Our parish is a member of Bread for the World, a national Christian advocacy movement working to end hunger, both here in the US and around the world.  This story was written by Roger Thurow, an author and a senior fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, who adapted it from his book,"The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World." Photo: Anne ThurowEach year Bread for the World focuses on particular issues related to hunger and urges public officials--primarily members of Congress-- to take appropriate action. St Francis and many other churches around our nation--including several in Holland--join this effort by conducting an annual Offering of Letters (letter-writing campaign). At St. Francis we'll conduct our 2019 Offering of Letters on March 23/24.

The theme of the 2019 Offering of Letters is Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow, reflecting the profound long-term benefits of helping mothers and their young children gain access to proper nutrition.

Thanks to recent progress on targeting food aid for maximum impact, Rodgers, a small child in Uganda, is on his way to growing up healthy and strong. We now know that providing proper nutrition to children during the first 1,000 days of life (pregnancy through age 2) can make the difference between a lifetime of poor health and a lifetime of vigor.   Such nutritional improvements have far reaching effects for entire societies, since healthier individuals are more productive and have healthier families.

Success stories like that of Rodgers help us to realize that hunger is not inevitable; it exists because we allow it. Moreover, although the world has made great strides toward reducing hunger over the last few decades, recent years have seen increases in hunger, due to war and other disasters. This reversal in our overall progress can and must be corrected. That is why this year’s Offering of Letters is asking members of Congress to take the following actions.

  • Scale up cost-effective, proven programs such as investing in nutrition for pregnant mothers and their young children.
  • Protect and increase funding for global nutrition.

During this season of Lent, we are called to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—all practices that can move us toward greater solidarity with hungry people.  The CRS Rice Bowl, the annual CRS collection, Kids’ Food Basket, and the St. Vincent Center provide opportunities to help alleviate hunger.  However, we must also address the causes of hunger.  Sending letters to Congress is one step toward fulfilling this second responsibility.

Last year, we collected just over 200 letters for Senator Stabenow, for Senator Peters, and for Representatives Huizenga and Upton combined (total 627 letters). Together with other area churches  we generated nearly 90 letters to Rep. Upton and nearly 500 letters to Rep. Huizenga.

The letters for our  2019 Offering at St. Francis are shown below. 

Letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow

Letter to Senator Gary Peters

Letter to Represenative Bill Huizenga (District 02, which includes all of Ottawa County and a small portion of Allegan County)

Letter to Representative Fred Upton (District 06, which includes most of Allegan County)

You can learn more about Bread for the World and the Holland Bread Team by viewing their websites, bread.org and hollandbreadteam.org, respectively.  Also, the facebook pages, facebook.com/breadfortheworld and facebook.com/hollandbreadteam, provide updates and allow you to post your own news and commentary.