This week, I am attending Together at the Table: Hunger & Poverty Summit, a three-day day event at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, focusing on the growing problem of hunger in America — or more specifically, food insecurity. In its sixth year, this summit has brought together leading anti-hunger advocates from across the country for conversation and sharing knowledge about how to end hunger.
The convener of this great gathering is the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) of the Baylor School of Social Work — an initiative that was originally dreamed up by CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter six years ago. In 2009, while leading the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Suzii partnered with the Baylor School of Social Work to launch THI, with Jeremy Everett as its director, to end hunger in the state of Texas through public policy, education, organizing and community development. Since its birthing just a handful of years ago, THI has achieved much success and is looked to by elected officials, government leaders and the nonprofit sector as offering a best-practices model thoroughly grounded in evidence-based research. You can learn more about the work of THI here.
Bob Aiken, who serves as CEO of Feeding America — the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, kicked off the conference Wednesday with a big picture overview on food insecurity in the United States. The Feeding America network, which includes more than 200 food banks and 61,000 food pantries and meals programs, provides more than 3.4 billion meals to more than 46 million people year in and year out.
That’s 1-in-7 Americans who turn to the Feeding America for food assistance. 5.4 million individuals are served by the network each week.
During the Wednesday session, Aiken spoke about Feeding America’s latest study titled Hunger in America, touted as the most comprehensive study to date done on charitable food distribution in the U.S. The study found that 1-in-5 households (or 20 percent) served by the Feeding America network has at least one member that has ever served in the military. Nearly 620,000 households have at least one member who is currently serving in the U.S. military Active Duty, Reserves or National Guard.
Aiken emphasized the need for a more holistic response to addressing food insecurity — pointing to the tradeoffs that far too many Americans must make, forced to choose between food and paying utility bills, food and transportation, food and housing, food and medical care. We must feed people today AND work to build more food secure communities — engaging elected officials (especially local officials) is crucial, Aiken said. He noted that the
Be sure to check out the 2014 Hunger in America study. It’s worth your time. Below are a few findings regarding the households that the Feeding America networks serves and the many tradeoffs that food insecure families must make:
Did you know that Cooperative Baptist Fellowship hunger ministries exist in 20 countries on four continents?
CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through the Fellowship’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Watch the short video below for more on the #EndHunger emphasis in 2014-15 for the CBF Offering for Global Missions and click here to learn more about the CBF Offering for Global Missions and how you can promote the Offering in your church.