Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!) #BestOf

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Monday, July 6, 2015

Almost time to go to the mission conference again. Yes, my daughter and I will be going again this year. The service project (Stop Hunger Now) was so popular and so needful to so many people last year that the New Wilmington Mission Conference is going to do it again. Feeding people. Giving out a cup of cold water. Doing what Jesus would do. God willing, may I always be so willing.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, July 4, 2014

following Jesus

Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!)

Stop Hunger Now! (This is a tremendous opportunity.) Imagine, being a part of stopping world hunger. Even if I can only do a little bit, only a tiny portion, I will still be doing something. This ministry opportunity is the selected service project for the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC) in July.

Every summer for more than one hundred years, NWMC has sought to make youth aware of mission effort around the world. Yes, it’s a conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but it’s much more than just that. Held every July on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA (and thus the name, NWMC), this week-long conference has morphed into a multi-generational conference, going beyond just intellectual knowledge. True, NWMC informs attendees about its Presbyterian/Reformed tradition of mission outreach worldwide, but the conference also promotes active service and witness for God—and much fun is had while promoting it, too!

I’ve attended for a number of years. My younger children remember NWMC with great fondness, and every year this conference has a selected service project. Everyone who attends—no matter what the age—is encouraged to participate in the project!

For several years now, the service project has concentrated on world hunger. More specifically, Stop Hunger Now! (That’s the name of the mission organization.) This organization has come up with an efficient, tasty way of packaging dry meals, to be shipped where most needed. Where hunger is currently devastating lives. A nutritious mix of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix can be packed by volunteer teams, and sent all over the world. And, for a cost of just $0.29 per meal, too!

In 2011, the packaging team at NWMC made more than 24,000 meals which were shipped to Kenya. In 2012, NWMC sent more than 37,100 meals to Liberia and Uganda. And in 2014? God willing, that number will be even higher. Everyone who attends the conference is encouraged to participate. To be the hands and feet of Christ, feeding the hungry.

The use of volunteers to package meals makes the cost of each meal even lower. Plus, the use of packaging teams from all over the nation increases awareness of global hunger; many people become even more aware of how scarce food is, in large parts of the world.

This is an opportunity to be doers of the word of God, and not just hearers, only—like James said in Chapter 1 of his letter. What a chance to provide food for hungry people. And, what a chance to be helpful. Be of service. And be kind.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Helping on World Food Day 2014 (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, October 17, 2014

bread for myself, for my neighbor

Helping on World Food Day 2014 (Feature Friday!)

Yesterday was World Food Day, Thursday, October 16, 2014, instituted by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. This organization heightens public awareness of widespread hunger and world food problems. World Food Day also helps to build and strengthen solidarity and unity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Each day, millions around the world—from countless regions—go hungry. World Food Day strives to lessen that hunger.

I followed the links for #WorldFoodDay on Twitter. I came to http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/what-is-wfd : Amid many heart-rending statistics at this website, I found several that particularly hit home to me, as a woman and a mom. Here they are: “In a world of plenty, 805 million people, one in nine worldwide, live with chronic hunger. The costs of hunger and malnutrition fall heavily on the most vulnerable.

  • “60% of the hungry in the world are women.
  • Almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition-related causes every year.
  • 4 in 10 children in poor countries are malnourished, damaging their bodies and brains.”

These statistics are mind boggling to me. I cannot even take them in. However, I can try to do a little bit. I can strive to make a difference, when and where I can. For example, helping, and raising awareness about the excellent work Stop Hunger Now! is currently doing.

In both July and August, I wrote about the mission Stop Hunger Now! I told of one of their meal-packaging efforts at a mission conference I attended. This ministry opportunity was the 2014 service project for the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC), informing and promoting active service and witness for God. A nutritious mix of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix is packed by volunteer teams for Stop Hunger Now!, and sent all over the world. For a cost of just $0.29 per meal, too! What a caring, effective way to feed the hungry, where hunger is currently devastating lives. Through this ministry, the volunteers also strive to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Stop Hunger Now! has the same goal as so many other organizations—UNICEF, World Vision, Tearfund, Lutheran World Relief, the Presbyterian Hunger Programme, Compassion International, and so many more—to work towards eliminating hunger in our world today. May God be with these many people and these many groups doing the work of God. Feeding the hungry. Giving food and drink—just as Jesus commanded in Matthew 26:35-36.

On her blog Godspace, Christine Sine has a beautiful prayer for World Food Day. It’s found at: http://godspace-msa.com/2014/10/15/its-world-food-day-prayers-and-resources/ (thanks, Christine!).

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!)

 

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, July 4, 2014

following Jesus

Be Of Service? Be a Part of Stopping Hunger! (Feature Friday!)

Stop Hunger Now! (This is a tremendous opportunity.) Imagine, being a part of stopping world hunger. Even if I can only do a little bit, only a tiny portion, I will still be doing something. This ministry opportunity is the selected service project for the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC) in July.

Every summer for more than one hundred years, NWMC has sought to make youth aware of mission effort around the world. Yes, it’s a conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA), but it’s much more than just that. Held every July on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA (and thus the name, NWMC), this week-long conference has morphed into a multi-generational conference, going beyond just intellectual knowledge. True, NWMC informs attendees about its Presbyterian/Reformed tradition of mission outreach worldwide, but the conference also promotes active service and witness for God—and much fun is had while promoting it, too!

I’ve attended for a number of years. My younger children remember NWMC with great fondness, and every year this conference has a selected service project. Everyone who attends—no matter what the age—is encouraged to participate in the project!

