ELCA World Hungerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/ELCA Pastor Tackles Minimum WageRyan P. Cumminghttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/639http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/639<div class="ExternalClassF3ED9456F27849C58C865C479771C4CA"><p>​It is no secret that many workers in the fast food industry are not paid enough to support themselves and their families.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2013/fast_food_poverty_wages.pdf">A recent report found that 52% of front-line fast-food workers receive some form of public assistance</a>, nearly twice the proportion of all workers who receive public assistance.<img alt="quote.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/quote.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /></p><p>It is also no secret that the pulpit often has been a platform for prophetic voices, from John Chrysostom decrying excessive wealth in the Fourth Century to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., indicting segregation with the Word of God in the Twentieth Century.&#160; This year, Rev. Annie Edison-Albright of Redeemer Luther Church (ELCA) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, brought her voice and faith to bear on the plight of workers struggling for a living wage.&#160; Her prophetic sermon was <a href="http&#58;//www.beatitudessociety.org/news/64-meet_our_2014_brave_preacher">recognized by The Beatitudes Society, which awarded Rev. Edison-Albright its 2014 J. Philip Swander Brave Preacher Award</a>!</p><p>Her poignant words call us to see our neighbors differently and to strive for justice in accordance with our baptismal vocation.&#160; You can read the full sermon <a href="http&#58;//origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1114973702272-96/Edison-AlbrightBravePreacherSermon.pdf">here</a>, but below are some selections.</p><p>Rev. Edison-Albright reminds us what is at stake when workers are mistreated or ridiculed for their efforts&#58;</p><blockquote dir="ltr"><h3>&quot;What it comes down to is this&#58; the person you degrade, and dehumanize, and call names ... that person is Jesus.&#160; That person working at McDonald's is Jesus.&#160; And she's Jesus regardless of how smart she is, or what life choices she's made. The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. The person you reject is the cornerstone&#58; an essential, important, beloved child of God.&quot;</h3></blockquote><p>She declares to people of faith that our hope is well-founded and calls us to carry that hope into the world&#58;</p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right&#58;0px;"><h3>&quot;When it comes to big issues like poverty, it’s easy to get cynical, to get angry and judgmental, to be apathetic and try to ignore it, to get overwhelmed and feel like there’s nothing we can do. But if Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead, then anything is possible. And we truly are empowered to be God’s hands and feet and voices in the world.&quot;</h3></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Powerful words from a powerful preacher.&#160; Congratulations, Rev. Edison-Albright, and thank you!</p><p dir="ltr">Follow these links&#160;to learn more about the ELCA's commitment to a living wage&#58;</p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right&#58;0px;"><p dir="ltr">Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Letter to the US Senate (April 2014)&#58; <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Federal_Minimum_Wage_Letter_To_US_Senate.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Federal_Minimum_Wage_Letter_To_US_Senate.pdf</a></p><p dir="ltr">Fact Sheet on Raising the Minimum Wage&#58; <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Raising_the_Federal_Minimum_Wage.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Raising_the_Federal_Minimum_Wage.pdf</a></p><p dir="ltr">Hunger, Poverty and the Minimum Wage (ELCA World Hunger blog post)&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/624">http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/624</a></p><p dir="ltr">Social Statement on Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All (1999)&#58; <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Economic_LifeSS.pdf">http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Economic_LifeSS.pdf</a></p></blockquote></div>11/21/2014Playing the "Hunger Game" in the United States: When the odds are NOT in your favorGina Tonnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/640http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/640<div class="ExternalClass5EAC49F3F9364349815753DF54B20221"><p>​This weekend the &quot;beginning of the end&quot; of one of the most popular book and blockbuster film series of the decade hits the big screen. <em>The Hunger Games&#58; Mockingjay Part 1</em> will no doubt lure fans of Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopian trilogy to movie theaters in droves across the country. People of all ages will be on the edge of their seats to see whether Katniss will prevail in the fight against the Capitol, how the love-story will unfold and, of course, whether or not the movie is true enough to the book to appease the most loyal fans. </p><p>While I must admit that I have read all three <em>Hunger Games </em>books, and did so in perhaps what was near-record time, my interest this week in anticipation of the movie release lies more along the lines of the connections we can draw between the perils of Panem – the fictitious setting of the novels - and the culture of food, class and justice in the United States. A quick Google search of &quot;The Hunger Games + real life&quot; reveals everything