Staying Close to Home for Hunger

I heard a beautiful sermon last night by Reverend Susan Copely of Christ Church in Tarrytown, NY. It was an interfaith service for all the congregations of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, the home of my congregation, Temple Beth Abraham. Reverand Copely was following up on the theme of hunger that we began two weeks ago when we were honored to host Ruth Messinger, Preisdent of American Jewish World Service, for a weekend service. Ruth gave an inspiring talk of the current broken system of food distribution that leaves people in war-torn and drought-stricken countries starving to death, in a world that has enough food to feed every single person. The distribution system is broken, she said,  and AJWS has geared up with a terrific advocacy campaign to change the Farm Bill, up for renewal this year. The goal is to have the US respond the way every other country does to food crises by sending money and technical assistance, not surplus food that either rots or undercuts local sellers. You can sign the petition to support AJWS’ efforts on their home page, I have.

Reverend Copely attended Ruth’s talk and built on it. There are one billion hungry people worldwide. She said if every hungry person in America alone was lined up starting in New York, the line would reach to Los Angeles — and back. . But, what affected me most was what she said next. There are about 15,000 people and according to the latest Census figures, about 5% of them live below the poverty line, that’s 750 people. I don’t know how much I can affect the one billion worldwide, but I know I can do something to help the 750 living right here. Reverend also added a challenge for herself during her sermon that made me think about the possibilities that social media provide to change the dynamics of social change efforts. She said she wanted to get out of the habit of thinking about her church as the giver and hungry people as the receivers – of food, of comfort, of community. Rather, she wants to thinking of everyone as giving and receiving So, I’m dedicating myself to supporting our local food pantry to ensure that no one here goes hungry for one day.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, filling and fulfilling Thanksgiving.

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Allison Fine

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