, businesses and faith communities to help stock over 300 food shelves start-wide, raising over $8 million dollars and receiving 4.7 million pounds of food annually.
We can be part of this effort by collecting food or making a donation. As we help serve the hungry in our midst, we are also serving Jesus.
Read all About It
The Bible has dozens of verses about hunger and food insecurity. Here’s a few: Deut. 15:11, Proverbs 19:17 and 25:21, Isaiah 58:6-8, Matthew 14:15-21 and 25:31-40, Romans 12:20, James 2:15-17.
Check out Feeding America to learn about hunger in our state. Read about international hunger issues at the United Nations World Food Program. Get together with friends and others virtually to discuss what you learn.
Bread for the World
Bread for the World (BFW) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad by changing policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to exist. It partners with many faith-based organizations, including the United Methodist Church (Advance #982325). BFW is global and local. I’ve belonged to them for fifteen years. It is a great source of factual information, educational resources, faith-based conversation starters, and advocacy.
Among their current articles and postings are:
Originally called The Sheridan Story, for ten years Every Meal has aimed to make a direct impact on child hunger in Minnesota. Realizing more than 200,000 children in our state live with food insecurity, they work to fight hunger in urban, suburban, and rural communities by filing the gaps to food access that they face during weekend, summer, and extended breaks. Working in connection with 265 schools in 33 districts, volunteers pack and distribute food bags full of four to five pounds of nutritious, non-perishable food on a regular basis. This is yet another great way to make a school-church partnership!
“Jesus said … You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16)
In Ministry Together,
Director of Community Development
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church