from conspiracy theories to blog rants about how the United States of America IS the Capitol. Although I don't take quite the extreme view, I do find several specific connections compelling&#58; </p><p><strong>1</strong><strong>)</strong> the rising role of food as a marker of social class in the U.S., and <strong>2)</strong> the outrageous excess and waste of our consumption we too often fail to recognize. </p><p>From the outset of the series, a vast food gap is depicted between the Capitol and the various districts of Panem. Vignettes of extreme gluttony and extravagance – Capitol residents are able to take a pill to make themselves throw-up some of their food in order to continue indulging in elaborate meals – are contrasted with desperation, as Katniss revels in the acquisition of a single burned loaf of bread. The food gap in the United States may not look the same as that portrayed in the <em>Hunger Games</em>, yet food is nonetheless becoming an increasingly prominent marker of social class.&#160;In the United States&#160;the food&#160;gap reveals itself more in the type of food consumed. The well-off continually seek out healthier, fancier, more ethically produced foods. Those struggling financially often have little access to choices other than the empty calories of inexpensive, processed foods. In September of this year, the Harvard School of Public Health released a study in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine</em><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[1]</span></a> tracking the eating habits of just under 30,000 Americans between 1999 and 2010. The study revealed that over the last decade <strong>&quot;diet quality has improved among people of high socioeconomic status but deteriorated among those at the other end of the spectrum.&quot;</strong><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[2]</span></a> </p><p>The paradox of this situation is that the push to improve overall health of Americans – from easing the obesity epidemic to lowering health care costs and incidence of diet-related diseases – seems to be a ubiquitous value. Yet, what is considered &quot;healthy&quot; is often only accessible to a relatively small portion of us. Healthy lifestyles are not solely determined by the foods we eat, but also by the ways we use our bodies, the air we breathe, the water we drink. Families and individuals who struggle to feed themselves healthy food because of financial limitations are unlikely to have the time or energy to exercise regularly.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[3]</span></a> All of these problems compound rising healthcare costs, which can be an added burden, especially for families with children. Furthermore, the widening food gap promises to have cyclical consequences; as people fail to afford healthy food, their health is susceptible to deterioration, which can then intensify and deepen income inequality, and so on.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[4]</span></a> It just goes to show, when you don't play fair, nobody wins – especially in the real life &quot;hunger game.&quot; </p><p>Food's role as a marker of class has been recognized and discussed for some time, as <em>The Washington Post</em> notes in their article about the 2014 Harvard study.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[5]</span></a> (See <a href="http&#58;//www.newsweek.com/what-food-says-about-class-america-69951"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">this piece</span></a> in Newsweek from 2010). <strong>So if the problem has been known for the last half a decade or more, why has the gap just kept on growing?</strong> It would be nice if the food gap could simply be closed by single solutions, like taxing junk food at increasingly greater rates or building a Whole Foods in every low-income neighborhood.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[6]</span></a> But the reality is that, like most things, this problem is multi-faceted. </p><p>What we eat is an incredibly personal part of our lives, and whether we recognize it or not each of us has a relationship with food. Research reported on by Policy Link and The Food Trust &quot;reveals that healthy eating is embedded in a complex set of relationships…[including] transportation options, quality and price of produce and other healthy food options, marketing of unhealthy food to children, and cultural appropriateness of neighborhood food choices.&quot;<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[7]</span></a> The food gap is stretched by income inequality, education inequality, food access inequality and limited choice, differences in taste and tradition, and the fact that often times it seems like what is considered &quot;healthy&quot; just plain old keeps changing faster than most people can keep up with! While this cacophony of policy problems is inevitably frustrating, I like the takeaway of a response to the <em>Hunger Games' </em>themes of food and power written a few years ago. The author says&#58; <strong>&quot;Those of us with so much, we need to share.&quot;</strong><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[8]</span></a> </p><p>And the thing is, we DO have plenty to share here in the United States. A report from the USDA released in February 2014 suggests that <strong>we waste approximately 1,249 calories of food per person, per day in the United States</strong>.