From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Nourishing the poor

Date Fri, 16 Apr 2004 10:00:31 -0500

Note #8200 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

April 16, 2004

Nourishing the poor

Hunger Program urges PC(USA) members to mark 'Awareness Day'

by Evan Silverstein

LOUISVILLE - The Presbyterian Church (USA) Hunger Program will be among the
sponsors of this year's third annual National Hunger Awareness Day, an effort
to focus public attention on the persistent problem of hunger in the United

The event is scheduled for June 3.

Many of the nation's 50,000 hunger-relief organizations will hold special
events such as food drives to rally support from the business, government and
religious communities in the battle against hunger.

"We're hoping Presbyterians will identify the activities that are taking
place in their own communities and be active in them," said the Rev. Gary
Cook, coordinator of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. "If there aren't
activities scheduled for their communities, they can encourage their local
food pantries or soup kitchens to mark the day with a public event."

For 35 years the PC(USA) Hunger Program has provided a way for Presbyterians
to get involved in the fight against hunger.

 "Over 90 percent of Presbyterian congregations support hunger ministries in
their communities," Cook said.

The Hunger Awareness initiative - led by America's Second Harvest, the
nation's largest hunger-relief organization - will also inform individuals,
communities, corporations and policymakers that hunger is a severe problem,
but one that can be solved.

Cook recently took part in an organizing meeting in Washington, DC, with
representatives of labor unions, religious institutions, hunger-relief
groups, food and grocery manufacturers, government leaders and trade

"To make a real difference in the lives of hungry Americans, it will take the
hard work of the leaders here today and the millions of people that they
represent," said Robert Forney, president and CEO of America's Second
Harvest, which runs a network of more than 200 regional food banks.

Second Harvest distributed nearly 2 billion pounds of food last year to more
than 23 million hungry Americans, including 9 million children.

The first National Hunger Awareness Day was held in June 2002. The aim was to
help Americans needing food assistance, including working families afflicted
by what the government calls "food insecurity": having limited or uncertain
access to food.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of households
needing food aid has risen by about 1.5 million since 1999, to more than 12
million. The increase is attributed largely to unemployment, inadequate
employee and retirement benefits, and higher expenses for housing, utilities
and medical care.

For information about National Hunger Awareness Day, log on to the event's
Web site:

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