The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
I write this in mid-June with recent information from Second Harvest and Hunger Solutions before me.* Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic brought increased food shelf usage to many, but the demonstrations and protests following the murder of George Floyd have left many others with food insecurity. With the current unemployment rate of nearly 10%, many are having to choose between housing or food or medicines.
While churches, community groups and individuals have all been more than creative and generous in coming together to supply food to those most in need, the lack of sufficient nutrition exists in many places. Minnesota has 350 food shelves (and perhaps many others within congregations near and far). Second Harvest reports that two-thirds of their distributions are to outside the metro area.
Predictions are that by September 13% of the population of the state of Minnesota will be identified as food insecure. As people were finally beginning to bounce back from the 2008 recession, before COVID-19, one in 11 Minnesotans were food insecure. Now that number is one in eight. Consider that – one in eight of our citizens will be not certain where their next meal will be OR if it will be. The hunger crisis here in our own state will most likely continue until the end of 2021.
Churches and local groups alone cannot solve hunger. Broad policy changes are needed at both state and federal levels. People need better paying employment, affordable housing, and dependable transportation if they are going to be able to afford to feed themselves and their families. Continue to be generous in compassion but vote your Christian values in elections in August and November as we are called to come together to care for those who need it the most in our society.
Incarnation Lutheran, Shoreview