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[9]</span></a> Much of this food waste is fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods that &quot;spoil&quot; or are discarded due to irregular appearance. I find this startling. Perhaps the American food scene is more akin to that in the Capitol than I first suggested. The enormity of our waste is captured eloquently by National Geographic&#58; &quot;More than 30 percent of our food [in the United States], valued at $162 billion annually, isn't eaten. <strong>Pile all that food on a football field and the layers would form a putrefying casserole miles high</strong>.&quot;<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[10]</span></a> So maybe that isn't so much eloquent as it is disturbing. The good news is that reducing food waste, along with encouraging healthy eating, is a trend people are tackling more and more (football pun intended). Globally, new storage methods are being introduced. Here in the US businesses are innovating to cut down on waste. Farmers and producers are innovating to lessen food loss.<a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[11]</span></a> </p><p>There is no doubt a long way to go in righting food distribution injustices of waste and inaccessibility. In all we do to eradicate food loss, we should always keep an eye to how we can help those who don't have enough food or enough <em>good </em>food, have more on their table. We should remember just how much abundance there really is in the world, and that there is always something – <strong>resources, knowledge, compassion </strong>– to share.</p><p>&#160;(<em>The Hunger Games&#58; Mockingjay Part 1 </em>isn't your only option for a food-centric movie-going experience this weekend.<em> Food Chains, </em>a documentary about a grassroots movement for farm workers' rights, will be released nationwide on November 21<sup>st</sup>. More information about the film and the movement at <a href="http&#58;//www.foodchainsfilm.com/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.foodchainsfilm.com</span></a>.)</p><p><em></em>&#160;</p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[1]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/u-s-diet-shows-modest-improvement-but-overall-remains-poor/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/u-s-diet-shows-modest-improvement-but-overall-remains-poor/</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[2]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/access-to-real-food-as-privilege/379482/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/access-to-real-food-as-privilege/379482/</span></a> This article also notes the study's conclusion that diets in the US have improved overall when socioeconomic status is not accounted for, but one of the researchers notes that &quot;the growing gap between the rich and poor [is] 'disturbing.'… There can by no tenable 'overall improvement' when there is growing disparity around a point so critical to preventative medicine, or when there is deterioration among any such sizable marginalized population.&quot;&#160; </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[3]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//thinkprogress.org/health/2014/08/22/3474767/poor-people-use-diet-supplements-more/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//thinkprogress.org/health/2014/08/22/3474767/poor-people-use-diet-supplements-more/</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[4]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//www.cbsnews.com/news/rich-poor-dietary-gap-widening-in-u-s/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.cbsnews.com/news/rich-poor-dietary-gap-widening-in-u-s/</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[5]</span></a> http&#58;//www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/02/americas-growing-food-inequality-problem/</p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[6]</span></a> Whether or not introducing health foods stores in low-income areas improves diet is debated. <a href="http&#58;//www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=42342"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=42342</span></a> This study actually takes an analytical look at the impact of health foods stores in gentrifying neighborhoods and reveals that this would actually probably not work at all. Other research suggests there are myriad benefits to their introduction from diet quality to economic boon. Policy Link and The Food Trust state, &quot;Living closer to healthy food retail is among the factors associated with better eating habits and decreased risk for obesity and diet-related diseases.&quot; <a href="http&#58;//thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/executive-summary-access-to-healthy-food-and-why-it-matters.original.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/executive-summary-access-to-healthy-food-and-why-it-matters.original.pdf</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[7]</span></a> Ibid.&#160; </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[8]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//www.agriview.com/news/regional/the-real-world-hunger-games-not-so-far-fetched/article_4a6bc506-a537-11e1-9244-0019bb2963f4.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.agriview.com/news/regional/the-real-world-hunger-games-not-so-far-fetched/article_4a6bc506-a537-11e1-9244-0019bb2963f4.html</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[9]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/27/283071610/u-s-lets-141-trillion-calories-of-food-go-to-waste-each-year"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/27/283071610/u-s-lets-141-trillion-calories-of-food-go-to-waste-each-year</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[10]</span></a> <a href="http&#58;//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141013-food-waste-national-security-environment-science-ngfood/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">http&#58;//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141013-food-waste-national-security-environment-science-ngfood/</span></a> </p><p><a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">[11]</span></a> Ibid. </p><p>_______________________________________</p><p><em>Gina Tonn is a Program Assistant with ELCA World Hunger through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. While an avid reader, she rarely makes an effort to see the latest films. &quot;I just can't sit still that long!