For several years now, the service project has concentrated on world hunger. More specifically, Stop Hunger Now! (That’s the name of the mission organization.) This organization has come up with an efficient, tasty way of packaging dry meals, to be shipped where most needed. Where hunger is currently devastating lives. A nutritious mix of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix can be packed by volunteer teams, and sent all over the world. And, for a cost of just $0.29 per meal, too!

In 2011, the packaging team at NWMC made more than 24,000 meals which were shipped to Kenya. In 2012, NWMC sent more than 37,100 meals to Liberia and Uganda. And in 2014? God willing, that number will be even higher. Everyone who attends the conference is encouraged to participate. To be the hands and feet of Christ, feeding the hungry.

The use of volunteers to package meals makes the cost of each meal even lower. Plus, the use of packaging teams from all over the nation increases awareness of global hunger; many people become even more aware of how scarce food is, in large parts of the world.

This is an opportunity to be doers of the word of God, and not just hearers, only—like James said in Chapter 1 of his letter. What a chance to provide food for hungry people. And, what a chance to be helpful. Be of service. And be kind.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Roll Up My Sleeves and Serve!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, March 29, 2014

 

today I woke up

Roll Up My Sleeves and Serve!

I haven’t been as active in serving in the past few years. That was one reason why I think God (as I understand God) nudged me to get more active and to serve with intentionality. I know, I have this year, in a number of different ways. However, I took the opportunity to roll up my sleeves this afternoon. Not metaphorically, but in actuality. I served food at the Community Kitchen of A Just Harvest.

I am a member at St. Peter’s UCC Church in Skokie. So when the pastor sent out a last-minute email request to a group of people, I said “Yes!” Yes, with eagerness! Since this was a month with a fifth Saturday, it is St. Peter’s turn to serve. I was one of nine people who went to serve a hot dinner! The pastor, Rev . Richard Lanford, led the serving team and said grace over the dinner tonight.

A number of years before this, I was much more active in ministries like this—especially when I lived further south in central Chicago. I was a volunteer youth worker and music ministry worker at Austin Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church for five years during the 1980’s. I lived only a few blocks from the North Austin neighborhood of Chicago. I suppose I was naively over-confident as I went in and out of that church, walked the streets, and went in and out of several members’ houses close by. It was not exactly the safest area of the city. Nevertheless, I did a great deal of worthwhile ministry in those years!

As I moved into my thirties, I still served and did ministry in the Austin area, although I had changed churches. Changed ministries, too. I moved much more into missions, and served as volunteer communications coordinator. Was very happy, too! But, Stephen Ministry and then seminary happened. I branched out into preaching. And being a chaplain, for some years. (Anyone follow me on Twitter? My Twitter handle is @chaplaineliza. <grin>)

However, God seems to be nudging me back into direct service with people. On the front lines of service, where I was in my twenties.
I enjoyed myself tonight! It felt deep-down good to do what I could at the Community Kitchen. I put cookies and fruit on plates, helping to fill hungry stomachs in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. I appreciated the hard work of the staff in the kitchen, DJ as supervisor of the serving area and front end, and Tonya as supervisor of the dining area. And David Crawford, the Director of Food Service? He’s got a great operation there. Everything worked like clockwork. I have a huge amount of respect for him, and the wonderful work A Just Harvest does, on a regular basis.

Sure, I was people-watching, too. Just in case I knew any of these dear people who came to eat at the Community Kitchen. I don’t think I did recognize anyone, but it could happen.

Every day brings something interesting, that’s for sure. I wonder what God will send me tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza
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Be of Service—Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, March 7, 2014

food pantry image

Be of Service—Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

Hunger is a scary thing. A very real thing. Countless people across the United States wake up hungry, or go to bed hungry, or perhaps both. Some of these people have families. Some of these people have two jobs. Some of them are on disability, or have been laid off, or are long-term unemployed. And still, they are hungry.

I attend church in a nearby suburb, in Skokie.  The church I’m a member of is St. Peter’s UCC Church, and St. Peter’s has a commitment to several ministries and organizations that feed the hungry. Like the Niles Township Food Pantry. This food pantry is a part of the Township government. (For those who aren’t familiar with the township set up, here’s my quick explanation. A township encompasses an area of several suburbs in size, in intermediate area of land between a town/village/city and a county.) So, the Niles Township Food Pantry serves people in several neighboring suburbs.

Some might scoff at the idea of hunger being a reality in this particular area north of Chicago, since this swath of suburbs is reputed to be affluent.  But hunger is often an unwelcome visitor. Sneaking into homes when the unexpected happens. Like a sudden, catastrophic car accident that permanently injures the main wage earner in a home. Or the loss of a job when a company closes. Or a divorce, or death, or any one of a countless number of grim, very real scenarios. And sometimes, the real need does not require a catastrophe; the family or the individual need may simply be a high cost of living and too little income. In other words, too much month, not enough money. Living on the edge of not-enough.

The Niles Township Food Pantry strives to feed 3500 people every month, on the average. They appreciate each and every donation—giving of food, money, time to volunteer, or any combination of the above. Plus, personal care items are in greater need than ever before. Soap, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, not to mention laundry detergent. These items are so needed due to the increase of families in dire economic straits.

St. Peter’s UCC helps out this Food Pantry as they can, taking up several collections every year. Plus, the St. Peter’s Sunday school has designated the last Sunday of the month as collection day. The Sunday school students and teachers bring canned goods, pasta, peanut butter, and other dried goods to the church. St. Peter’s Pastor, Richard Lanford, appreciates the faithful ministry of church members Jane and Paul Abramchick. This couple brings the collected food over to the Food Pantry for distribution. This offering of food and the additional offering of money are two ways that the members and friends of St. Peter’s UCC offer out of the abundance with which God has blessed them to bless others.  God be with this Food Pantry, all those who help there, and all those whom the Food Pantry serves.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.