Hunger Hits Home
By Kate Berkey - October 12, 2017
Posted in Adult Ministry, Partnerships, Student Ministry, Children's Ministry, High School Ministry, Middle School Ministry, Stories from NMC, Let's Give It All Away
“Hunger is on the rise.”
These words captivated my attention, and I felt my heart sink a little. I was reading an article on Feed My Starving Children’s website that outlined a recent United Nation’s report. Having just finished my almost daily afternoon snack of a banana and peanut butter, I felt my full belly churn as I read the statistics.
After a decade of continual decline, the number of undernourished people in the world increased by 38 million in one year, jumping from 777 million undernourished people to 815 million. Areas of our world that already face food insecurity are experiencing even greater amounts of instability. Wars and droughts and floods keep food a scarce commodity to people living in sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia, and Western Asia. And although stunted development hasn’t increased, around 155 million children under five years old across the world still suffer from stunted growth, which impairs cognitive ability, weakens performance at school, and causes death from infections.
815 million people.
And then I thought about my hometown. Hunger seems like a far-away problem, and in Nappanee, it’s hard to imagine that food insecurity hits those nearby. Yet, every time I pass Family Christian Development Center in Nappanee, I see the disconnect between my perception and reality.
Did you know that one in seven Hoosiers don’t know where their next meal will come from? It’s not that people are starving; food is simply inconsistent at best and nonexistent at worst. In Indiana, over 300,000 children fall into this category. In Elkhart County, over 23,000 people face food insecurity, and in St. Joseph County, this number is over 40,000.
These are people who we live beside. They’re people we walk on the street with, people we see at the gas station. They are men and women with stories and worries and possibly families. They are people who had hoped for more out of life, but who find themselves relying on government programs or nonprofits.
Hunger is not just a global issue. Hunger hits home.
Whenever I come face-to-face with the reality of poverty and hunger, I can’t help but think of Luke 12. In this chapter, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool, the one who was so greedy that he built bigger barns so he could keep all of his harvest for himself. Later, he tells another parable of a servant who squanders what’s been entrusted to him. This parable ends with the all-famous phrase, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (12:48)
I have truly been entrusted with much. We have truly been entrusted with much, and the Lord has made it crystal clear what the Body of Christ is called to do.
So what does this look like as a member of the NMC Family? We are a global family, our arms extending to far off places like Thailand, Kenya, and India, and yet we are also a local family, investing in organizations in Nappanee, Elkhart, South Bend, Shipshewana, Topeka, Gary, Rochester, and more. We take seriously the call of the Father to feed the hungry.
Seven years ago, the Lord led us to a partnership with a global organization called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). Based in Minnesota, FMSC sends nutrient-packed food to over 80 countries around the world. These meals are packed by men and women across the United States in what’s called “MobilePacks.” Since NMC’s first MobilePack in 2010, we have packed over nine million meals, which have been distributed to a variety of countries. This year, we will pack 1.8 million meals, crossing the 11 million meal threshold.
A couple of years after our first FMSC MobilePack, NMC’s leadership team got to thinking, “We are investing an incredible amount of time, energy, and resources into feeding people all over the world, but what are we doing for our own region?” This question unsettled the NMC family and led to LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! Sunday. On that Sunday, 100% of undesignated gifts are given to roughly 25 local and regional food pantries and feeding programs and as well as our FMSC MobilePack. Over the years, LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! has been an incredible way to remind NMCers of the needs both around the world and the needs in our backyard.
This year, we’re gearing up for our 2017 MobilePack (Nov. 7-11) as well as LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! (Nov. 5), and we need you! Did you know that only $.22 feeds a child through FMSC? Did you know that the number of people who consistently need the food provided by food pantries and programs has increased, not decreased, in recent years? What could God be asking you to give? Could He be asking you to dip into your restaurant or grocery budget? Maybe He’s asking you to push the pause button on Amazon Prime. Perhaps it’s something as simple as your morning coffee that He’s asking you to say, “no,” to in order to say, “yes,” to feeding those who are hungry.
This isn’t a guilt trip. This a prayerful consideration because, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” What has the Lord entrusted you with, and what is He asking of you?
Here’s how you can give to LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! and our FMSC MobilePack:
- Quarter Tubes: Everyone has spare change. We’ve provided empty quarter tubes so you can collect yours and drop it in the copper kettle in the Grand Hall. Remember, just $.22 feeds a child.
- While logged into NMC Connect: Just click the “Giving” tab, write your dollar amount, and choose LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! from the designation drop down box.
- During a worship service: Simply mark your gift LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! and drop it in the plate or bucket.
- Online: You can give anytime here. Just be sure to write in your dollar amount beside LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY!
- On our app: Just click the “Giving” tab, write your dollar amount, and choose LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY! from the designation drop down box.
- Text to Give: Giving is just a text message away! Text a dollar amount to 574.406.1052. All gifts texted to this number are automatically designated LET’S GIVE IT ALL AWAY!
- Sign up for a shift: We still need 1,700 people to pack meals during one or more of our shifts. You can sign up in the Grand Hall on Wednesdays and Sundays.