&quot; she says, when pressed about the fact that it took her approximately a month to watch &quot;The Lord of the Rings&#58; The Fellowship of the Ring.&quot; She is still working up the wherewithal to start &quot;The Two Towers.&quot; </em></p></div>11/21/2014Welcome to the team, Kelly Winters!Kelly Wintershttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/638http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/638<div class="ExternalClass80FCF6FA085D434AB41BD44EFBB10192"><p>​November 18, 2014</p><p>My name is Kelly Winters, and I am excited to join the ELCA World Hunger team as the Assistant for Constituent Engagement! My role involves responding to inquiries and communication from our wonderful constituents, and I look forward to talking with many of you about how your congregation can learn more about ELCA World Hunger.&#160; I am also eager to hear about your ideas on how to raise awareness around hunger and poverty.</p><p>I come to ELCA World Hunger from Grace Lutheran Church of La Grange, Illinois, where I served as the Administrative Assistant.&#160; Before moving to the greater Chicago area in 2010 I worked around the country in Outdoor Ministry.&#160; Camping has always been a huge part of my life and spiritual growth, and continues to be important to me as I currently serve on the board of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL.</p><p>Originally, I am from Ohio where I lived near Lake Erie, enjoying summers hanging out at Lakeside or Cedar Point.&#160; I went to college at Capital University in Columbus, OH, and received my degree in Communications.&#160; It has been many years since I lived in Ohio, but I still think of myself as a Buckeye at heart.</p><p>Now I am happy to continue to work for the ELCA; where we value always being made new, while staying rooted in our rich history.&#160; ELCA World Hunger is an amazing mission of our church in the way it takes a comprehensive approach to the topics of hunger and poverty, and partners with Lutheran connections around the world, in order to assist communities where they need it most.&#160; I am just grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of a team that is so passionate about the work they are doing!<img alt="Kelly.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/Kelly.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /></p><p>Some fun facts about me&#58;</p><ul><li>My hobbies are quilting, glass art (making stained glass, kaleidoscopes and glass beads) and anything outdoors (hiking, kayaking, etc).</li><li>I love listening to folk &amp; bluegrass music, and frequently go to concerts at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I am also learning how to play the upright bass - bluegrass style.</li><li>Though I haven't done much international travel, I have been to Australia three times.&#160; I just love it so much I keep getting pulled back!</li></ul><p>&#160;</p><p><em>Kelly Winters is the Assistant for Constituent Engagement with ELCA World Hunger. You can hear her friendly&#160;voice on the ELCA World Hunger telephone line. </em></p></div>11/18/2014Homelessness: A "Both, And" IssueGina Tonnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/637http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/637<div class="ExternalClass776EC68FBA2D4504A5067C2489A5364F"><p>​November 17, 2014</p><p>This week is national &quot;<a href="http&#58;//nationalhomeless.org/about-us/projects/awareness-week/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week</span></a>.&quot;&#160; The recent arrests of several activists in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, over public outdoor meals served to people experiencing homelessness has brought homelessness to the fore of media coverage in recent weeks. &#160;This year, Fort Lauderdale passed a series of restrictions aimed at moving feeding sites indoors.&#160; These include requirements that all feeding sites have toilet facilities and that any feeding sites be located at least 500 feet away from each other.&#160; These new regulations were passed in response to residents' complaints about crowds of homeless people in public parks.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/us/florida-finds-tricky-balance-over-feeding-of-the-homeless.html?_r=0"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">The Fort Lauderdale's Women's Club was a particularly vocal supporter of the restrictions, telling Mayor Jack Seiler that the use of one park as a site for feeding people in need made it problematic for them to hold weddings and yoga classes.</span></a> </p><p>Fort Lauderdale is not alone in criminalizing the public provision of food to people facing hunger.&#160; In the spirit of raising &quot;awareness&quot; during &quot;Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week,&quot; I want to share with you some information about where restrictions on serving meals have been implemented and what the restrictions are.