ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 21, 2012
ELCA members strive to reduce hunger in the United States
CHICAGO (ELCA) - Every week it's a shot in the dark for how much food Harry and Eunice Burch will need to prepare. But one thing both Harry and Eunice agree on is that it will be a while before they prepare beef stew again. Harry stood and cut beef for four hours one evening and has the blisters to show for it.
The Burch's organize Trinity's Table, a community outreach ministry of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Charleston, W.Va. Over the past two years, members of the congregation like Harry and Eunice have served more than 17,000 balanced, nutritious meals for people who come Sunday evenings for supper.
Thanks to grants from ELCA World Hunger, programs like these are made possible.
Harry said the congregation is positioned to provide 12,000 meals in 2012 for people who do not have access to food.
"This truly speaks to the number of people in need out there," said Harry. "I can only hope and pray that we never serve this many meals again," he said.
Gifts to ELCA World Hunger not only reach communities most in need overseas but also in the United States. A significant portion of ELCA World Hunger funds are allocated to fight hunger and poverty here through domestic hunger grants.
Distributed annually, these grants support hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and community programs that address hunger and its causes.
Many of these ministries are organized by ELCA congregations and Lutheran organizations. Priority is given to people with the least resources for meeting basic human needs and to women and children living in poverty.
Congregations and organizations applying for an ELCA World Hunger grant must have projects that fall into one of four categories - advocacy, development, organizing and relief. A committee reviews applications and makes recommendations for funding in connection with the ELCA's 65 synods.
According to Joe Young, who directs community development services for ELCA churchwide ministries, relief grants account for two-thirds of domestic hunger grants awarded. Grants totaling $612,500 were allocated to 296 projects that provide people with immediate access to food, shelter, clothing and more, and the means to sustain these efforts.
Development grants totaling $109,400 were distributed to 45 programs that provide increased access to food and livelihoods through sustainable agriculture, housing and more.
Community organizing grants amounting to $100,250 were awarded to 34 projects that bring together people with shared concerns of empowering all people, affirm their dignity and gain access to resources and more.
Advocacy grants totaling $44,400 were allocated to 13 programs designed to overcome the effects and root causes of hunger and poverty through administrative, legislative and judicial actions in the public sphere and more.
A total disbursement of $866,550 was made for 2012 to support ELCA anti-hunger ministries.
More than 90 cents of each dollar raised through ELCA World Hunger directly supports programmatic work, and less than a dime is used for hunger program administration and fundraising.
When Trinity's Table began a couple of years ago, Harry said he never dreamed that the congregation would serve so many meals. But Harry and Eunice, along with members of Trinity, are "exceptionally proud" of the community created at Trinity's Table and support from ELCA World Hunger.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 4.2 million members in 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com