</p><p>The passage of laws making it more difficult, or even impossible, to serve public meals to people was first brought to my attention when my colleague shared this <a href="http&#58;//www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/10/22/357846415/more-cities-are-making-it-illegal-to-hand-out-food-to-the-homeless"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">article from National Public R</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">adio</span> with me. My interest was further piqued and motivation to put together this blog post heightened when, a few days later, the sidebar of my Facebook timeline informed me that the <a href="http&#58;//www.local10.com/news/police-charge-90yearold-man-2-pastors-with-feeding-the-homeless/29510268"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">arrests in Fort Lauderdale</span></a> were &quot;trending.&quot;</p><p>A report cited in the NPR article mentioned above, compiled by the <a href="http&#58;//nationalhomeless.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">National Coalition for the Homeless</span></a> and just released in October called <a href="http&#58;//nationalhomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Food-Sharing2014.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">&quot;Share No More&#58; The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People in Need&quot;</span></a> provides an overview of laws enacted&#160; during 2013-2014 throughout the United States. These laws are categorized in several ways&#58; restrictions on public property use, food safety regulations and community actions to relocate food-sharing events. The report also notes cities that repealed laws of these sorts during the last year, and places that attempted to pass laws but failed. I invite you to read the report for yourself in order to gain a full understanding of the regulations at hand and investigate whether your community imposed or repealed any restrictions.</p><p>Looking ahead, homelessness promises to be an issue that continues to demand the attention of federal, state and local governments, as well as non-profit and social ministry organizations. Just last week, <a href="http&#58;//cmtysolutions.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Community Solutions</span></a>, a national organization whose tagline indicates their mission toward &quot;strengthening communities&quot; and &quot;ending homelessness&quot; <a href="http&#58;//cmtysolutions.org/press/community-solutions-announces-selection-67-communities-participate-zero-2016"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">announced a new campaign</span></a> to end veteran and chronic homelessness in the next two years. The campaign, called &quot;Zero&#58; 2016&quot; will launch in January 2015 in 67 communities across the country. Many of these communities, listed in the press release, overlap with the communities imposing restrictions on meal programs. The &quot;Zero&#58; 2016&quot; campaign is an attempt to accelerate housing efforts, connect people experiencing homelessness with available housing options and create public accountability around the issue of chronic homelessness. </p><p>ELCA World Hunger is a comprehensive approach to recognizing and fighting the root causes of poverty and hunger in our communities near and far. One takeaway from my time with the ELCA World Hunger team so far is that we are each a piece of a puzzle and all of the pieces are needed in order to make a dent in hunger and poverty. Yes, we need to change societal structure to eliminate homelessness through more accessible<em> </em>job programs, education and supportive housing, and more robust welfare programs. This is, in fact, the stated goal of many laws against feeding people who are homeless.&#160; Meals, some argue, create dependency and do little to help people gain access to long-term financial independence.&#160; </p><p>But we also need to support people who are suffering now. I believe we are called to be advocates of <em>both </em>serving meals to those who are hungry <em>and </em>finding ways to prevent hunger and homelessness moving forward. People who are hungry have a need for food, yet laws such as these are also borne out of need, such as residents' safety. What does it say about who is part of a community when some neighbors are treated as threats to safety or decorum? How are we called to balance different needs within a community?</p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>Gina Tonn is a Program Assistant for ELCA World Hunger through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. </em></p><p>&#160;</p><p>&#160;</p></div>11/17/2014AGAPE* campaign supports ELCA World HungerGina Tonnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/636http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/636<div class="ExternalClassE621C1660A8C47018460CCB083483879"><p style="text-align&#58;left;">​<img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/Agape%20dave.JPG" alt="Agape dave.JPG" style="margin&#58;0px 5px;vertical-align&#58;text-bottom;width&#58;253px;" /></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">We all know music feeds the soul, but music can also help feed the hungry. Last year, musician and songwriter ​</span><a href="http&#58;//jonathanrundman.com/" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Jonathan Rundman</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> donated a portion of the proceeds from his PledgeMusic campaign to ELCA World Hunger.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This year, Christian rap and hip hop artist AGAPE* (aka Dave Scherer) is also pledging 10% of proceeds from pre-orders of his new album to ELCA World Hunger.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Visit </span><a href="http&#58;//www.pledgemusic.com/projects/agapedave" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">AGAPE* on PledgeMusic</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> to watch a video about the album, get some great new music and support the work of ELCA World Hunger!</span></p><p>AGAPE* went on the road with fellow artists <a href="http&#58;//rachelkurtz.org/">Rachel Kurtz</a> and <a href="http&#58;//www.speedwood.com/">Lost And Found</a> for the &quot;100 Wells Tour&quot; following the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering. He talks about his commitment to raising awareness about water access issues as well as his support for ELCA World Hunger in a <a href="http&#58;//www.hiphopoutreach.com/#/blog">blog post</a> featured on his website. He says, <strong>&quot;The reason I chose ELCA World Hunger is because they don't solve problems for communities, they allow the community to come up with their own solution to this crisis.&quot;</strong> As excitement builds toward the next <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/youthgathering">ELCA Youth Gathering</a> this summer, ELCA World Hunger continues to be committed to partnering with communities around the world to solve issues of water access through your gifts and participation during ELCA World Hunger's <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/YouthGathering/GatheringDetails/GivingOpportunities">Walk for Water</a>. &#160;</p><p>AGAPE* brings the word of God to his listeners through relational ministry called &quot;Hip Hop Outreach.&quot; His work doesn't stop with the music. In addition to performing on stages across the US and in eight different countries, AGAPE* is co-founder of JUMP (Joint Urban Ministries in Praise), a program for urban youth. He's also the founder of AMP (All Metro Praise), a youth-led worship service in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. To learn more about the music and mission of AGAPE*, visit <a href="http&#58;//www.hiphopoutreach.com/">www.hiphopoutreach.com</a>.&#160;​​​</p><p><br></p></div>11/13/2014Gloria Dei Lutheran Church supports ELCA Good Gifts with "Backpack Buddies"Gina Tonnhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/635http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/635<div class="ExternalClass4E62738017044B68965717B3977580BA"><p>​<em>Special thanks to Kris Schultz of Gloria Dei for sharing the story of Backpack Buddies. </em></p><p>Over the summer <a href="http&#58;//www.gloriadeichurch.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Gloria Dei Lutheran Church</span></a>&#160;posed a simple yet exciting challenge to its congregation&#58; <strong>Read Books, Help Children.</strong></p><p>The Downers Grove, Illinois, congregation holds a Summer Reading Program to encourage members, particularly children, to continue to visit the <a href="http&#58;//www.gloriadeichurch.org/Library.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Memorial Library at Gloria Dei</span></a>&#160;over the summer months. The Memorial Library is dedicated to providing resources for spiritual growth and to enriching the work of the congregation. This summer, however, the Summer Reading Program took on a new dimension with the addition of an ELCA Good Gifts matching challenge. Gloria Dei's Library Committee and Mission and Justice Committee partnered to envision &quot;Backpack Buddies.&quot; Through the Backpack Buddies challenge, each participant in the Summer Reading Program was asked to set a reading goal of a certain number of books from the library, and adults were asked to sponsor them by pledging to give one dollar per book read. The money raised would go toward the ELCA Good Gifts program to provide schools supplies for children in need&#58;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Ten Books = Ten Bucks = School Supplies for One Student</strong></p><p>35 children, who ranged in ages from 3 to 12 years, enthusiastically made their pledges at the start of the summer, and 32 sponsors signed up, some sponsoring multiple readers. </p><p>Each Sunday that summer, the Memorial Library was busy with families returning books and checking out new ones. Each challenge participant had a reading progress chart to keep track of the books they read. The charts were hung up in the church's gathering area for the whole congregation to see and celebrate. <img alt="backpack buddies.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/Browse/backpack%20buddies.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;252px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /></p><p>By the time Sunday School began in September, <strong style="font-size&#58;16px;">185</strong><span style="font-size&#58;16px;"> </span>books had been read through the Backpack Buddies challenge. The Mission and Justice Committee collected <strong style="font-size&#58;16px;">$430</strong> – well beyond the $1 per book promised! </p><p>The Backpack Buddies challenge was a success. The Memorial Library met its goal of increasing use over the summer, new connections between adults and children in the congregation were established, and 43 children will benefit from the donations for school supplies through ELCA Good Gifts. </p><p><strong>Thank you to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church for sharing their story of a creative way to encourage summer reading and avidly support the educational efforts of ELCA World Hunger to help combat poverty around the world! </strong></p><p>Interested in donating $10 for school supplies for a child? Click <a href="https&#58;//community.elca.org/GoodGifts-Women-Children?&amp;nccsm=21&amp;__nccspID=1089"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a> to visit the Good Gifts Catalog!</p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>Gina Tonn is a Program Assistant for ELCA World Hunger through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. </em></p></div>11/05/2014